2018 was a busy year for Nick Yelloly, simulator driver for Racing Point Force India F1 team, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup driver with the FACH AUTO TECH squad where he took on the reigning champion and chased to the end of the year, rounding out the championship as vice-champion.
Looking back over the 2018 season Yelloly took two victories, the first was on the second race of the schedule around the iconic streets of Monte-Carlo, tasting victory in front of the rich and famous elite, a second victory would come at the Hockenheimring before rounding out the year in Mexico in second place.
A steady performance throughout the rest of the year saw Yelloly never out of the top-five in the field of thirty strong competitors, carrying the Solihull driver to second in the championship.
“My favourite circuits are Monaco and Silverstone,” explains Yelloly. “The thing that makes Monaco so special is the fact that you can only drive there as part of the Formula 1 race weekend.”
“Silverstone is my home circuit. I know the track like the back of my hand and love fast circuits. Spa-Francorchamps and the Autodromo Nazionale Monza are another two fast tracks.”
‘Life revolves around motorsport’
Outside of driving in the Supercup Yelloly is a busy man, “Even when I’m not racing, my life still revolves around motorsport. My main job is to drive the Formula 1 simulator for Racing Point Force India.
“It can be quite bizarre sometimes: During the week, I am in the simulator developing a Formula 1 car. At the weekend, I get into a Porsche Cup car and go racing. That is quite a switch each time, but I have coped with it really well so far.
Yelloly has been involved with the F1 team since 2014 and aside from the simulator duties, had a chance to drive the 2015 car at the May Barcelona test.
“I sit in front of big screens and try out various set-up options.” Yelloly explains of his simulator duties, “Preparations for the next Formula 1 race weekend are made in the simulator.
“You can find yourself doing two back-to-back race sessions in a day – that is 100 to 150 laps. That requires a huge amount of concentration. It is usually about ten hours per day, so I would be ready for any endurance races.”
Endurance races are the ultimate goal for the Brit, one that he came agonisingly close to achieving last year, “One of my dreams is to drive at the 24-hour race in Le Mans. Unfortunately, I missed out at the last minute last year.
“It would be fantastic to race in FIA WEC. I know I must first produce results in order to make that possible, but I love pressure.”
The nature of the simulator work and the long hours alongside the racing means having to stay at the top of the game in terms of fitness.
“I like to go for a run or a ride in the evening,” says Yelloly. “My goal is actually to spend ten hours a week on my bike – exercise is very important.
“Furthermore, it loosens up my legs. You often push about 100 kilograms when braking in the simulator.
“This is the case in turn one at the Bahrain International Circuit, for example. I am normally in the simulator three days a week.
The importance of family and friends
While it is clear that motorsport is important for Yelloly, family is also important, “My father tries to attend the races as often as possible.
“My girlfriend Emma is really supportive and comes to as many races as she can through the year to support me, too. The Silverstone Circuit is only about 40 minutes from home, so my family was there.”
Outside of family, Yelloly is good friends with Hans-Bernd Kamps from Project 1, the team that gave him an opportunity to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and his first chance in the Supercup.
“He has had a big influence on my career so far. We are good friends,” adds Yelloly.
Aside from family and friends, Yelloly has strong support from his sponsors and partners, which extends further than just seeing their name on his car and race suit.
“WIS International, Prosperity, and ALB Group are my biggest partners. It is great to have so much support.
“Without them, I would not be sat in a racing car. I am very grateful to anyone who supports me in my career and always try to give them something back. I gave the boss one of my partners some coaching in his Porsche 911 GT3.”
For 2019, Yelloly has the world at his feet, he will be continuing with his simulator duties and while his racing plans have yet to be announced for the season ahead, maybe those endurance race dreams aren’t that far away…