Driver Spotlight on Scott Maxwell & David Empringham DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 17, 2002) - For Toronto natives Scott Maxwell and David Empringham, it is all fun and games off the track and nothing but business behind the wheel. After years of ...
Driver Spotlight on Scott Maxwell & David Empringham
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 17, 2002) - For Toronto natives Scott Maxwell and David Empringham, it is all fun and games off the track and nothing but business behind the wheel. After years of having their racing paths cross and inevitably becoming good friends, these two drivers are finally sharing a race car. Empringham joined the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series this season, and together with series 'veteran' Maxwell, the duo is off to a successful run. Halfway through the 10-race Grand-Am Cup schedule, the pair in the #76 Porsche GT3 Cup of Doncaster Racing already has three victories under their belts, including an exciting finish at Watkins Glen in June where Empringham took the lead in the closing laps. After another win the following week at Virginia International Raceway, the Porsche driving pair took the lead in the Grand Sport I team and driver standings.
Series: Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series
Class: Grand Sport I
Team: Doncaster Racing
Car: #76 Porsche GT3 Cup
Date of Birth:
Scott - 1/20/64
David - 12/28/63
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (both)
Birthplaces: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (both)
* Earned first Grand-Am Cup win in the 2002 season opener at Daytona International Speedway
* Had back-to-back wins in 2002 at Watkins Glen and VIR
IN THEIR WORDS...
When did you begin racing?
Scott: Dave can go first because he is always the intelligent one (laughs).
David: At about age 24, sometime around 1987 or '88, in a racing school.
Scott: It was a little earlier. I think I was 12 when I started racing go-karts. I think it 1977 or something.
David: You're old.
Scott: I am really old.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue racing professionally?
Scott: Well, I always wanted to race. My dad raced as a hobby when I was a kid, so I grew up around the racetrack. I always thought that it is what I wanted to do, but I never really thought that it is what I would do. So since I can remember, I have always wanted to race cars.
David: Fairly similar for me. My dad raced when I was a kid; at the time I think more as a hobbyist. For me, we never really ventured into karting. My family never really pushed me in that direction. I went to a lot of races as a spectator, and I was a huge fan. It was always something I wanted to try. Finally, as a graduation present from university, my parents gave me a three-day racing school. So that is how I got the buzz.
How did you become teammates?
Scott: Dave? Well in this situation I have been racing with Multimatic, which is also called Doncaster, for a long time. David and I have been friends for as long as we almost both have raced, and we had always wanted to race together. But we never really crossed paths since we were in different series and what not. So when the opportunity came up with the Doncaster team this year, they asked me who I would like as a teammate and my first choice was David.
David: So I was pretty lucky.
Scott: You are, and you owe me.
David: I know. As Scott said, we have been friends for quite a long time, and in the past few years we've had a few one-offs together. Whenever we were teammates, we tended to have a lot of fun at it. At this stage in our lives it is important if you are racing to be enjoying it. It has just been a good combination as teammates and the connection through Scott's team at Multimatic. It was just something that when I was thought of, I was quite happy about it. I had sort of considered myself somewhat retired from racing. So, for me the most important thing to race in any kind of capacity again was to enjoy it, and this was certainly an opportunity for me.
What is your favorite racetrack?
Scott: Mosport in my case.
David: I would say Laguna Seca.
Scott: That's a good one.
What do you think of the 2002 season so far?
David: For me, I have really enjoyed the series. It is my first time in the series. It is very competitive, yet not super stressful. I don't know if that is possible, but it is strange how it is. I really enjoy the people. There is a lot of camaraderie within the competitors. I have been in single (driver) series for quite a long time, where your teammate is usually not your partner; he is the guy you want to beat. I have enjoyed the whole team aspect with two drivers and endurance racing. So far I have really enjoyed it. We have struggled and done well. It has been full of peaks and valleys, but it has been great up to now.
Scott: I more or less have the same feeling as Dave. Mostly its gone pretty good, because we have won three races. I think it has gone more or less how I expected. We were new to these cars - these Porsches - which are very tricky and sensitive to setup and we had no experience with it. So I said from the start we will get stronger as the year progresses, but I didn't really have huge expectations early in the year. We went through a bit of a slump there in the second and third races. It is frustrating when you're in it, but in reality, it was probably to be expected.
