This week we were thrilled (and a little in awe) to interview racing driver, TV presenter and journalist Vicki Butler-Henderson. Vicki started racing 100cc karts against the likes of Formula One star David Coulthard when she was just 12 years old, and still races today in whatever she can get her helmet into. Vicki is a founding-presenter for the Fifth Gear TV car programme, and the most recent female presenter on BBC TV Top Gear. If all that’s not enough, she’s also a Road Tester for Auto Express and What Car? magazines and has written for many other publications since the age of 17. Vicki lives in London with her two children.
Did you always want to have a career in racing?
No – up until the age of about 12, I wanted to be a vet and then a lawyer.
You went into television as a presenter on Top Gear in 1997 then moved to Fifth Gear and have been involved in lots of other TV work, did you always see yourself moving into a career in television?
Not really, no. I had been working on car magazines from when i left school to when i started on top gear, so i thought i’d be a motoring journalist rather than a TV tart!
What is your favourite car out of all the cars you have driven?
Lamborghini Diablo GT.
I went to Lamborghini’s HQ in Italy to drive the car when it was new, back in 1999. I filmed it for top gear. Only 80 were ever made and it is a beast of a machine.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been blessed to have done so much! Highlights (plural!) Include going up in a jaguar jet fighter plane, driving a formula one car, and racing a Ferrari F430 (and finishing on the podium!).
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
It is actually a recipe that Ian Botham (cricketer) wrote about in a Sunday magazine and I cut it out to keep! it’s a fish pie and includes smoked salmon in the mash topping. I’m not very good in the kitchen.
Will you be encouraging either of your children to get into racing?
Such a tricky one!! I love racing, but I’m in control (almost!) Most of the time, whereas I’d become a spectator if my children raced. I’d fear that I wouldn’t be able to protect them!
How do you stay looking so great?
Such flattery! I still need to lose some baby weight… but i try and run 5km a couple of times a week, and go the gym when I can manage to combine that visit with the crÃ¨che opening.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Wet wipes! Crikey, how did I ever manage without them?
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
I’m racing a mini in September – the same racing series that my brother competes in. It will be the first time ever that we will have raced against each other.
Also, hopefully another series of Fifth Gear – we have been on air with the show for almost 15 years!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence.
I love life, I’m eternally optimistic and I try and make people smile when I can.