Racing his dream David Richert has gone from driving tractors on the family farm to racing on the streets of Monaco
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/02/2020 (957 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba-born race-car driver David Richert will compete in the Ultimate Cup Series, a seven-race championship with events on current and former Formula 1 circuits throughout Europe.
Driving a Formula Renault 2.0 car, Richert will be a member of Inter Europol Competition, a team based in Warsaw, Poland. Formula Renault 2.0 is just a notch or two below Formula 1.
His first race will be March 20-22 at the Barcelona Circuit in Montmelo, Spain, host track of the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.
“One of my biggest dreams was to be able to go to Europe and drive racing cars, and for someone in Manitoba, that’s a little bit outside of the box,” said Richert in an interview.
Growing up on his parents’ farm in Niverville, Richert liked hockey. But the first time he saw a Formula 1 race on TV, he fell in love with the sport.
In 2001, when he was 18 years old, his new passion in racing led him to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.
“I remember being in the upper deck, looking down at the cars screaming by,” he said. “I thought, ‘you know what, it would be a heck of a lot more fun to be down in those cars driving, rather than up in the stands watching.’”
At the time, people told him it would be impossible for a farm kid from Manitoba to race on the Formula 1 circuit in Europe.
“I thought, well, let’s just go out and give it a shot and see what happens,” said Richert.
He started off by racing go-karts in Gimli, and then advanced to faster and more professional race cars.
As he was learning more about racing, Richert was struck by what he calls “the biggest eye-opening experience,” which is that you need a lot of money to participate.
“You can literally be the fastest race-car driver in the world but if you do not have the financial backing to pay your way up, you go nowhere,” he said. “You can either go home and cry and complain that life is unfair, or you can pull up your socks and try to do something about it.”
In 2008, he was chosen by Volkswagen to compete in its North American championship. That helped launch his professional racing career. Later, he signed with Team Torino Motorsport to race in Italy. In 2016, he raced through the streets of Monte Carlo at the Formula Renault Eurocup, an event that took place in Monaco on the Formula 1 weekend.
Since then, his focus has been to improve himself to qualify for large racing events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a major endurance race in France that attracts hundreds of thousands of fans every year.
Richert spends a lot of time training using racing simulators, which is a lot cheaper than using actual race cars.
“I raced against guys like Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, who are now Formula 1 superstars,” he said. “They would have two-million dollars in a budget, and I would have only $200,000.”
His budget is mainly coming from local sponsors.
“I have a lot of local investors and businesspeople who’ve invested in me and given me a chance,” Richert said. “I have nothing but thanks for them.”
“I’m from a farm in Manitoba, and I have absolutely no money. Yet, somehow, I’ve been able to go from driving tractors on a farm in Manitoba to driving race cars in Monaco,” he said. “That’s just a testament to this community and the people who helped to make that happen.”