This week we interviewed British racing car driver Andy Priaulx and his wife Jo. The couple have two children, Danniella 10 years, and Sebastian, aged 13 years. They currently live in Guernsey where they spend as much time as they can when they’re not in the States for Andy’s racing career. Andy and his wife Jo are founders of The Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation, which was set up in 2003 following the premature birth of both of their children.
How did you get into racing driving, was it always your ultimate dream?
AP: It first started out as a hobby but I had a burning desire to make it more than that! As with all dreams it had many hurdles, the biggest hurdle initially was funding a race program, many young drivers’ careers have ended prematurely as a result of this and unfortunately this took Jo and I to the brink and back many times. However, after many years of persistence, determination and support we made it possible and realised our dreams, and I became a Multiple World Champion.
Tell us about a typical day-in-the-life of Andy Priaulx.
AP: It is so varied. Lots of travel, lots of gym work and many phone calls and appearances with sponsors, teams and my employers BMW. During the week I am always looking at performance, personally trying to improve myself and also my universe. It’s all about bringing people together and trying to achieve what is almost impossible.
You and your wife Jo are founders of the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation, formed after both your children were born significantly premature. Tell us about this charity and why it is so important to you.
AP: We had such a humbling experience with both our children and that made us realise how lucky we where. We were so humbled by the medics, the paediatricians and the nurses; this was a life changing situation and we had to act. At that time, I was currently World Champion and Jo and I made the pact that we would use my profile in a positive way.
In the last 10 years we have been so well supported and we have managed to achieve some amazing things. We have worked closely with our local hospital and have bought vital equipment to help care for very premature babies in Guernsey. We strive to make this process, safer and better for local families. As I said, we are humbled daily by the generosity and support of others. I am also so proud of my wife for driving this charity forward whilst I am away racing.
What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer parents having experienced the birth of a premature baby?
JP: Take each day as it comes, one day you will have a bad day and the next you will make a small step forward. Its a slow process and requires faith in the people around you.
Do either of your children have any aspirations to follow in your footsteps into racing driving?
AP: Unfortunately yes!!! My son is now racing and this is great, he is doing so well! However, my funding issues start all over again!! Getting to formula one will cost him in excess of £10m and this is just to get him ready. My daughter Danniella is amazing also, she has such a happy personality and I’m absolutely sure we will see her on TV in the future!
What’s the one children’s product you couldn’t have lived without?
JP: A Baby monitor.
What wisdom would you like to pass on to your children?
JP: Never give up and always look for the positive solution. There is no such word as ‘can’t’!
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
JP: Granny Judy’s Flap jacks.
- 50g (6oz) Butter or Margarine
- 100-150g (4-6ozs) Light Brown Soft Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
- 350g (12oz) Quaker Oats
Put the butter or margarine, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the fat and sugar have melted. (I try not to boil it) Add the Quaker Oats and blend thoroughly, (let the oats absorb the syrup mixture). Press into a well greased 24cm oblong tin.
Bake in the centre of a moderate oven, 180C/160C Fan/350F, Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes or until evenly golden brown. (She bakes for 20mins only and cover it with baking parchment to remain moist) Mark into fingers while warm; allow to become almost cold in the tin before removing. Store away from other biscuits.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
AP: We will continue to work and promote the charity, we have a goal now to buy another property in Southampton to house Channel Islands Families with very ill Children in Southampton Hospital. We have just launched a new 3 year project with Investec name “The Burrow” we intend to raise 150k to make this possible.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
AP: I’ve just asked my wife!! A Determined, perfectionist which is sometimes grumpy!