We're stoked to be a part of Hunter Yeany's race journey. He started racing carts years ago and has been unstoppable. Last year he became the F4 US National Champ! This year he's moved up to F3 and is racing in Europe as well as the US, against some very talented drivers.
The Yeany family are some off the best people you could ever meet. They instill solid values and work ethic in their kids, and it shows. I asked Hunter a few questions to learn more about him and his journey to F1. The last time an American won a Formula 1 race was Mario Andretti, in 1978.
We think the time is coming for an American to break out and start winning F1 races again! Here's a snapshot of what it's like being an American driver making your way up through the ranks in hyper competitive Formula racing! Read on!
What got you interested in racing cars?
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved everything about cars. I played with matchbox cars. Watched TV shows and movies about cars, and liked everything about racing in general. My favorite movie for a very long time when I was a kid was the movie Cars. I remember I used to watch it every night consecutively with my grandparents.
Why Formula Cars?
The reason I chose to go the path of Formula racing is because as I got older I realized there were no Americans in F1 and I wanted to fix that. So I decided I wanted my dream to be the 3rd ever American F1 champion.
What’s the difference between F1, F2 and F3?
So in F3 and F2 you get to travel with F1 to show your talent on the biggest stage. In F3 and F2 there are also more cars than in the F1 field. F1 has 20 cars (2 cars per team) and in F3 and F2 you can have up to 3 cars in a team. The F2 and F3 cars also don’t have power steering to make the steering wheel light for you so you have to be really strong in your upper body.
What a day of training for me looks like.
A day of training for me usually starts with waking up around 7-8 in the morning and going for a 3/5 mile run. After that I’ll get my homework done for the day then it’s off to the simulator. On the sim I usually practice in cars similar or identical to what I’d be driving in real life on the tracks that I’ll race on in the season. Then once that is over usually I’ll go outside and do some sort of fun hobby I like to do like Fishing, Biking, Surfing, Swimming, or Skating.
What is a race day like?
My race day routine starts with getting up around 6am and getting a shower to wake myself up. Then afterwards I’ll go and get something to eat usually on the way to the track. The team will have a schedule already set up for when they want you to arrive to the track. Once I get to the track I always say good morning to everyone on the team to show my appreciation for them working so hard. Then I go say good morning to my engineer and go over the race run plan. After that I have about an hour break till I start getting warmed up. For my warm up I jump rope, do push ups, and lunge and at the same time the mechanics are warming up the car to the right temperature. Then I get in the car, get strapped in, do radio and brake bias checks with my engineer and drive to the grid to start the race. After the race I go back to the engineer office and tell him how the car setup felt. We talk about that for a while then look at data to see where I’m good on track and where I can improve. I then get changed, say bye to the team and leave to go eat dinner. I usually go to bed around 9-9:30.
What resources do you have in the car?
We can’t eat or drink in the car I drive but in some cars like F1, Indy car, and WEC they have a drink system. Sometimes you need to go to the bathroom in the car but you really only feel like you have to go when you’re not driving the car. What I mean by that is when you’re sitting on the pregrid your anxious and feel like you need to go but when you’re driving you’re too focused to even notice.
Do you have comms while driving?
The whole team has a radio system so they can hear each other over the cars because in the pit lane the cars are really loud. But your engineer is the only one who talks to you while driving. What they usually say on the radio is your lap time, tire state, and if you have damage because F3s races aren’t long enough to have a pit stop.
Pulse rate while racing?
I don’t where a heart monitor while driving but I’ve checked it right after I’ve gotten out of the car before and it ranged around 140-160 bpm so pretty high!
I like a lot of different varieties of music but my 2 favorite genres are classic rock and pop just because they both give off the best vibes in my opinion. If I’m training I really like a lot of old school hip hop and alternative rock. For hip hop I like Eminem, The Notorious BIG, Dr Dre, and 50 cent. For Alternative rock I like Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Metallica, Nirvana, Linkin Park, and Green Day.
Favorite pre race meal?
This might sound a bit funny it’s not really a meal but I usually eat a few jelly beans before I go get in the car to get a sugar high when I go out to get a burst of energy.
Favorite current F1 driver?
My favorite current driver racing in F1 is George Russel because even though he may not be in the best car he always makes the most of it always out qualifying his teammate.
How I handle school?
I do an online school program called Ontrack School. They are really flexible with when you turn in your work whether it’s early or late and you can do it on your phone or laptop.
What’s it like racing against Americans vs Europeans?
Racing against Americans and Europeans aren’t particularly different. It’s just the rules of how you’re allowed to race. In America you have to be careful when racing other cars because you have to race how the series wants you to. In Europe the driver gets to do more of what he or she wants to do and not have to worry as much about getting a penalty.
Where do I see myself in 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself in an F1 car racing around the world seeing new sights and meeting new people. I’m not sure which team it would be with but I wouldn’t turn the offer down! My goal is to prove that I’m good enough and to do that you have to be driving an F1.
What do I attribute to the growing popularity of Formula racing in the US?
America has a long history of racing in Formula 1 that’s been forgotten. People forget that In the late 70’s and early 80’s open wheel racing like F1 and Indy car were extremely popular. Both series raced in the US and were attended by large crowds weekly. At one point another series called champ cars came in the picture and diluted all the series. At that same time a Motorsport called NASCAR had a growing popularity among average blue collar Americans. It was a series that people at the local tracks around America still believed they could reach. All of that has changed now. But each of these series realize that they have to reach the current audience. An audience that doesn’t have a link to our past Motorsport history but still believes in the United States being the best and pushing our limits. Liberty Media out of Denver, Colorado understands that they have to bridge that gap between our past history and our current Motorsport audience here in America. Netflix shows like Drive to survive bring you backstage and let you see behind the curtain of F1. The biggest reason it’s growing here in the US is because that’s where there is growth for the sport. That’s also why over the next few years you will see not only a race at Circuit of America’s in Austin, Texas, but in Miami, possibly Las Vegas and maybe even at Indianapolis.
What is the most challenging part of Formula racing for me?
The most challenging aspect of racing for me would probably be mental side because sometimes you tend to beat up on yourself quite a bit if you don’t do well or get homesick. But you’ve just got to fight it and keep going!
What’s my favorite part of racing?
My favorite part of racing is driving fast but also the different cultures and sights I get to see along with people.
Why do you think you will be successful in a cutthroat sport like racing?
I think I will be successful because I refuse to give up no matter how bad or good the session is and you just have to keep pushing. I’m also different from other drivers because I’ve figured out how to be dedicated on and off the track towards racing, but still have my own life and enjoy my family, friends and hobbies. It sounds simple, but that balance is extremely hard.
How can people find me.
FB: Hunter Yeany
Www.hunteryeany.com. (New site coming soon)