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MSVT gets TV Dragon Theo Paphitis race-ready

Thursday, February 19 2015

Former Dragons' Den star and successful entrepreneur Theo Paphitis passed his ARDS test  with MSV Trackdays at Brands Hatch today (Thursday), ahead of making his debut in historic racing.

Theo, who owns a business managing several racing drivers with business partner and former F1 driver Mark Blundell, took to the track in MSVT's Peugeot RCZ R coupé. "I tell you what, I've never been so terrified in my life," he joked. "I'm not a natural racer, and I've only been on track a couple of times in my whole life. One of those was to do [BBC2's] Top Gear, and I remember the Stig saying 'I'm getting out of here, I don't get paid enough for this!' It was good to get some proper tuition and start understanding that it's not all about speed, it's about positioning, knowing the track and your car and that's some of the work that I'm going to have to pick up."

"It's about not going full out trying to prove your speed and understanding the track and cornering. What does seem quite slow actually, is the correct speed for that corner to allow you to keep traction going and keep momentum. You want to put your foot down, and of course as you guys are now telling me, that's not always the way to get your best times."

Theo, known for his no-nonsense approach to business, admitted the sheer thrill of track driving proved hard to overcome: "There's no question that the adrenaline starts flowing quite quickly once you're on track and it does take over sometimes. You need to take a breather, and remember although you're on the track, you're actually in a classroom.

"Colin [Tester, MSVT instructor] was taking his life in his hands getting into the car with me! I thought he was incredibly brave but very polite as he started pointing out the errors of my ways on the first lap, and continued to do so. But the good news is that when you've got somebody that experienced sitting next to you, it doesn't matter how much adrenaline's going through your body, you start listening, and it starts making a big difference and the penny starts dropping."

Theo isn't quite ready for racing to take over his life, and doesn't expect to be running his own team any time soon: "I love motorsport, but I haven't seen a business case for investing in motorsport yet, other than luck and adrenaline. But the flipside of that, it's an amazing way of brands and businesses advertising their wares, and motorsport is followed so extensively that for sponsorship opportunities, it's a great sport to be in."

Click here to visit the MSV Trackdays website, which includes information on trackdays and ARDS tests.