We spoke with Alexander to see if he would enlighten us about PA Motorsport, the UK racing scene, and what K&N's support truly meant to him.
"I started PA Motorsport through my own driving activities. I always used to prepare and run my own cars (Formula Fords), and I ended up being runner up twice in the FF1600 Championship. And, I won the FF Zetec Championship in '08, against some decent works teams. Off the back of those performances I was being asked to look after other drivers cars, which I did to help finance my own racing, and it all grew from there."
We understand originally you had five drivers, two Formula Ford drivers, two Kart drivers, and one driver that drives both - can you speak a bit about that and how have things changed?
"This season will be a busy one for PA Motorsport. We have been running Historic Formula Fords (Pre-1972 cars) in the Historic Sports Car Clubs National Championship. I have a young driver, Darren Burke, that I have been looking after and he did the last three races with me last year, and won them all."
"At one of the circuits (Oulton Park) he hadn't been around the place prior to the test day that we ran the day before. Within six laps he had it all sorted. I'm also looking after two Novice drivers in the Historic Formula Ford Championship as well, so it will be good to have Darren in the Team to help them along."
"I also run contemporary FF1600 cars, with Mark Davies being my main driver. Mark has been with the Team for about six years. We will aim to take in the ‘Champion of Brands' races at Brands Hatch and the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy at the end of the season. The karting we were doing has taken a bit of a back seat to concentrate on the cars this season. The karting really started off as a keep fit exercise for the drivers in the winter."
You won five straight Championships beginning in 1998, were they all in one form of racing or in a combination of venues? Also, how do you explain your dominance during that period?
"Yes, PA Motorsport won five straight Championships from 1998 onwards. The first was when I won the Zetec Championship, and we took off from there. We won the other Championships in Formula Ford 1600 and Zetec. I had a really good Australian driver at the time, Brett Francis, and he won the FF1600 Championship twice, back to back, as well as winning the FF1600 Formula Ford Festival race."
"I was running the Swift SC93F chassis in FF1600 and we really got to the bottom of the set-up on that car. I ran Van Diemens in the Zetec class, as I thought they were a better chassis for that engine, and we won another three Championships, with three different drivers in those. When you are winning you attract the better drivers for the following year, so that helps, but a lot of hard work went on during those seasons."
Can you talk a little about your Macon Race Cars and how that came about for you?
"I first decided to run a Historic car for one of my drivers who was running in the contemporary FF1600 class and he was thinking of stopping. I got hold of a 1970 Macon MR8, rebuilt it, which he tested and absolutely loved. He has run in the Historic cars for the last six seasons now. During that time I got to know the then owner of Macon Race Cars. He was impressed with the quality of the preparation of our car, and when he suddenly decided he wanted to sell the company, he approached me. I jumped at the chance and acquired Macon Race Cars, including all of the original drawings, jigs and moulds, making us the Macon ‘Works' Team."
"There was a fair bit of history that came with the company too, and since I started researching Macon's, I have gotten more and more into it, so if anyone reading this has a Macon, I would love to hear from you. I have also gradually acquired various other Macon cars over the years, rebuilt them and we now run a frontline Team in the Historic Championship."
How did your relationship with K&N come about and what does it mean to your overall program?
"I first started using K&N products in our 1998 Championship. That was really when we started doing everything properly as a Team, and were looking at all areas of the car. We work very closely with Auriga Racing Engines, Auriga is virtually our own in-house engine builder. As such, we looked at air filters, and as well as providing the best filtration, K&N filters always gave the best performance. Since then nothing else has been on our cars. They are an extremely reliable product. We have never had any air filter related problems at the circuit. With a relatively underpowered car like a Formula Ford, any small increase in performance is significant, that's why the K&N Filters are so important to us."
When does the new racing season begin for you and is there anything new planned for the coming season that you would care to talk about?
"Our 2010 campaign has already started with testing, despite it being very cold here in the UK at the moment. We have been training the novice drivers to get them as much mileage as possible. Our first Historic race is at Silverstone on March 28, so we are looking forward to that."
"As well as running the Team, my driving activities have not stopped over the years, I am also Chief Instructor for Club MSV at Brands Hatch. Two years ago, the owner of two Simtek S951 F1 cars approached me, and he asked me to test one. Off the back of my performance at the test, I was asked to race the car at Hockenheim, a circuit I had not competed at before. Despite this and a wishbone failure (at 174mph), meaning a back row start (22nd on the grid), I managed to battle through to a third place podium finish on my F1 debut. Hopefully I will be running in the car a few times in 2010. The Team is as important though, and I am focused on making sure we can add a 2010 garland to the ones we already have."
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