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EXCLUSIVE Mitch Evans - Q&A

5 December 2013

After a long d├ębut season on track in GP2, Kiwi racer Mitch Evans headed back to Australasia for a very different kind of competition - taking part in his mentor Mark Webber's adventure challenge in Tasmania.

We spoke to him after the five-day multisport event to find out how he fared - and to hear his take on the season just gone as well as plans for 2014.

Q:
You kicked off the 'off season' with five days of adventure on the Mark Webber Challenge - how was it?

Mitch Evans:
It was an absolutely amazing experience and I can't believe how stunning Tasmania is. It was very, very tough but also hugely enjoyable.

Q:
Was it a good way to kick back after a long season, or was it just exhausting?!

Mitch Evans:
Bit of both!! It was great to test myself off track.

Q:
There were lots of top athletes in there, how do you, as a motor racing driver, compare to competitors like the Olympic triathletes?

Mitch Evans:
Obviously I do my own training for my racing and very similar activities to the top Olympians but just not to the same extent and volume. They are unbelievably fit but I wasn't far behind.

Q:
Having just completed your first year in GP2, what's your overall feeling on how the season has gone?

Mitch Evans:
Ah, it was a very up and down season this year. It was amazing to compete in the GP2 series but the results weren't what I was hoping for but there were a few races I was very proud of.

Q:
What was your favourite race of the year and why?

Mitch Evans:
Probably the whole Monaco weekend, double podium around there was incredible especially in one weekend. It's probably the most famous track in the world and the backdrop is stunning!

Q:
You came to GP2 straight from winning the GP3 title in 2012. What differences did you find between the two championships when making the move - was it a big learning curve or quite natural?

Mitch Evans:
Obviously the biggest difference is the car, a big step up in horsepower but also the size of the car from GP3 to GP2. A lot of the step up is natural but there are always things that take time to get your head around when you start driving a different car to its limits.

Q:
We now have a driver (Daniil Kvyat) going straight from GP3 to F1 in a single bound. Does that change the game, do you think? Would it have changed your decision on your own next step 12 months ago or is a transitional step like GP2 till the way to go?

Mitch Evans:
Obviously we haven't seen this step to F1 for a while, you have to remember a few great drivers in the past went from F3 to F1, which is an even bigger step. There's more to it than meets the eye but the traditional progression is obviously from GP2 or another feeder series closer to F1.

Q:
Talking of next steps, what are yours for 2014 - are you planning on staying in GP2 and aiming for a title run, or looking at other opportunities and championships?

Mitch Evans:
I'm working hard to be on the GP2 grid for 2014 and going for the title. I did the same in GP3, so I'm hoping I can repeat that if I get an opportunity next year.

Q:
Mark Webber's been very supportive of your racing career to date. What sort of things has he helped you with over the last few years?

Mitch Evans:
A whole range of things, whether it's from a preparation side of racing, the technical parts of driving, fast forwarding my preparation at a new track, or just general life skills, Mark has been massively supportive and helpful in all areas.

Q:
Talking of Mark, how much of an inspiration has he been to young racers in Australia and New Zealand? Are there a lot of other young drivers following in his (and your) footsteps we should watch out for? What effect do you think his retirement from F1 will have?

Mitch Evans:
After a few year drought Mark was the first Australasian to make it to F1, so he is looked up to by most Aussie and Kiwi youngsters, but not only for his skills on track but also his professionalism out of the car. There are always young drivers trying to follow the footsteps of Mark and maybe myself in the junior categories but it's so tough for us to make opportunities happen and many get left behind. I think a lot of people are sad that Mark has retired, but you have to respect his decision, he's had an amazing innings but just like anyone is life there's time to start a new chapter in your life, and now is that time for him.

Q:
It must be nice to get back home at the end of a season. Would you like to spend more time in New Zealand, or does Europe remain the main focus for now?

Mitch Evans:
It's always nice to go home after a big season for summer and Christmas, I'm very much a beach boy so I love being at our family beach house relaxing and also preparing for the up coming season. NZ is great and still remains my favourite place in the world but Europe is where I need to be and is definitely my main focus now.

Q:
What made you keen to take part in the Mark Webber Challenge - and what sort of preparation have you been undertaking for it?

Mitch Evans:
I've always wanted to do it, and I was given the opportunity to do it this year, which was a huge surprise to be honest. It's very similar to my normal training but just a bit extra volume to adapt to the long days out!

Q:
Is that additional or complementary to your usual racing fitness regime?

Mitch Evans:
Definitely a bit of both, like I had to introduce kayaking into my program for example.

Q:
What do you think of multisport - what's your best discipline and your least favourite?

Mitch Evans:
It's great, very, very challenging as there's always one discipline you just can't nail or feel 100% comfortable with. Either Mountain biking or running is my best and my least favourite was probably the kayaking, just feels like you put some much effort in for such little return with speed!!

The Mark Webber Challenge raises funds for the Whitelion youth charity and the Save the Tassie Devil Appeal. For more information on the event, visit www.markwebberchallenge.com.

Interview by special arrangement and with thanks to WGMedia.


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