DSC Member: Tim Paul's Got the Need for Speed

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Tim Paul grew up racing. While the rest of us were still playing with matchbox cars, nine-year old Tim was speeding a go-kart around a dirt track outside of New York City. Working his way up the ladder from sprint cars to midgets, and all the way to the open-wheel F2000 championship, he’s still making left turns more than 20 years later. Last year, Tim took on a new challenge, the Mazda MX-5 Cup, where he finished in the top 10 in points. Vroom!

On discovering racing as a passion: “My best friend in elementary school introduced me to it. I went to watch a race one day, and it was all downhill from there. Except for a small hiatus when I briefly decided I wanted to be a skateboarder in high school, racing has been central to my world.”

On the need for speed: “Driving fast is not an innate ability. At a competitive level it means overcoming insurmountable odds at the potential cost of your physical well-being. You know, living in the danger zone.”

On the difference between karting and driving a race car: “It’s like the difference between a bicycle and a motorcycle. A race car is just bigger, faster and more dangerous. That’s not to say kart’s aren’t—they’re more likely to hurt you in minor ways, like broken ribs and bruises. Cars are just more likely to kill or permanently maim you.”

On his favorite whip: “Open wheel cars, all day long. They are so visceral and naked. They don’t hide anything. You ask it to go, and it goes, regardless of whether or not it can be bad for you. There are no safety nets, no anti-lock brakes, no traction control, nothing to get in the way, or save you. Fast guys are fast and slow guys are slow.”

On taking a desk job: “I have held various nine-to-five’s in my life. I didn’t like them much, nor they me. Once I found a way to make money driving I ran away from that nonsense as fast as I could. Keep in mind, I was making quite a bit more in an office. Racing doesn’t pay well, but unlike other jobs, I’m passionate about it. As long as I can put food on the table I can deal with it.”

On car flicks: “I love the Fast and Furious franchise. I don’t care what that says about me, they’re fantastically fun movies. Bullitt and Vanishing Point are classics, and the Ryan Gosling movie Drive is good modern noir.”

On the differences between driving on the track versus driving on the road: “Racing has made me slower and more patient on the road. I drive like a parent with a minivan—on the way to soccer practice.”

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