Now I think we are starting to get a better handled on the cars. In terms of enjoying it - David eluded to it - I think in sports car racing it is especially important that the two drivers and the team all mesh really well and it's not an individual thing. Dave and I get along very well both on and off the track and we like the car somewhat similar. We push each other in a positive way, not in a combative way, which tends to happen a lot because it is an ego driven sport. We have a lot of fun, but at the same time we take it really seriously when we are in the car and at the track.
What advice would you give a young racer?
David - It is an extremely big mountain to climb and full of peaks and valleys. You really have to be hungry to succeed. It is not a sport that is necessarily fair. As important as it is to succeed on a track, it is just as important to learn how to network people and make new friends. Many of the forks along the road are not necessarily because you have done well. The forks that make your career happen are generally people that you meet. What I am trying to say is to focus as hard at meeting people off the track that can help you along the way as you focus on becoming a better driver.
Scott- All the issues Dave brought up are definitely true. Based on my experience you have to be persistent if you are going to make it. You can't pursue a racing career if it is not your priority, and it can't be something you play at. Dave mentioned being hungry. I think the guys that make it in this sport, they live for it. It is what they sleep, eat, drink - racing. You have to be persistent regardless of the situation you are coming from. And if it is not the first thing on your list it is going to be a pretty difficult sport to succeed in, because as Dave said, it is not necessarily fair; it is not necessarily the guys that are perhaps the best behind the wheel that succeed. You have to have the whole package right.
What is your most memorable racing moment?
Scott- There are a bunch of things that stick in my mind, including just a few weeks ago when Dave won on the last lap.
Scott- But I wasn't driving so that doesn't count. Probably winning Le Mans in my class and getting to stand on the podium at Le Mans was pretty special.
David- That is a difficult one. One of my most memorable races was actually a race I didn't win, but I came second to Jacque Villeneuve. It was a race at Montreal Grand Prix in Formula Atlantic. We just had a great battle, so it is one of the great memories of my career.
What do you find most exciting about racing?
David- The competitiveness in nature is something that I strive for. As Scott said earlier, off the track we joke around a whole lot and it doesn't look like we take a whole lot seriously. But once (and I know I am the same as Scott) I am behind the wheel it's the need to be the fastest, the need to get the most out of the car. I guess what I enjoy most about racing is when the car is working well and you're pushing the car to the absolute limits. It is a sensation, some form of adrenalin, which is irreplaceable.
Scott- For me it is absolutely just the driving. The actually physical driving of the car. Getting it to its limit and knowing both you as a driver and the car, you feel as fast as you can go. The physical.
What goals have you set for yourselves?
David- Scott and I are in somewhat different stages of our careers. For me I am on the downward side of my career.
David- I am mostly coaching now, and racing is just sheer enjoyment for me. My long-term goals are to be able to race in this capacity for many years, where I enjoy it, and I am involved with some great people. I am not really striving at all to be back in single-seaters-trying to be an Indy Car driver. I have two kids, I am 38-years old and to be able to make a living racing right now is a huge opportunity.
Scott- Actually, I am probably not as far off as Dave thinks in terms of old. I am the same age as Dave. I enjoy driving professionally. I guess my goal right now is to be in programs that are competitive that I can win in. Ten years ago or 15 years ago I had a total different ambition, and Dave was similar to me. We all strive to make it to Indy cars or whatever level that we want to find, but now the reality is that it is not going to happen. If I can enjoy my races and win races and drive professionally I am quite content in that position.
David- Ditto for me.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Scott- I would have to think hard about that. It probably came from Brian Stewart or Larry Holt, but you are going to have to give me a minute with that one.
David- It is simple - don't burn bridges
Scott- Nothings jumping out at me.
David- How about go fast Scott?
Scott- Yes, go fast. Oh, and take chances.
What hobbies do you have outside of racing?
Dave- I don't have time for hobbies anymore. I have two kids under four, and I'm just trying to keep up with life in general. My hobbies used to be skiing, but I just haven't done that in awhile. To be honest, both of us travel a lot, so just to be at home with the family is my biggest enjoyment.
Scott- Similar to Dave, I don't have a lot of free time. I have racing programs and on top of that I have my own business I run that I am expanding. I don't have time for much outside of that. I guess if I did have time there are various activities I like - playing hockey and any and all sports more or less. But I just don't have a lot of time for that. When I do have free time, I just tend to take it easy and relax.
Additional information about the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series can be found online at www.grandamcup.com. Grand-Am Cup will travel next to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the CART Grand Prix Aug. 9-11. Tickets are available at www.midohio.com.