Interview with: Steve ‘Tufty’ Anderson (#120)

F1 recently caught up with one Matt Newson’s (16) hire car drivers Steve ‘Tufty’ Anderson (120).

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Steve Anderson 120 on his debut at Skegness. Photo Paul Tully

Hi Steve, have you raced anything before hiring the F1?

Yes, I’ve raced a few different formulas. I started with Bangers back in 1986 racing on the dirt tracks, then I moved into racing Spedeworth Bangers before taking a break in the mid 1990’s then came back in the early 2000’s to where we are today.

Have you managed to achieve many racing honours?

In a word No. I have never been very successful in race wins or championship titles. But I have got to race against some of the sport’s (Bangers) best drivers and been lucky enough to compete at some great meetings.

supplied by Steve Anderson

supplied by Steve Anderson

You say you’ve raced different formulas is that just the different classes of Bangers?

No, I also got into drag racing about 6yrs ago and raced for couple of seasons but funds just wouldn’t allow me to go in the direction I wanted so now I just crew when I have time.

Steve Anderson in his drag car. Photo courtesy of Steve Anderson

What attracted you to F1 Stockcars?

A good friend of mine raced bangers and F1’s so last year I made the mistake of going to watch an F1 meeting, 500bhp bangers it looked awesome!!!

Now that you have raced an F1 a couple of times (and not like a Banger, you were nice and tidy out there, and getting on a racing line. Well done) what would you consider to be the differences (apart from the obvious)?

The major difference I find between Bangers and F1’s is in Bangers you have a lot more opportunities to enjoy yourself in different ways; you can race to win, have the rarest car, go out to crash or a bit of all three! In F1’s it’s more about getting results, or getting the car set up to be the best it can be. The buzz for me in Bangers was taking all they could throw at you and still keeping your car moving. I believed I could never top that buzz until I entered the first corner at Skegness in Mat Newson’s hire car!

I have felt the kick in the stomach from a sub 3 sec 0-60 in a Drag Car, been involved in some massive crashes in the Bangers BUT I actually thought I was going to have a heart attack going into turn one at Skegness!! What a rush. I was horrified, had I wasted all these years NOT driving an F1 Stock Car sooner!

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Steve Anderson 120 on his debut at Skegness. Photo Colin Casserley

Sounds like you are hooked.

Difficult to say this early on, but I really, I mean really enjoy the challenge of driving an F1 Stock Car. They are no easy things to drive and very different to my ill-handling Banger. My Drag Car was great, but I soon got ‘used’ to it, but every lap in an F1 Stock Car is different from a driver’s point of view. It might look very much the same for the spectators, but it’s far from roundy-roundy when you are out there trying to deal with track changes and the cars handling subtly changing in what feels like every lap! AND then you have got to fill the track with the regular F1 Drivers out there to win.

There is often a ‘them and us’ attitude between F1’s and Bangers, does this really exist or is it just an overplayed myth?

There is very little difference in supporters they are both fanatical about their chosen formula, but I think the F1 fans just get the edge as they genuinely seem to want you to succeed and respect the fact that you are trying. The pit scenes are mirror images, the amount of help you get from other drivers and strangers is a credit to both sports. It doesn’t really happen in any other form of motorsport. People, if they are even allowed into the pits in most other forms of motorsport will stand and look at your racing damage but in Stock Cars whether it’s Bangers or F1 it’s amazing how people want to help you get back out on track. As a driver you’re amazed and thankful that a total stranger has helped; even if it’s just holding something for you, pointing something out, giving tech advice or those that roll under the car with spanners in hand. Best MotorSport in the world Stock Cars.

So are bangers and F1s that different? They both have great fans, both have a core of helpful and friendly people, both have sets of elite drivers that make it look very easy and both are very addictive. I look at F1s as exactly the reason I started racing, a driver’s sport where you need to beat the car, the track and the other drivers, nothing personal, just fun, and the bonus is you get to hear a V8 at 7000rpm.

Have you brought your preferred driving style into F1’s?

I can’t really comment on driving styles as I drive both the same, foot down, hang-on and hope you make the turn (laugh).

How was your experience of hiring and dealing with Matt Newson?

The whole Newson team make the whole experience totally painless while not making you feel like a complete dummy which I am (laugh).

If anyone watched Marcus Collins (427) at Skegness, he had an absolute ball, yes it costs, but don’t think he will ever forget that weekend.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about hiring a car and giving it a go?

I personally I think its the best way to enter racing, the cars are way more complex than you think so let someone else worry about that. Get in it, drive it and see what you think, then learn as much as you can. If you like it you can take the next step but I warn you, after a few goes walk away and stop there, because it will take over your life. And you’ll buy your own BriSCA F1 Stock Car (laugh).

Do you have any more drives booked? Or any plans in buying your own Car and racing more regularly? When will we next see you on track?

I have now bought a car from Matt Newson and hope to do all the Coventry meetings. Back out at Coventry July 2nd then most Coventry’s there after. You can keep all the money, trophies etc my only goal is for the other racers to know they have been in a race and for the crowd to enjoy it. I live to race and the only feeling close is when people watching enjoy it as much as me.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Steve Anderson 120 on his debut at Skegness. Photo Paul Tully

Now that you’ve raced on both Tar and Shale surfaces do you have a preference?

Its definitely shale for me, financially it makes sense to stick to one surface and also sideways is so much fun.

Bangers are known for what can appear as over-the-top contact, how does the contact you’ve experienced in an F1 compare?

It’s definitely different; the noise is incredible in an F1! With an F1 Stock Car I think you can ache following heavy contact or a crash whereas in a banger there is a good chance of getting sore as like you say it is full on no holds barred contact in Banger Racing, but the bonus is if you break down in an F1 Stock Car no one is going to try put your axle into the back of your head. There’s never really any ‘nice’ feeling regarding contact when it hurts, but when it does, it is in an addictive, part of the job kind of way.

Can you describe a driving in an F1?

Stock Cars are very strange, you get told how much horsepower they have so you drive them gingerly at first and its horrible, the cars just don’t work and feel awful to drive. Then you take them to the edge and they come to life! It’s like a well set up drag car, if its close to the edge its working perfectly. Mat’s dad has been teaching me, and his advice is turn, hit the brake hard then back on throttle and don’t come off line. Sounds easy……. The feeling before you brake at end of straight is amazing, my brain is telling me if this goes wrong this will hurt but I am laughing like a school kid. It’s very strange.

Thanks for your time Steve. All of here at F1 wish you every success in your Formula 1 Stock Car racing. And hopefully we’ll catch up with you again in the future for an update.

Not a problem, I’m always open for another interview. Cheers, call me Tufty.

Interview Stephen Cording June 2011.

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