Home Shakedown with Nicky Catsburg
- WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup driver Nicky Catsburg shares his lockdown activities for Hyundai Motorsport’s Home Shakedown series
- Nicky quickly adapted to home life when restrictions were imposed and has since witnessed a number of important events unfold, such as his daughter learning to walk
- Esports simulator racing and DIY have been two of the activities that have kept him occupied while away from WTCR and in isolation.
Hyundai Motorsport’s Home Shakedown series continues with WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup driver Nicky Catsburg, who has shared his lockdown activities.
Over the past few years, Nicky has spent significant time away from home travelling between races around the world. With the current situation putting this on hold for now, he quickly adapted to home life and witnessed a number of milestone events unfold. Nicky has seen his daughter learn to walk and is now having to impose an even stricter lockdown at home, as she attempts to open every cupboard around the house.
In addition to spending time with the family, the Dutchman revealed how esports simulator racing is currently keeping his driving skills in tune. Nicky has entered a number of virtual competitions around the globe and has even managed to “stand” virtually on the podium.
Home Shakedown with Nicky Catsburg
Nicky, where are you and how are you doing?
“I am at home with my wife Miriam, my daughter Sara and my dog in Belgium. For the last couple of weeks, we have been on lockdown. Although we are in isolation, I am still allowed to ride my bike outside pretty much whenever I want, which is great. It’s also nice to be spending some time at home as I’ve been spending most of my time for the last five years away from home.”
What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied?
“Everyone has been really getting into sim racing and so have I. It’s almost getting out of control. I’ve been spending plenty of time practicing or racing with it every day. Also, my garden has never been as nice as it is now. I am definitely not a gardener, but I have been spending a lot of time working on it.”
Do you feel that the simulator is helping you keep race fit or is it just a bit of fun?
“I would say it is a bit of both. There are definitely things you can practice from the simulator. I really see a similar link with my driving style on there as I do in reality. So, if I have a problem in the car, I can solve it on the simulator. Since I was 14 years old, I have been using one and now in these circumstances it is becoming really popular. More people are trying it out and having the time of their lives.”
Are you competing in official races with your simulator?
“Yeah, there are some official events. For example, I am racing in America as well. There are also a lot of fun races going on. We have all sorts of WhatsApp groups with drivers from all over the world, from Jenson Button to Max Verstappen to Antonio Felix da Costa. It is great fun.”
If you’re racing in the American events, are you racing in the early hours of the morning?
“Yes, I actually am. I’ve had races that started at midnight for me. In one event I was on the podium, so we had to do interviews as well on Zoom, and some radio and telephone calls. I think I went to bed at around three o’clock in the morning and my eyes were still square from looking at the screen. So that was quite crazy.”
How have you been keeping fit?
“I have been asked this quite a lot actually. The thing I always say is that I first need to be fit and then I can take the next step of keeping fit. I’m upping my game, I’m doing a lot more at home and more on my bike, so hopefully by the end of all this quarantine time, I will actually have a bicep to show for it.”
Have you picked up any new skills?
“Well, the one thing I would say is whenever something had to be done in or around the house, I would always call my father to help me out. Obviously now with the lockdown, that’s not possible. I have to do everything myself. I’m starting to get quite handy with DIY and I’m quite proud of myself with completing tasks. I built a tool station in my garage but it doesn’t have any tools in it at the moment! Now I have to do things myself, I’ve noticed that I can actually do a fair bit.”
Have you been keeping in touch with the rest of the team?
“I have a new team for this season, Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team and I’m actually dying to meet them because for sure we will have some nice times on the tracks. It’s all a bit strange with the COVID-19 situation. I’m sure it’s also strange for them, nobody knows what is really going to happen. I have been in touch with my team-mate Luca of course. But I don’t know my engineer, I haven’t really met anyone yet. So yeah, I am really looking forward to finally doing that when racing commences again.”
You’ve had a few busy years travelling around the world for races, how have you found being at home?
“I think I can say the break I am having now came at a good moment. Maybe it was time for a little break from racing. I’m not saying that I don’t like it anymore, but I have a young daughter who is now at the stage where she is learning a lot very quickly and I was definitely going to miss many things. Now I was at home when she made her first steps and I’m already annoyed about her opening every cupboard in the house. I would have missed everything like that, and I think that although this situation is inconvenient for many people, it also has good sides to it for me.”
Do you have a message for the fans at home who are missing racing?
“I can imagine that it is hard now for the big fans not to have any real racing. What I would suggest is definitely to have a look at all the events that are online. I know just as well as they do that it is not the same thing, but it gets very close and somewhat the events actually have the same commentators as we do on the real races. It’s a lot of fun to watch. I would definitely suggest having a look at that. Everyone knows what to do and I just hope we will return to racing as soon as possible. I will continue doing sim racing, but hopefully in the near future I can do a bit more real racing than sim racing. Let’s hope that we can get back to normal soon.”