Guest Interview – Rising motorsport star Ruben Hage.
Ruben Hage is a rising star in GT racing, having cut his cloth in the Junior Saloon Car Championship, and is now a regular feature at the front of the Ginetta G56 Pro championship – with multiple race wins under his belt.
Looking forward, Ruben hopes to one day step up into endurance racing and compete in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the World Endurance Championship as a professional GT driver.
As one of Britain’s most promising young racing talents, we are proud to welcome Ruben to the British Motor Show this year (August 17-20) as a guest panel speaker on stage and in the motorsport paddock.
Ahead of the show, we caught up with Ruben to see how his racing season is going, and what his aspirations are for the future:
How did you get into racing?
My dad introduced me to karting when I was six years old after school on a Monday night. We used to go down to PFI and drive around a little bambino kart. From there, we progressed into racing full time – in 2012.
We then made the switch to cadets due to my age. After that I progressed through both club and national level championships, before switching to car racing when I was 12. That was in Junior Autograss, which is with one-litre Nissan Micras on dirt ovals.
At that point we could have either made the massive spending jump to move up a category in karting or go learn the craft of car racing – with the body roll and front wheel drive, which set me up nicely to progress into the junior saloon car championship two years later.
So what have you been racing since then?
The first car that I raced on a circuit when I was 14, was a 1.6-litre Citroen Saxo VTR in the Junior Saloon Car Championship. That was great fun, and it really helped me to learn my race craft.
Then I moved into senior racing last year, and we chose the Ginetta GT5 Challenge. It provided really close racing, and was a great championship that was on both British GT and British Touring Car support packages.
This year Ginetta has reshuffled everything a little bit. While our plan was to do GT5 again, the opportunity arose to make the step up into the G56 GT Pro.
It is relatively similar to the GT5, but it’s obviously a lot bigger and has a lot more power. It is left hand drive, has paddle shift, ABS, and traction control. So it’s a fully fledged GT car, which is the route I’m aiming to go down. It’s definitely been a good learning experience this year.
How’s your season gone so far?
It’s been quite mixed. We didn’t know where we would stand, results-wise. There’s a lot of people we’ve never raced against before, who have more experience than us. Fortunately we got up on the podium straight away, battling for race wins constantly.
Unfortunately at Donnington we got disqualified from the entire meeting. That crushed our championship hopes. From there it has just been redemption, trying to pick up as many individual wins as possible. Thankfully we were able to do that at Silverstone – the first races back from being disqualified. I put it on pole twice and won three races.
Championship-wise, I think we’re fifth, so there’s no real possibility of winning it unless a miracle happens – which it usually doesn’t in racing.
Overall it is about proving ourselves and getting good results.
Do you think you’ll continue with the same championship next year?
That’s not the plan at the moment. It’s looking very good for next year. There’s quite a few options on the table. Obviously it’s entirely down to budget and what we can raise from partnerships, which is where we get the most amount of budget from to go racing.
The long-term dream is to race at Le Mans. So British GT, for example, is a good introduction into endurance racing at a high level.
There’s also really good options in Europe. There’s got good series out there at the moment, like the European GT4 series and in the Fanatec GT World Challenge. They’re all good feeder series into racing WEC and Le Mans.
Where can we find you at the British Motor Show?