EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ash Miller talks racing, dancing…and Hamilton’s move to Mercedes

Ash in action at Brands Hatch

From Brisbane to Brands Hatch, racing driver Ash Miller has been around for a while now. He may not be a household name, but his commitment to and achievements in motor racing to date – not to mention his talents outside of the sport – is something to be admired.

By the age of six, Miller was already pestering his Father for a kart, telling him he was “holding up” his Formula One career. In 2000, his Father was presented with an affordable package and Miller’s karting career was underway. It started off as a hobby and “a bit of a reward for doing well in school”.

After five years, Miller drew a line under his karting days at the state championships in 2005, which he describes as a “pivotal point”.

“We had such a terrible race meeting in terms of results, everything went wrong. It culminated with me being taken out deliberately about five laps into a fairly long final. It was the tipping point, I guess.”

Frustrated by the politics involved, Miller turned to car racing, which was he says was an “interesting” transition.

“Everything happens a lot slower in a car than a go kart. The first time in a car was quite easy compared to the go karting because with go karting everything is so fast paced and everything is on edge, everything happens a lot quicker.

“When the back end starts to come out (in a car) you can feel it almost before it’s happening, whereas in a go kart as the back end comes out it’s out before you know it.”

2009 saw Miller break through, claiming several victories and sealing both the Production Sports and the Mazda MX5 Queensland Championships.

The following year Miller raced undefeated, winning every round of the 2010 CUE One Hour Endurance Series for class 2E – by over a minute, on some occasions – sealing the Mazda MX5 National Title in between. The challenge of endurance racing was an altogether different challenge, though.

“Initially when we were doing car racing it was club meetings and sprint meetings and trying to get the experience up.

“We did the first round in the CUE One Hour Endurance championship because it was local. I co-drove with the son of the guy who engineered my car.

“I loved the amount of track time we got, because a driver is never going to say ‘no’ to more track time and I just really enjoyed the challenge, really enjoyed the strategy, the thrill of not just going ballistic.

“It was definitely a step up.”

Outside of motor sport, Miller is a qualified journalist. He started out writing for a national karting magazine in Australia. When the subject of payment came up, however, Miller realised he would have to gain a qualification and he subsequently obtained a degree in journalism.

Now he works on a freelance basis covering touring cars for Motor Sport News and says he would “love” to try his hand at commentating. Training as a journalist, though, has benefited him as a racing driver, he says.

“It’s helped out an awful lot with the motor sport, as a lot of the guys behind the wheel don’t really know how to deal with the media and we need to work with the media to get the most out of it.

“So being on both sides of the fence, it’s given me a real appreciation of both elements.”

Like his fellow countryman Mark Webber did in the mid-90s, last year Miller moved over to the UK to race.

Driving Druids at Brands

His first taste of competition was meant to be the Britcar 24 hour race. But two weeks before he was due to fly out the team had an accident with the car and he was out of the race before he had even turned a wheel.

Fortunately, GT3 driver James Walker – who has provided a lot of managerial support in finding drives – was on hand and helped secure him a drive in the final Renault Clio Cup race of 2011 at Brands Hatch, which he describes as “proper competition and the real deal.”

At this point, it dawned on Miller that he had to make a sacrifice with another of his exploits out of racing.

Long since he took up racing, Miller has been a dancer. He is four times an Australian Irish Dance Champion and he climbed the professional ranks, finishing 11th in the 2007 World Championships.

However he was faced with a “water shed moment” last year when the Clio Cup round clashed with the Irish national dancing championships and he realised he could only do one or the other.

After an impressive debut in the final Renault Clio Cup race of 2011 at Brands Hatch, Miller returned to the UK this year ready to race.

Disappointingly, the 2012 season didn’t materialise as expected.

“When I planned the move here I was in a good position with funding and I had a contact in Australia who was going to help me get started in the championship with the Clios this year. Things were looking good.

“But not long from flying out, his position changed and the funding was not withstanding, as happens. With a lot of the financial turmoil that’s happening, it’s unpredictable at the best of times.

“So I still went ahead with the move over here and used 2012 as a building block to make contacts for next year, put something in place and really be able to structure it properly so we can go into 2013 knowing exactly where we stand.”

