TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 2009: THE TANNER FOUST INTERVIEW
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, May 17, 2009
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
The LA Car Interview with Tanner Foust Interviewed by John Grafman, transcribed by Paul Robinson John Grafman: I was watching some of the drifting the other day. How do you manage to get through that with out colliding with one another? Tanner Foust: I have no idea. Until you know, you go through there and it's like a mouse in one of those rat mazes. That is what you feel like; you can't see around the next corner, the concrete walls are just unmovable. And most guys have new cars, like we, the Rock Star team, had a new car that we were trying out from Scion that was a NASCAR powered Scion TC converted to rear weal drive. Fairly strange. So, to iron the issues out between the concrete walls is kind of a tricky thing. The skill level in the Formula D series is awesome, and you know being able to go door-to-door through those concrete walls is just a testament to that. It's pretty cool. JG: How many cars have you lost? TF: Last year we actually used our first spare bumper in 3 years with the 350Z.
JG: That's not bad. TF: And apparently the team stopped bringing them (spare bumpers) to the events. I did not know that. It is rare that you have an issue, knock on wood, because it is a very precision-based sport. It's not really a collision sport. And so they stopped bringing the spare bumper to the track, and when I did need the spare bumper luckily we were in long beach, and they had to send somebody out to get one. But, we had used a spare in 3 years so it is like that for a lot of teams. The emphasis is really on precision and control through the chaos, so you rarely have a mistake that is big enough to cause a crash. JG: From what I can see there's so much smoke, if you are behind another car I don't see how you can see anything? TF: The smoke as the second car is a big deal. The trick is, and this sounds a little counter intuitive, but the trick is to get close enough to that car (just in front) that you can still see the front half of the car. A lot of the big JR's mustangs with seven, eight hundred horsepower are just going to fog you out if you get far enough back, so you have to get close enough so you can still see the drivers door or forward. The back half of the car is all covered in smoke. But what can you expect, but when the car's in transition you inevitably have to go through that cloud of smoke and it is a pretty cool feeling being blind for a second going sideways. JG: So what do you expect to see at this race? TF: Formula D had their competition last weekend and that was a great opportunity for us to race in a venue that has such historic significance, and such great drivers who are going to be driving just next week in the Long Beach Grand Prix. And, it is actually kind of a weird thing because you know racing when it started, of course, was through the streets and there weren't racetracks. And so, this drifting being kind of a new cutting edge thing it is such a funny merger between those two ideas. But, this weekend the Long Beach Grand Prix is going to be awesome. You have the American Le Mans coming out strong and I love those cars, and have a lot of friends who race in that series. The Drift demo will be interesting and that is not part of our series, but there are three or four cars that get together and basically just drive together in a synchronized way essentially. JG: An exhibition? TF: Yea like an exhibition. Then the crowd judged them on their phones. It is kind of an interesting concept, and they have done that the past few years and it has worked out great. But, I unfortunately will not be able to watch the racing this year because I will be rally racing in Seattle this coming weekend.
JG: As for as your career goes, what do you see in your future? TF: Things in my world are luckily remaining pretty busy, and between stunt driving, and racing, and something that has been taking a lot of time recently - TV shows. My calendar fills up with a lot of fun stuff so it is pretty lucky. The supercar exposed show for Speed has been a great opportunity to just drive a lot of cool stuff. At this point in the show we have emails coming constantly from owners of Ferrari Enzos, and Carrera GT's Porshes, and crazy amazing cars, asking me to go wear the tires off of them. JG: Isn't this really the reason why you got into this position to begin with? TF: This is exactly the reason I got into it! I mean when I was in college, I was the lot guy at the car dealership for exactly this reason, to spin the tires off of cool cars. And just have fun. JG: Of course, they don't know that at the lot you worked at? TF: They eventually found out. LA Car's Long Beach Grand Prix coverage: LBGP 2009: The Circus Comes to Town LBGP 2009: Pro/Celebrity Race LBGP 2009: The Molly Sanders Interview LBGP 2009: Drifting LBGP 2009: The Tanner Foust Interview LBGP 2009: American Le Mans Series LBGP 2009: IndyCar Racing LBGP 2009: Speed World Championship LBGP 2009: Racing Goes Green LBGP 2009: The Grand Prix Lifestyle