Portrait – Andreas Simonsen
“Motorsports is My Life,”
Says Andreas Simonsen about his passion for speed.
The Swede’s blood seems to run a little faster through his veins. Just like his father’s and grandfather’s before. Even if they do not sit in a cockpit anymore the former racers are still fascinated. Father Christer and Grandfather Kurt accompany the up-and-coming speed junky to every event and experience the emotions first hand.
Kurt Simonsen laid the foundation for the family’s motorsports tradition back in the Sixties.
He competed in rallies and won the 1976 World Championship title in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR.
Father Christer Simonsen competed on many circuits worldwide and came in third in the 1987 European Championship Group A.
Andreas was nine years old when he got his first taste of motorsports. Like many successful racers he started with karting. He stayed with this sport until the age of fifteen. Then he competed in the Swedish Volvo S 40 Challenge, winning the fifth place in the championship. His talent attracted a great deal of attention in the bigger Volvo S 60 Challenge. He won the coveted championship title of the series in his debut season and became the series’ youngest Swedish champion of all times.
In 2007 the then 17-year old began to compete in the German racing series.
He raced in the VW Polo Cup for two years and did not go unnoticed. In the first season Andreas Simonsen won the fourth place and in the second year he won the third place. In the same year the Swede took part in a STCC race and the victory marked an additional highlight of his career. One race in the VW Polo was especially defining for the young pilot.
“One of the most exciting events in 2007 was the Polo Cup race in China. The country and the people are very different from the Europeans. It was an important and great experience for me.”
Starting in 2009 he competed in the Seat Leon Supercopa for two years. And in 2009 the Swede competed in the STCC again. He took part in four races in an Audi A4. He won two first places, one second and one third place.
Having been in 7th place at the end of the year in his first Seat season, Andreas made a major leap forward in 2010 winning the Championship title after the last race and taking the trophy home.
With only 21 years the Swedish pilot competes against well-known motorsports people like Heinz Harald Frentzen (former Formula 1 pilot), Peter Kox (successful GT pilot), the Stuck family and Christopher Haase (ADAC GT Masters Champion, GT3 European Champion) in the 2011 season of the up-and-coming German GT racing series ADAC GT Masters. The regulations including a mandatory partner and a driver change during the one hour long race are new to him. Andreas Simonsen shares the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS with 23-yeal old Christopher Haase.
“This is a very new and exciting situation for me. All I can say about the Audi R8 is that it is the best car I have ever driven. The STCC car which is based on an Audi A4 with 300 PS and an incredible grip was definitely a highlight but the R8 is even better. It is a lot of fun and the assistance from Phoenix Racing is very professional.”
What does motorsports mean to you?
“Everything. Cars are my hobby and I work with cars.”
Do you have other hobbies as well?
“I play a little golf. In the past I also played tennis and handball, handball quite professionally. I was the goalkeeper. But then I had to make a decision: Handball or motorsports. I decided on the enjoyment of driving. Occasionally I am tempted to play handball but there is not enough time.”
Do you have an idol in motorsports?
“It used to be the classic idol: Michael Schuhmacher. Now it is my fellow countryman, Mathias Ekström. He is very successful in the DTM and I want to compete in that series one day.”
Are there other goals in motorsports for you?
“I would love to compete in the FIA GT1 World Championship. And in the royal league of motorsports, Formula 1, but this is and will probably remain a dream.”
What is your favourite track?
What is so fascinating about this track?
“The route is very peculiar. The section between the Carousel and the end of the track is very, very fast. In some parts the car lifts off the track and then it goes down quickly and afterward you have to brake heavily because it is the start of one of the slowest sections.”
What victory meant the most to you?
“My victory in the Seat Supercopa at the Nordschleife.”
What happens in your head before a race?
“I cannot really explain. I am very relaxed before a race. I get really tired and could fall asleep when I am waiting for the start of the race in the car.” (smiles)
What do you do during the break?
“I work out 4-5 times a week to stay fit. In the winter I work in my father’s company and sometimes in summer as well if time permits.”
What car do you drive privately?
“Porsche 996 Turbo S. It is a car with a very high fun factor.”
What does your girlfriend think about your thrill for speed?
“She also loves to drive fast and I like that of course.”