Outside interest: Motorsport

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 1 Jun 2016

Alex FollisPhil Jones Associates' planner and urban designer Alex Follis (pictured right with his dad) is mad about motorsport and is an avid spectator at the world-famous Le Mans 24-hour race, Silverstone events and Formula 1 races.

How did you get into motorsport?

I don't have a racer's licence but am a keen spectator of motorsport. My dad was a big Formula 1 fan and worked for Bridgestone, which makes tyres for racing cars, so it was always a hot topic of conversation in the family. Me and my brother grew up watching races and getting access to flashy PR areas and qualifying sessions. 

What does it involve?

Invariably motorsport enthusiasts have to get up early to get to the race track and Formula 1 can swallow up a whole weekend with practice, qualifying and the big race on Sunday. Le Mans is more like a festival atmosphere and involves camping, which is all part of the fun.

Why do you do it?

I've always had an affinity with cars: it's the noise, the look, and feel. Watching drivers push themselves to the limit in races wins them both my respect and admiration. I drive a Ford Fiesta but in an ideal world I'd swap it for a Lamborghini Aventador, which represents new level of performance 

What’s the toughest thing about it?

Getting up early in the morning isn't always easy, especially when its freezing and you're standing under an umbrella at the side of a racetrack. 

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

It's great when a Brit becomes world champion, so hats off to Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Supporting big-name drivers is akin in intensity to following a favourite football team. 

Are there any similarities between your day job and motorsport

Planning and motorsport are worlds apart however you have to be dedicated to do both and both are time consuming. Motorsport is also difficult to follow on your own, so like planning it's a team activity.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com 

Image: Alex Follis (right) and his dad on the start/finish straight of the Le Mans track