Behind The Helmet: Lucas Auer – Part 1

Lucas, how did you discover your passion for motor racing?
Lucas Auer: I grew up in Kufstein which is where I still live today. It’s the centre of my universe, where my friends and family are. I led a sheltered life there as a child and began racing at a very early age. I’ve always enjoyed having fun with friends and did a terrific amount of sport – football, baseball, skiing, everything, really. I was four when I first sat in a kart and instantly fell in love with the world of motor racing.

How did you first get started in karting?
Lucas Auer: Unfortunately, I can’t actually remember, but I know from what my dad and brother have told me that we were driving past a petrol station when they saw some racing karts and stopped right away. The people there said that they also had a mini-kart, in which I was welcome to sit. It must have been funny. I think they wanted to just see me sitting there ... `{`laughs`}`. I was smitten from that moment on.

When did karting become more than a hobby?
Lucas Auer: It was just a hobby for quite a long time. We had a look around to see where I could drive a kart near us, but I was still too young to get a race licence. I did a bit of testing when I was five and contested my first race in the Tyrolean championship at the age of six, which was great. I can still remember finishing sixth out of eight starters. I was having a few problems. `{`laughs again`}`. I came second when I was seven and won the championship the following year. It was all bit of a hassle at the time but still possible to do everything in Tyrol. Later on, someone who had his own team saw me driving and said to us: “This wee laddie just has to go to Germany!” Things got even more hectic after that, because someone always had to go with me, as I still wasn’t old enough. So, it was certainly very much a hobby until I was 14, which is when I began to compete at an international level and things got much more professional as a result. It’s when it became clear to us that it was all getting really serious.

How were things at school when you were first getting started in kart racing?
Lucas Auer: Kart racing was really hard work with 15-18 meetings per year, for which you had to make countless preparations, but I was lucky, as I had a great teacher. Plus, I was not necessarily the world’s most ambitious pupil. `{`laughs`}` But she was very understanding, and so, managing things was real easy.

You’ve got a lot of friends who are just regular guys in your home town of Kufstein. How important is it for you to have this very normal background?
Lucas Auer: It’s important, but they’re simply my mates. We can have a good laugh together even when we’ve not seen each other in ages. We trust one another. We can talk about things and not have to worry about others finding out what’s been said. We’re all mates and stick together. I’m part of the crowd, and that’s important, especially when things aren’t going so well, then it’s great to have friends, with whom you can mess around. Karting, the DTM and everything else take a back seat then.

Kart racing really put big demands on you. Did you miss out on anything during your childhood?
Lucas Auer: So far, I’ve talked about everything in very positive terms, because it’s what I love, but this much is certain, if that hadn’t been the case, then it would have been tough, no matter which way you look at it. You lose such a lot of time, but that wasn’t a bad thing from my perspective, because I spent my time at the racetrack. Of course, you miss out on things, but I was aware of it.

Still, was there time for girls?
Lucas Auer: Yes, indeed, interesting that you should ask that, because when you’re 14 or 15, you find out the direction you really want to take. That’s the age when you get your first girlfriend, with whom you perhaps want to go out. Then you discover straightaway what’s really important to you. It was tough but not a problem for me, because motor racing is the love of my life.

Did the girls sometimes think you were terrific just because you were a racing driver?
Lucas Auer: I don’t know why, but I never felt that was the case. Sure, everyone picks up bits and pieces about you from the newspapers or sees you on TV, which certainly has an effect, for sure, but I never had the feeling that I got any special treatment because of it...

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