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Historic racer Alex Brundle talks about life behind the wheel and microphone

I was sitting in the sun on a sofa big enough for two people, Alex Brundle he considers a can of soda to quench his thirst. Flushed but unfazed, he has sprung straight from disaster to here. The words “terrible,” “big,” and “proper” are used to set the scene. “Today was tough,” he admits, putting aside his caffeinated refresher. His full attention is now turned to telling his story of adversity with vividness.

“Goodwood is an amphitheatre,” he gestures. “The moment you leave the assembly area, the way the benches are built, you feel like you’re being watched a lot.” Especially when the 1980s V8 you’re lapping around the track spills oil, causing a long red flag. “That’s a big engine blowout.” The disappointment in his voice is palpable.

We met at Goodwood’s exciting season opener, #81MM or 81st Membership Meetingunabridged. “I’m always aware it’s a huge privilege to spend even a moment there,” says Alex – but stopping the practice session for this year’s Gordon Spice Cup is not how he wanted the ex-Patrick Motorsport Rover SD1 he races on this occasion. “A piston flew out of the block and the car locked up,” his co-driver, privateer Myles Poulton, later explained.

He is not a fraudulent Alex Brundle, he is a very talented professional with a pleasant personality who enjoys every element of historic motorsport.

He is not a fraudulent Alex Brundle, he is a very talented professional with a pleasant personality who enjoys every element of historic motorsport.

“He’s out for the weekend,” Alex confirms, “but I hope tomorrow is a better day. Tomorrow is the race.” Two events, one with 468 hp GT40 and the other, in a synthetic-fueled Mustang, waiting. “The GT40 is misfiring badly, so we need to sort that out.” “We” being Brundle Motorsport, the historic racing team Alex founded in 2022. The combination of old-school and new-school talent is “a great culture clash in the garage.”

The “youngsters” are looking after social media, promotion, logistics and branding, while the “oldsters” are looking after the cars. I worry that this is a divide, which is not a good sign; if a new workforce of heritage mechanics isn’t being nurtured, what will the Brundle team be posting on the ‘Gram? Alex admits it’s a problem, but he’s working hard to fix it. Are UN apprentices on the roadmap? “Yeah,” he says, “it’s that kind of vibe.”

Alex’s plans are already looking promising; potential candidates are often sliding into his DMs. “People who have never used a landline before want to TikTok their potential employers,” he says, offering insights despite his wise 33-year-old age. “We’re not there yet, but TikTok will message us and I’ll send you a list of contacts of classic preppers who have done it. I’m one of the first generation of race drivers to realize the benefits of social media, especially in breaking down barriers, so it’s our job to be that bridge, that entry point for other people.”

As the son of Martin, Alex has spoken of the pressures and misunderstandings that come with inheriting a famous family name. “I truly believe your calling has found you,” he says with confidence. “Don’t stress. If you’re not where you want to be right away, just keep rolling and eventually you’ll be in the right place.” For Alex, right now, that’s sitting on a couch across from me.

“Tell me something people don’t know about you,” I ask playfully, hoping Alex will see me as a confidant. “I took a drunken lap at Le Mans.” An explanation comes immediately. The year is 2022: “I was in the final throes of my prototype career,” and the Oreca 07 LMP2 he was racing was leaking intoxicatingly. “I went into the first few corners, everything was fine, then fuel started leaking from the breather,” he recalls. “I was plugged in, my eyes in front of me, driving the car and I had no idea it had entered the cockpit.”

Alex’s memory becomes hazy after the Full Course Yellow was declared. “I remember going into the pits and saying, ‘OK, I’m going to stop, so I need the clutch… which one is the clutch?’” The description makes me shudder. The “high” from inhaling 100% ethanol biofuel: “It’s basically vodka!” Alex needed to sober up. An intensive physiotherapy session was prescribed. “The physio pumped the bioethanol through my lungs,” he recalls, using a technique similar to chest compressions. “I started Le Mans three hours later with a hangover.” He adds: “That’s something people don’t know about me.”

