How did you get into racing?
Getting into racing cars costs an enormous amount of money. I started out by getting my first Ferrari and understanding the car was so beyond my limit. I wanted to learn how to drive it better. Ferrari offers a five-part course where you more up the levels, one to five. When you're done, if you're quick enough you can get involved in the challenge programme, which is their spec racing series. I was offered to train for that, about five years ago. You pay for this: they don't pay you to do it. You're a paying driver. The way to get sponsored is through increasing your social media presence. Most of us pay and pay and pay, and eventually we hopefully win some races.
Best thing about racing?
The adrenalin. The excitement of being on the circuit with 30 cars around you: it's pretty crazy when you're diving into the first corner! It's pretty crazy, your blood's up, and it's extremely exciting. The speed, the close proximity to other cars, the competitive nature of it. I'm hoping to do the entire 2017 Ferrari Challenge Series after five years of training. I'm super excited.
Racing on my home circuit in Budapest. To get within two seconds of my pro-driver and racing coach, Michele Rugolo, was really amazing. It's really, really difficult, to be within two seconds of a pro driver: it was like 1.8 seconds and we were both pushing as hard as we could. That was my most satisfying experience of my life so far in racing. He's the fastest guy in the world in a GT3. He came back and goes, "you know I was risking my life, eh?" And I went, "okay". Anywhere else it would be 3-4 seconds between us, but it was my home circuit. [continued below]
Biggest misconception of my job
That I'm being paid to do it! I pay to do it, along with every other gentleman driver in the world. It's more of a hobby than a job – basically, gentleman drivers like me who are quick enough are paying for and sponsoring the other endurance drivers to drive. The real pros. The biggest misconception about endurance racing is that the pro drivers are making the difference. They're not: they're within two-tenth, three-tenth of each other per lap. The gentlemen drivers are the ones that win or lose the race, because there can be two or three seconds between us. That's where the races are won or lost.
What's your favourite Ferrari?
That's so easy – I just took delivery of my LaFerrari Aperta. It's the most mind-blowing car I've ever driven in my entire life. It's even more exciting than driving any of the race cars. This is the most incredible car for any money in the world, in my opinion. I've driven most of them – it's just crazy. I'm sitting in it right this second!
Favourite race track?
Hungary. Because I'm really quick there and I enjoy it so much and I have a connection to it, emotionally and otherwise. I also really like Misano, I like Mugello – there are a lot of circuits I really like but Budapest is my favourite.
Tips for getting into racing?
The biggest problem with racing is that it's not like a bicycle: you can lose it so quickly. You have to do it consistently, you've got to be in a race car once or twice a month or you will lose it. It's not a skill you keep. You've got muscle memory, and you will get it back, but if you're not in a race car for two months you'll be way slower. That's how quickly you lose it. The longer you're out, the worse it gets.
What was it like flying a MiG-29?
That's the only thing that tops being in a race car. The feeling is indescribable in terms of the Gs and how quickly you can put those type of forces on your body. In an F1 car under hard breaking, I think you reaching about six Gs. If you can imagine, over eight Gs, or even nine Gs, stay for ten seconds at a time, watching your field of view blacken as a cone. The rest of peripheral vision becomes black and you can just see out of the cone. If you can imagine a fighter pilot dealing with that all the time in a dog fight, for me it's just indescribable. I can't even tell you the type of physical fitness required for that. To be a fighter pilot, it's just a much higher level of play and of risk than an F1 driver. [continued below]
Tell us about your new team...
My brother and I both ordered Challenge cars, so we're going to be participating in the 2017 Ferrari Challenge. We're running the team, but it's like F1, we're still racing against each other. Obviously we'll cooperate within the limits of the rules, but there isn't much cooperation you can do. You can't really collude in racing. David, my brother, is developing as a driver quicker than I was. He retains information, once he learns something he doesn't unlearn it. I think he'll be a more consistent driver than me but maybe not as quick. I thought it would be great if the two of us as brothers have our own racing team, and try and make a business out of it.
What makes you so quick?
Just practice. I think anyone can be quick. If you have the most basic skills of spacial awareness and the ability to feel the car moving around under you. There's a lot of guys like that, probably millions of people in the world. All that matters at the end of the day is how many laps you've got in the car. There's nothing that makes me special beyond anybody. As long as you have the consistency, the drive and the will to do it, almost anybody really can race. You just have to do the time.
Plans for the future?
There's this company called XCOR that's doing testing on suborbital flights and I'd like to be one of the first guys who goes to space in that programme. It's more exciting than Richard Branson's programme: XCOR is just you and the pilot, you go up together and it's more of a personal experience. My other goal is to race in Le Mans in the Pro-Am category, but that's at least 5-7 years away. I'm not quick enough to do that yet, that's for sure.
What would you do if you weren't driving?
I'd just be working on developing my companies, more and more. As a hobby, I'd get my pilot's licence and probably get a small plane, learn how to do some acrobatic flying. Gotta get the adrenaline somewhere!
Any piece of gear you can't get into the car without?
I don't drive without my Daytona. If I'm flying, then it's the Sky-Dweller. I went 22km above the Earth with it, so I always wear that when I fly.