Dan Clarke (a.k.a. “Speedy Dan”) is a British born race car driver that recently has been tearing up the track in the Intercontinental Trophy Cup Racing Series in a Porsche Cayman. He finished first in the first four races of the season, dominating the series so far this season. Before getting into the Intercontinental Trophy Cup Racing Series Dan raced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and before that IndyCar and open wheel racing.
I was fortunate to get an opportunity to ask Dan some questions to find out more about him and his career.
Q: How did you get started in auto racing?
A: I was 8 years old and in love with Formula 1 watching Ayrton Senna dominate racing when a local kart track announced opening its doors in my local newspaper, The Rotherham Advertiser. They ran a competition with a really easy F1 question for a free go to someone and somehow my name was pulled out of the hat. I was only 8 against kids aged up to 15 but I did ok for a first time and I never looked back after that. And I’ve also never won a newspaper or call in competition like that again since.
Q: You come from open wheel racing, how have you liked driving in a closed wheel GT series?
A: I love driving the sportscars! They respond so much better to finesse and smooth driving. It also saves explaining what Champ Car is or Indy Lights when you can say “I race a Porsche” People really respond to that a whole lot better. I guess that’s the story of my life and open wheel racing I’ve come to realize.
Q: What do you like about the Porsche Cayman as a race car? What, if anything, do you not like about it?
A: I like the fact the ITC Cayman handles so well almost straight out of the box. Even the stock pedal arrangement in Caymans is just right for heel and toe downshifting. It’s been a seamless transition for me racing it. What don’t I like? Not having a couple more horsepower when a 911 rips me off on a straightaway 😉
Q: How does driving a racing Porsche Cayman differ from driving an open wheeled car like you drove in IndyCar?
A: There is a little more weight transfer to manage in a sportscar than an open wheel but that just takes an understanding and a feel for it and patience in order to quickly adapt. Beyond that, its a case of adjusting to the tire profile and size of the wings on the Isringhausen Motorsports Cayman and it’s been a lot of fun seeing just how quickly I can go on the Hoosier R6’s from being smooth.
Q: What type of car(s) do you drive as your personal ride?
A: Ha! This always gets people and every now and then I hear people have asked if I drive a Ferrari or something similar. I drive a Hyundai right now. I never made all that money the Champ Car Media guide booklets said I made. That prize money helped pay the budget for those seasons! I enjoy flushing my own transmission and making sure it doesn’t break down on me. My next car will be a MINI Cooper probably. Got to love those cheeky Brits..
Q: You have been dominating the field in the Intercontinental Trophy Series, providing things continue to go well, do you hope to move to another GT racing series in the future or are you planning to stay in the current series?
A: Yes without a doubt I want teams to notice these wins and give me a shot in the bigger cars and endurance races. I grew up believing you had a chance to earn opportunities if you worked hard and dedicated yourself to being the best there is at something.
Q: If you could drive any race car (past or present) what car would it be?
A: That’s a tough question. There are so many older race cars I’d love to drive. The current Le Mans Prototypes look so alluring these days. But it would have to be the 1988 F1 McLaren. 1400hp just for Qualifying!
Q: If you could drive any street car (past or present) what would it be and why?
A: I grew up loving Porsche 911s and cars like the Honda NSX, because of the Senna connection, and I’ve been lucky to drive them and on racetracks now also. Id say I enjoy driving everything at least once just to see how it feels and drives.
Q: Do you think Porsche should race the Porsche Cayman in other GT racing series, such as ALMS?
A: Yes. Definitely. Porsche should build a dedicated Cayman team, enter all the big races, and hire me to drive for them. Do you think they can hear me? 😉
Q: What should fans look forward to seeing from you in the future?
A: That’s a difficult question to predict where this career path will take me. But right now I’m pursuing all endurance racing challenges. So some fans may see me at a Chump Car race and some maybe at Thunderhill. I have my sights on Daytona 24hrs right now. Fingers crossed.