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Fans of ‘auto mobil’ in Germany, for whom Lance has been a lead presenter since 2014, will already be familiar with this two-time Nürburgring 24 Hours podium finisher. But did you know that Lance David Arnold, equipped with a Dodge Viper ACR, posted one of the fastest ever laps for a production sports car around the Nordschleife in 2017? Or that he finished on the rostrum at ‘the greatest Porsche race of all time’ in 2011? Or, when faced with a handbrake for the first time in a decade, he broke it?
“My name is Lance-David Arnold.”
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
“Let me think about that! [Laughs] I’m 33.”
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“The first professional car race in 2005 in the [Porsche] Carrera Cup when I was 19 years old. I think it was at…Hockenheim? ...German Carrera Cup…yes, Hockenheim.”
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
“There have been a few. For sure, a big moment for me was 3rd place at the Porsche Carrera World Cup at the Nordschleife [in 2011], because all the Carrera Cups from all over the world came together – 85 cars – at the nicest track in the world. And it was a great fight. We started from 8th, I think, and finished 3rd in heavy rain. It was amazing for myself, and a lot of fun. And yeah, also our 2nd place at the Nürburgring 24 Hours [in 2014, alongside Jeroen Bleekemolen, Andreas Simonsen and Christian Menzel in the Black Falcon Mercedes SLS].”
*Marketed as ‘the greatest Porsche race of all time’ and featuring close to 100 cars on the entry list, Lance was bested only by 2nd-placed Norbert Siedler, and three-time Porsche Supercup and two-time DTM champion, René Rast.
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“The Nordschleife, for sure. The distance is great – it’s not just five corners – and I like that it’s an old school track, with ups and downs and less [run-off] area around the tarmac. So you need to stay on the track, you need a clean lap. You’re not thinking about track limits, because there aren’t any. It’s really cool.”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
“For sure there are many moments! In August this year, I made a guest start in the ADAC TCR Germany at Zandvoort [for Hyundai Team Engstler]. Before the race, I remembered, this was my first standing start in 10 years. I hadn’t thought about that at all before the weekend, and now, all of a sudden, that thought comes into my head on the way to the grid! So, now I have a handbrake to consider as well as the clutch and throttle while I’m preparing for the start. So, I pull into my [grid] slot – I’m starting on the front row – I pull the handbrake…and it doesn’t work. It’s stuck! I pull again, and I break it! This is before the race has even started!”
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“The aggressive orange in the front and up the sides – I think it’s called ‘Marlboro Racing Red’, but it’s mostly orange – I’ve had this since I was a go-kart driver, and all around that is blue, because that’s my favourite colour. The design has been updated with fresh designs over the years, but the orange is always there. It helps, when you’re competing in something like Formula BMW for the first time, to have an aggressive colour.”
What is your greatest strength?
“I would say, when I look at the last 10 years, I’m very consistent without destroying anything [knocks wood]. All the people around me and team bosses have said I’m an endurance driver, and maybe that’s the reason why they say this. I would say now, I can push really hard and do a qualifying lap, but my strongest quality is to push to within two-tenths for one hour. Even when the tyres drop.”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“That’s a good question! I don’t think I’ll get a film, but hopefully you’ll let me know if they ever make another film about James Hunt. I’d love to be involved in something like that!”
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I would like to start Le Mans, maybe in a prototype because I’ve had a lot of tests already. Actually, that is one of my biggest moments too. I had a test in a Porsche 919 Hybrid [at Motorland Aragon in 2018] and that was the greatest car I’ve ever driven, for sure. So yeah, I would say my target is to be at Le Mans one day and win the class. But for sure, the first step is just to be there.”
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“A lot of people think that I’m arrogant, but in truth, I’m really shy. And nobody believes that! Maybe because of the show – I’m part of the German TV show, auto mobil, where I test cars and I have to talk in front of a big group of people. Which is difficult to do when you’re really shy!”
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
“I like the atmosphere especially. I first started with CREVENTIC in 2011, in Dubai with the [Heico Motorsport Mercedes] SLS when the car was new, and it’s so familiar. Everybody is nice. When you reach a racetrack – oh, nice tracks too! – you see smiling people from the organisation, and you feel welcome. It’s a big important point, and 90% of the time, other race series can forget this. That’s a great thing about this series.
“That and the teams. Everyone has one target: we want to drive together and we want to have a nice weekend. For sure, everyone wants to finish on the podium, but in a [sporting] way. I really enjoy that because it’s enjoyable for everyone.”