Ian Flux is a motorsport legend. If it had four wheels and an engine, chances are he’d get a podium finish against all the odds. Flux was no boring robodriver he embraced everything that racing success could offer both on and off the track. Cheeky, but always professional, Ian has driven classics, single seaters, touring cars and endurance racers with championship cups to prove it. They don’t make Ian Flux’s anymore, but at least he has written a book recalling how he did it with beer, fags and opposite lock.
How did ‘For Flux Sake’ come about?
I had always thought for years about writing a book and done absolutely nothing about it. Then on February 2021 I got a call from Eric Verdon Roe (Chairman of Evro Publishing) and he said “Fluxie, we would like you to do a book, we will pay you some money and you are going to do it with Matt James.” I thought it was one of my mates taking the piss, I just didn’t believe what I was hearing. So I put the phone down on him. But it was all true. Mind you, there is a lot of stories on the cutting room floor, ‘Oh no you can’t put that in there’ was said quite a few times.
What do you want readers to get from it?
My objective was to make a book that was a bit about racing but also be read by people who don’t usually follow the sport. I did not want to just list lap times and results. I told Eric that I wanted to put the rent boy and abuse in there as it is the background. You need to be able to speak to your mum and dad which I couldn’t, don’t let this happen to you.
It seems that you have never really worked for a living.
I was very very lucky to have forty nine years of racing that I absolutely loved every single minute, well most of them, just a few exceptions, on the whole just to end up doing something that you loved as a kid. As I have always said to my two grown up kids, if you hate the sound of the alarm clock going off in the morning just change your job. Nothing worse than doing something you hate and everyone is good at something and you are just lucky if you find what you are good at.
What makes a great racing driver?
When not racing I have done lots of manufacturer demonstration days. So over the years I have sat next to over 20,000 people. Within about 200 yards I may not be able to tell whether they would make a great racing driver, but certainly whether they could drive or not. To prove a point, I would like to get some top drivers together like my mates, Tiff Needell (who writes a great introduction to Ian’s book and had the first For Flux’s Sake stickers made for Ian’s helmet ) and Tim Harvey and get our blood tested to see if there is one blot of our DNA that we have in common. So rather than some rich waste millions of pounds getting his son into Formula 3, simply use the Ian Flux testing kit for just a couple of hundred grand to find out if it would be worth it.
You bring up money a lot in For Flux Sake
I was very lucky to be paid, I never earned a fortune as you can see through the figures in the book, but I earned enough to bring up my two kids and still do something that I loved.
For Flux Sake does not contain a lot of crashes, why is that?
I didn’t crash much because up until 2000 most of my earnings was through prize money. Invariably you would get a small amount to cover your expenses and a 50% share of the prize money with the people who owned the car. Prize money was usually first to sixth, the greater part being first, second and third. I learnt very early on that it was still better to finish fifth, and get a half share of £200 than it was to crash. So if push came to shove in a tight area I would always back off if I felt that there was a chance of a crash. Learning when to back out is a very important part of race craft.
You raced a wide variety of cars in different classes was that by choice?
All the young drivers I have worked with I’ve told them to take advantage of any opportunity to drive other racing cars, it will broaden your knowledge of how a car should feel. Otherwise you have no idea of what is really going on. I was employed as a tester was because the the team knew I had four hundred cars worth of information already in my head. That ‘s why people liked having me sorting out their cars.
The best car you raced?
A Can Am Lola T530 that I raced in 1987 and ‘88. I didn’t realise it at the time, but that was the best, fun, most exciting and satisfying racing car. I was also lucky enough to drive Schumacher’s 2004 championship winning Ferrari on a test day at Donington. Also the great thing about moving between different cars and doing evaluation work for car magazines is that I got to meet lots of people involved in different disciplines like grass track, stock cars which really broadened my horizons and I made long term friends as a result.
Are you part of a dying breed?
Sadly that is probably the case it is unlikely that there will ever be another Tiff, David Leslie, or Tony Lanfranchi. I was with some young lads from Ireland who had been doing a little bit of karting and I said to their dad, these two boys will never have the opportunities that I had at 17. There is nobody around to give you a break because absolutely everything is about money now. A big thank you to my parents who had sex that night and produced me when they did. If I had arrived 20 years later it would have too late. I was so lucky to have been around at the right time.
What’s next for Ian Flux?
I was chatting to Tim Harvey about this yesterday, because we have both retired. Even though Tim still does his brilliant BTCC commentary, but both of us though are thoroughly enjoying retirement. Because you don’t realise till the day stop what a weight is always on your shoulders. Where is the next drive coming from? I need to win the next round to keep my championship hopes alive, it is huge pressure all the time. When you stop you say, oh this is fucking nice!
Order the brilliant book here: https://www.evropublishing.com/collections/motorsport-books/products/for-flux-sake
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