Andy Lee drives the No. 20 BestIT Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the GTS class. He currently sits 12th overall in the Drivers’ Championship. Lee received the Jim Cook Memorial Trophy last season. The trophy is presented at season’s end to the driver who has made significant contributions to the overall success of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships through promotional activities and a consistent display of good character and sportsmanship. Lee was also the 2012 GTS Rookie of the Year.
How did you get into racing?
I suppose it all started for me when I took a job as a entry level mechanic at the Bondurant School. After a few years I became a shifter kart instructor and started racing go karts. Everything snowballed from there.
Do you have any superstitions?
I only have one really. I can’t set my helmet down on the ground. The crew is always annoyed when I remind them not to set my helmet on the floor.
Favorite North American track and why?
I always have a hard time narrowing it down to one track, but since I’ve entered PWC I have become a huge fan of the street races! Long Beach, Belle Isle, and St.Pete are all great places to race. Out of those three tracks I’d say turns 12 and 13 at Belle Isle demand my highest focus. It’s very narrow and fast with no room for errors!
Tell us something that fans may not know about you.
I’m a basketball fan and I played a little in high school. One of my favorite ways to train and work out is playing basketball. It’s fast paced and demands accuracy and focus. I feel like it really benefits my racing efforts!
As a race car driver, how do you manage fear, or does fear even enter
your mind before you strap into a race car?
People ask me this a lot. I’m almost never worried about getting hurt, but I do fear damaging the car. It’s really difficult calling a sponsor after a wreck. You now have to ask for more funding and your sponsors exposure suffers. The only time I ever worried about injuries was when I raced go-karts. There’s nothing like a national kart race with 40 karts pouring into one turn with nothing around you but a helmet.
Are race car drivers born or made?
I think some are born with talent and some are born with drive. I’m in the later group. I never considered myself a natural, but I am very driven. I drive almost everyday and after years of practice I was able to become a contender.
What fuels your desire to race cars?
From a very young age I wanted to become a race driver. What seven-year-old kid doesn’t want to be a race driver!? I didn’t get a chance to race until I was almost 21. Throughout all those years I was determined to find a way to compete and what fueled me the most is when people told me I couldn’t do it. To this day, my biggest desire is to become one of the best and prove people wrong.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who aspires to become a
race car driver?
One of my favorite writers/sports journalist, Bill Simmons, was asked something similar. He said “My advice is there is no advice.” There is no clear cut way to become a race driver. If you want it enough you’ll find a way. You just can’t give up.
As a professional race car driver, what’s your pet peeve driving on
People that do exactly the speed limit everywhere they go! Come on live a little! At least go 5mph over the limit it won’t kill you!
What’s the strangest thing, or place etc. that you’ve been asked for
an autograph or to autograph?
Back in 2012 after my first PWC podium finish in St.Pete. We went to dinner and the owner of the restaurant asked me to sign a baseball. Then asked for a photo of me with him and the baseball to hang on the restaurant wall. I bet most people who see that picture think I’m a little league baseball player! Hahaha!