“As much as it has been frustrating (not racing in 2012), I came over here knowing what a challenge it was going to be and throughout everything I’ve done in my life I’ve always reveled the challenge and believe that nothing is ever worth doing if it’s going to be easy.

“This has probably been the hardest challenge that I’ve had to face in my racing career. But you wake up every morning with a positive attitude and still with the belief that with every day that comes, you get a bit closer to the goal.”

While 2012 has been a frustrating year on the side lines – with the some kart endurance racing and the Karun Chandhok charity karting festival providing him the only chance to compete – Miller says he is “about 70 or 80 per cent confident” he’ll be racing in 2013.

I asked Ash how the motor sport scene in the UK compares to that of the Australia and whether it’s easier to get noticed.

“Absolutely”, he says. “Motorsport over here in the UK is still a very viable means of both marketing and it’s part of culture – much deeper ingrained in culture, from a grass roots level all the way up to professional level than it is in Australia.

“In Australia you’ve got this massive gap between grass roots motor sport and professional. The guys who make it to super cars have done because they have a lot of backing and that’s what the drivers coming up through the ranks in Australia are facing.

“The cost of a national Formula Ford season in Australia is another 30 to 40 per cent more expensive there than it is over here.

“And the coverage over here is much better for motor sport generally. You’ve got channels like ITV4 which run the British Touring Cars. That’s something that was really attractive for the Clio Cup is the package that you’ve got to be noticed with on television. You don’t get that in Australia.

“The Clio Cup is immensely popular with the fans. The fans go to see the support classes as much as the main event, whereas in Australia everyone’s there for the V8 Supercars and ignores everything else.”

On the current state of play in Formula One, Miller says it’s a “sad thing” that his fellow countryman Mark Webber “seems to have been trumped by this up-and-coming young star year after year” but if he were to bet on the outcome of this year’s World Championship he would “put it on Vettel.”

“I think Alonso’s faced with a harder and harder challenge and you can’t fault him for his determination.

“If there was a race for persistence then I think Vettel would fall for Alonso – he’s always there or there abouts.

“Korea 2010 was the pivotal moment where Mark might have ended up letting it slip out of his grasp. From a country man’s perspective, I’d love to say that he’s got a shot at the title for the next ten years, but from a realistic point of view as long as Vettel’s in the game I think he’s going to have a very tough time.”

“You hear a lot of people say about when Schumacher was dominant how boring Formula One was, but I think those who watch it don’t realise how much history is being made here.”

But what does he make of Lewis Hamilton’s switch from Mclaren to Mercedes?

“From a purist’s perspective and from a driver’s perspective, if your driving becomes a little bit stale and you start looking for a fresh challenge, you’re not one hundred per cent committed to the job at that team.

“From a results perspective it probably isn’t the smartest move but from a personal perspective, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Hamilton’s looking for a new challenge.

“He’s still discovering himself as a man, as well, he’s still finding out what makes him tick. Growing up in the eye of the world in Formula One you don’t exactly get every opportunity to discover who you are.”

“The one thing he (Hamilton) does have up his sleeve is Mercedes’ budget. They’re committed to Formula One which he doesn’t have to worry about.

“This is speculating, but I think where Hamilton may succeed where Schumacher has failed is the fact that Schumacher was very much at the twilight of his career. Hamilton is still eager and hungry…but he doesn’t seem to have the steely mental confidence that Schumacher had.”

As for his own future, Miller says his focus is very much on securing a drive in the Renault Clio Cup next season and his ultimate goal is Le Mans – although he “wouldn’t turn down a Formula One drive.”

Would anyone?

6 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ash Miller talks racing, dancing…and Hamilton’s move to Mercedes

  1. type 1 diabetes

    Woah this weblog is excellent i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, a lot of individuals are hunting round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  2. בניית אתרים

    I have been surfing online greater than 3 hours lately, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It’s beautiful worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the internet shall be much more useful than ever before.

  3. Darryl Cullens

    Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

  4. gingers

    I do consider all the concepts you’ve presented in your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for beginners. May you please extend them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  5. ex back

    Hi there, I discovered your blog by means of Google even as searching for a related matter, your web site got here up, it seems to be great. I’ve bookmarked to favourites|added to my bookmarks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s