One of the things that OPUMO's magazine is most loved for is our automotive section. We love to pick out the best classic cars in the world, and we've seen a whole lot of them since we started. Until now, though, we've never had the opinion of a true expert, someone who lives and breathes the world of motoring. Recently we enlisted the help of Sam Hancock, OPUMO’s new driver.
A lifetime of being involved in motorsport has made Sam Hancock’s CV a lengthy document littered with some of motoring’s most prized awards. A professional racing driver, coach and advisor to private clients on classic car transactions and historic racing programmes, Sam is coming on board to impart our readers with some serious motoring knowledge. We caught up with Sam to check that he really is that knowledgeable about motoring, he passed.
What do you do?
I’m a professional racing driver, coach and classic car consultant. These days I specialise in classic and historic car racing after a long career in modern, Le Mans-style sports cars.
Do you remember when your love of cars began?
I’ve loved cars and racing for as long as I can remember. I inherited the passion from my dad who has always raced as a hobby and still does today.
What was the first car that captured your attention?
Probably the Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino that my dad owned in the early eighties, when I was just a few years old. He tells me we went out for a high speed blast around the M25 motorway on the first night it opened and I can still vaguely remember that moment, looking out through the triangular rear windows from my perch in the tiny rear seats.
What’s your favourite car of all time?
An almost impossible question to answer, but if you’re holding a gun to my head I’d have to say the Ferrari F40. It’s all I’ve ever wanted in a car and remains so today. Totally analogue, a little bit dangerous, and handsome rather than pretty. It’s a car not to be messed with.
Racing for Aston Martin at Le Mans in 2010. That year we were competing in the premier LMP1 class for pure-bred racing prototypes, effectively cars of near Formula 1 levels of performance, but designed for 24 hour racing. Our car that year was the gorgeous closed-roof coupé, draped in the famous blue and orange colours of the Gulf oil company, and powered by a screaming, naturally-aspirated V12 that gave you goose bumps every time it passed by. We had no chance of beating the diesel powered Audis and Peugeots that year, so we were astonished to find ourselves 4th overall with just 40 minutes of the 24 hours remaining. Unfortunately our engine let go as I completed my final lap, and we retired on the spot, unclassified.
Most memorable driving experience?
Racing a 1970’s Formula 1 car at Monaco during the bi-annual historic racing weekend. By far my favourite circuit in the world, it really comes alive in an open-wheel car with 650-odd bhp under your right foot – just fabulous.
What’s next for you?
I’m off to Italy tomorrow to shoot some classic car films, then back to the UK next week for some McLaren sports car testing, before heading to Paul Ricard in the south of France for what will probably be my final historic race weekend of the year. It’s a particularly great month!
Yes, we’re jealous too. In between all of his other envy-inducing commitments, we’ll be hearing from Sam who’ll now be helping with our automotive magazine section, ensuring that our readers have access to juicy tidbits that few others can give.