It seems fitting to summarise some of Alex’s achievements. An ‘obsessive’ driver with a penchant for long-distance racing, Alex won the European Le Mans Series Championship in 2016. He has also managed to finish on the Le Mans 24 Hours podium twice and has multiple FIA ​​World Endurance Championship race victories. When he’s not leaving the motorsport media breathless, Alex joins their ranks as a broadcaster dropping bombshells around the world. He commentates on motorsport events including Formula 1, races with and manages his own racing team and has his own Youtube channel meaning, in a busy month, he can only spend two days at home.

Make no mistake, Alex is heroically focused. But the praise makes him blush. “I don’t need everyone saying ‘oh Alex Brundle is banging his head’,” he says. His focus is on results. “If I had all the time in the world, I’d still do it. When you’re hoverboarding down Fordwater (one of the fastest spots on the Goodwood motor circuit) in a GT40, who needs more than that? It’s my hobby and my job.” Will he be sleeping in his racing overalls tonight?

Describe your relationship with yourself in one word, I wonder. “Harsh,” he replies. Are you very disciplined? “Tragically.” These are the character traits that must be considered qualities when racing historic cars. “Imagine the fastest highway speed you’ve ever driven, and then you give yourself four flat tires; that’s what racing classic cars is like. You’re fighting the car at a very high speed.” Wow! “Then imagine everyone (around you) going that same speed, and you give them four flat tires too.” My mouth went uncomfortably dry. I wanted to get myself a drink from Alex’s unopened can of soda.

This weekend’s race will be one where Alex’s reflexes will be tested even further, with speeds of up to 120mph in the Mustang and 160mph in the GT40. “It’s always hard to jump between cars.” Both cars are 59 years old. “The GT40 is as fast as a modern GT4 but around here it feels lightning fast, jumping and moving all over the place – but I love it.” Not your style? You can always try to explain a spectacle like that. “As a driver you’re in a bubble, you don’t let anyone distract you, but as a broadcaster you’re actively going into the race to absorb it and convey the experience.”

Gathering information from drivers, managers, mechanics and engineers is a key task, and an exciting tone is essential, but being the voice of a sport you love, live and breathe requires composure. “It’s about conveying drama without sounding too crazy.” Note to self: stay calm. “The challenge is to convey to people how extreme this is (Alex’s hair is-is (looking a bit irritated) because I really believe that if you put the rule makers and the health and safety people who approve things in the cars, all these events would be cancelled immediately.” This is, of course, meant in jest. Motorsport is governed by strict regulatory bodies.

Lapping the Le Mans Classic in a D-type Jaguar was one of Alex’s first flirtations with Historic racing, but for those not keen on vintage cars the scenario can be a tough sell. “It’s an easy world to ignore, but you do it at your own risk,” Alex warns. “There’s so much opportunity and so much fun.” As the host of his own YouTube channel, BRUNDLE: Behind the WheelHe hopes to send his message to a digital generation that is heavily influenced by the content they consume on broadcast media and phones. “You have to go where the younger crowd is.” His videos, which include event descriptions, iconic car guides and tense in-car track demos, have racked up tens of thousands of hits.

“Young people to feel “that intensity,” he says, brimming with enthusiasm. “They’ve never heard of John Surtees,” he continues. “They also didn’t grow up with these cars,” I add. “Absolutely, so we need to resell them. They’ll buy them initially because they’re fast and loud, but then, I think, they’ll want to learn about them.” Getting support from other influencers is also a big help.

“The main argument is that these cars are not sustainable,” says Alex, “but the most sustainable car in the world is the one that already exists.” He advocates the use of synthetic fuels to lead the automotive fight against the climate crisis. This weekend, his ’65 Mustang is running on tanks of the drop-in alternative. “Goodwood is right at the forefront of this and we’re proud to be one of the teams doing all the testing.” Watch the full itinerary, Here“You can tell people halfway around the world that this thing works, that it doesn’t melt the engine, but no one will believe you until they throw it in a car and film the results.”

Not the imposter Alex Brundle. He is a very talented professional and seems to enjoy every aspect of Historic motorsport. He is also a genuinely nice guy. Before we say goodbye I ask him to pose for a photo; a reminder of the 40 minutes I spent with the Historic motorsport ace. Follow Alex and subscribe to the YouTube Channel