We speak with a young and talented Norwegian racing driver Tommy Østgaard, who has a very clear goal of becoming World Champion.
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Full name: Tommy Østgaard
Date of birth: 8th of March, 1993
Place of birth: Oslo, Norway
What was your very first experience of motor racing?
I used to go with my dad to a remote-controlled car track as a child and watch him race there. I got my own remote-controlled car when I was 3 years old, and that’s how it all started. My father was looking at the Norwegian karting website when I was 6 years old, and I remember telling him: “When I get old, I’m going to race those.” Two years later, I received my first go-kart and started racing in both Norway and Sweden.
How did you finance your early years?
My father used to race in karting, bikes, rally, drag racing, and so on. He ran his own garage, having the mechanical skills and experience to get me running in karts when I was 8 years old. We were always on a family budget, but we were still fighting for top positions some years on.
I think racing on cheaper equipment made me a better driver in the end, as I always had to give it my absolute best to be anywhere near the front. When I was 15, we got an offer to rent a car for free in the only Norwegian single-seater category, but only if we rebuilt the car from scratch. We only had a frame of the car and some old parts available and put it together with the best way we could with the parts we had available.
You should never believe that you’ve reached your limit. There are no limits, only the ones you set yourself.
One of the biggest challenges for every driver is to attract sponsorship. What are your recipe for success?
My recipe is simple: networking, being multi-skilled and performing once you are on track. Being able to help a company in more than just giving them a marketing opportunity is what has gotten me my sponsorship money. It’s all about making your sponsors earn more money, and get things they cannot get without sponsoring you. I have also worked hard on creating a brand for myself.
How do you deal with the competition on the track?
I have always truly believed that second place is the first loser, and I am never truly satisfied unless I win. Even when I win, I work on improving myself, as one can never stop improving. You should never believe that you’ve reached your limit. There are no limits, only the ones you set yourself.
What are your most important career highlights?
It must be the 2011 season, where we upgraded to a competitive engine in the Norwegian Formula Basic championship. After having a fuel tank issue in the first race of the year, I finished the remaining 18 races on the podium, winning 10 of them. That was the first time I was able to prove my skills, and that is how my career really started to progress.