When racing driver Archie Hamilton lost his sposorships, he was just about ready to give up on his lifelong dream.
While he’d been a professional racing driver for years, it’s not exactly a cheap sport, and he couldn’t think of a way to continue.
‘100%,’ he admitted when asked if he’d thought about giving up. ‘When I lost my main sponsor, I was definitely like, “I’ve completely had enough of this.”‘
However, in a stroke of good fortune, he found himself turning to YouTube at the right time – and it turned out to be a life saver for him.
‘I met a couple of people in the YouTube world and managed to get going on that and it’s been really cool. I started doing one video a week, learning the ropes, then I went to two videos a week, then I started begging, stealing and borrowing to finance cars, and it kind of just grew and grew and grew from there.’
At the time of writing, Archie boasts a following of more than 300,000 on YouTube, and has managed to rack up sponsorships through his use of social media, allowing him to continue with his racing dream.
He’s also been delving into the world of eSports, gearing up to take on First Dates star Fred Sirieix in the Velo e-series, in partnership with McLaren.
While Archie’s got more experience in the racing world, Fred’s definitely not letting him off the hook easily.
‘He’s got a very competitive angle to him, which I didn’t really expect,’ he laughed. ‘He took it a lot more seriously than I thought!’
Plus, as we’ve all discovered when playing Mario Kart at one point or another, real life driving skills don’t always translate into being a master gamer.
‘Obviously on a simulator, you have zero risks,’ Archie pointed out. ‘You can roll the thing upside down and you’re not gonna hurt yourself, whereas in real life, you could really hurt yourself.
‘There’s the element of there being no risk but you do have to adapt.’
As it turns out, Archie knows the real-life risks of driving all too well, casually recalling the time he escaped his race car after it set on fire. As you do.
‘I looked behind me and I realised [the car] was on fire,’ he explained. ‘I had to get out of that one – that was pretty scary.
In that moment, you have to be quick and think on your feet and get out quickly.’
‘I’ve had some big crashes but [it’s] part and parcel of racing, really,’ he continued. ‘I guess when you drive a racing car, you don’t really think it’s gonna happen to you, you feel like you’re invincible!’
But for him, it’s the surreal points that make the slightly terrifying moments all worth it.
He’s even got to interview Lewis Hamilton and is about to embark on the coolest roadtrip of his life.
‘This year I’m racing a Lamborghini across Europe which is really exciting,’ he explained. ‘Four years ago I would have thought, “Yeah, you’re having a laugh – there’s no way that’s going to happen but now obviously getting a chance to do that, and to document it is gonna be really cool!’
The VELO ESERIES has been brought to fans by VELO as part of its ongoing global partnership with McLaren Racing.