A Spiritual Journey

A Spiritual Journey

Six-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy talks to Style for Miles on how his Porsche GT3 provided the perfect send off for an old friend.

As well as winning six Olympic gold medals and subsequently carving out a successful career in motorsport, including winning the Le Mans LMP3 championship in 2015, Sir Chris Hoy also has impeccable taste in cars. His downtime track vehicle of choice just so happens to be a 911 GT3 (991 Gen 2 to you), a vehicle he holds in such high esteem that he reckons its combination of dynamic track ability and everyday civility is incomparable.

But more personal than that, Sir Chris’s Porsche has accompanied him on what could be described as a spiritual journey that closed the door on a significant a chapter in his life - as he answer’s Style for Miles’ ‘Drive Five.’

What’s your favourite driving route?
I had a wonderful experience that actually arose from a sad situation last year. A really close friend of mine, a guy who was part of the Scottish Commonwealth Games management team and a former rider who I’d grown up with, died suddenly of a heart attack in his mid-fifties.

He had two passions in life, cycling and his Porsche 964, which he used to drive down from Inverness every Tuesday night to Edinburgh, to ride the track league back in the 90s.

It was such a moving experience, united as one with the car, everything was perfect. I couldn’t help think of my friend Ivor, and how it would be to share this moment with him, as the car consumed the road. It seemed such an appropriate way to say goodbye.

And while it was a sad occasion - I admit I had a bit of a tear in my eye on the drive - it was also a moment I’ll never forget.

When I arrived at the hotel in Inverness the front of the car was splattered with all these midges, the engine was ticking over as it cooled down, and I just stood there, looking at the car, thinking that was probably one of the best drives of my life!

The perfect car, the perfect road, the perfect scenery and what better way to send off an old friend.

What’s your most memorable road trip?
Driving down the East Coast of Australia. We went from near the top, from Tribulation, though Port Douglas and all the way down to Melbourne - it was incredible to drive the whole length. It took us about six weeks in total.

It wasn’t that the roads were particularly spectacular, more that sense of adventure you get on a road trip.

What would be your dream driving road trip?
I think connecting the all the iconic race tracks in Europe would be fantastic. The Nurbergring, Spa and heading into Italy to Imola, connecting up all the dots.

What would be your Porsche of choice for the trip?
I do rather like the Singer 911.

Who would be your dream driving partner?
It sounds like a cop out but it’d be my wife. She’s a brilliant passenger, never complains if I’m driving spiritedly and doesn’t get car sick. She’s been a passenger on numerous track days, and even fell asleep once on track!

We were in a Caterham, the car was hot, it was a cold day and we had all the kit on. She just fell asleep right there in the pit lane as we were about to head out and only woke up after the first couple of laps...

As his funeral was in Inverness and I live in Manchester I had to figure out how to get there. Normally it would mean taking a train or flying, but given his love of his 964 I saw it fitting to take my GT3. He’d never seen it as I’d only had it a short while, so I guess you could say the road trip was a tribute to him.

It was the middle of summer and the weather was perfect. When I reached the Cairngorms in Scotland the road really came into its own. Travelling through this spectacular scenery, as the sun was setting, I didn’t see another car for over an hour, as I hustled the GT3 through the curves and corners.