Professional Driver Profile: Robert Van Epps
I had a chance to catch up with one of Miami Exotic Auto Racing’s Pro Race instructors, Bob Van Epps, at the FARA race back in April 2014. Luckily Bob was able to sit down with me for a quick interview between race sessions.
Here is how it went!
Roni: How did you get started in Motorsport?
Bob: I started racing 14ft pleasure boats with 50hp mercury motors. This was when the Albany to NY marathon on the Hudson River was revived. There were a total of 35 participants in this class and I finished 5/35, 120 overall.
Roni: What kind of racing have you done? Any Competitions, championships and how long were you involved?
Bob: In 1969 I won the unlimited single engine championship at the Miami stadium. I also was able to garner sponsorships from Mercury Marine along with various local championships
Roni: I remember at one of our events you mentioned you were in the BMW Car Club, when did you become a part of that organization?
Bob: I joined the BMW Car Club in 1995 where my son and I won a few national championships with my E36 BMW M3
Roni: A very powerful 3,2L inline-6 in that car; I bet you and your son had tons of fun with that car! I also know you’re a big fan of German Engineering, why is that?
Bob: BMW and all German makers alike build higher quality cars and their road and safety standards are higher than any of the other auto makers.
Roni: What inspired you to get into motor sports?
Bob: I had to take 15 years off of to raise my family. Auto racing looked like something I could do locally and inexpensively, and could share the driver seat with my son
Roni: Who inspired you?
Bob: I’m a Chick-Fil-A type of person. (Haha) I like to win and I am self motivated
Roni: What other important positions have you held within the automotive industry?
Bob: I was involved in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) stewardship, where I am on the local board of directors. I’m also a national officer of the BMW Car Club.
Roni: Where’s the application and how can I sign up!
Roni: What are your greatest accomplishments?
Bob: I have 3 children and they are all self sufficient
Roni: Congratulations on that. I bet they make you smile everyday of life!
Roni: What is your role as the boss man of FARA?
Bob: I am the Race director; I’m responsible for the safety and execution of all on-track activities.
Roni: Where do you see the automotive industry in 10 years?
Bob: The cars are going towards greater safety legislation. In addition automakers are making it less, driver focused more automated.
Roni: What are a few big changes you see in auto racing from when you first started to now?
Bob: Personal safety the (HANS) Head and Neck Support device, which keeps the drivers neck and back in tact in the event of an accident. Cars now have wraparound safety nets; all of these advancements cause the death toll to decrease as well as the permanent injury toll.
Roni: What is your favorite type of auto racing? F1, touring car etc…
Bob: Anything I can participate in. My favorite thing to do in Motorsport is to teach.
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