Ash Miller recently spoke with prominent F1 and motorsport blogging ace Grace Cunningham; here’s what went on!
Ambition, passion, commitment, determination and a little bit of unique flair will get you a long way in the Motorsport Industry and I have interviewed one driver holds all of those personality traits.You may already have heard his name, seen him on the TV or read his tweets but now is the time to make yourself acquainted as he launches his attack on the British Motorsport scene for the 2012 season. Let me introduce you to Aussie driver Ash Miller who has come a long way since his dad said ‘Lets See How You Do Son’.
Hi Ash, Lets take you right back to the beginning; What first attracted you into motor racing and how did you develop to begin racing seriously?
Racing is something that I’ve always had an attraction to, ever since I was a child. I think it was probably being in the passenger seat of my Dad’s BMW 635CSi, being taken around Lakeside Raceway north of Brisbane that sealed my ambitions, though.
At 6 years old it was my first taste of motorsport, and I was hooked straight away. I remember watching the 1995 European GP on the TV, watching Damon Hill and Schumacher duel for the title, and I just ate it up. It was then I began to really study it, and find out what it was all about. I pestered my Dad for years to get a kart! I finally convinced him when a family friend presented a karting package for a good price, and my first year of racing was in 2000; a kind of, “let’s see how you do son”. My first season was competitive and very nearly broke through for my first win in my first year against very quick guys. From then on, racing was a given.
Your first major championship was the Mazda MX5 when in 2009 you had your first break so to speak, how was that experience for you?
It was in equal parts gratification of self belief, and a relief to see all the hard work come to fruition. It was a tough season, and to come to the end of it not only winning the MX5 title but also the Production Sports title, it galvanised the efforts from myself and my team to prove we had what it took to win.
2010 saw you enter the CUE One Hour Endurance Series, what attracted you to the endurance side of racing?
Endurance racing presents a unique challenge; having done sprint races all my career, it was a new type of challenge, and one that required a step up in all areas to get the most out of my driving. I find pushing my limits, not only in a physical capacity but also mental, a really addictive thing, and to maintain a clear mind and concentration during a longer race is much more rewarding when you pull through for a good result. You give more, and you find more in yourself to deliver. That’s probably the succinct response!
And then a big move for you in 2011 as you got involved with the AirAsia Renault Series for the final round. What were the main differences for you racing in the UK compared to Australia?
The UK is recognised as the home of the toughest racing competition, and that was the first thing that really stood out. Where in Australia, the top, say, five percent are of a genuinely excellent standard, here in the UK, the top 70 percent are, and you really find yourself delving to new levels to find more. The competition in the UK is fierce, and fair, and the Clio Cup was a brilliant introduction to UK racing. I’d rate those races as some of the best, as it took so much more to get a good result, and it was rewarding to deliver when faced with that new challenge.
2012 arrives and you decide to move to the UK to further your experience in the Renault Series championship. You must really value the series to swap the Aussie sunshine for the British weather?
If weather were able to be posted, I think I’d send my parents broke demanding sunshine! The weather hasn’t been great, I’ve spent plenty of time cursing being sodden. Generally though, you don’t notice the weather, and you acclimatise as you would anywhere! Luckily I love racing in the wet so I’ve found the right place! The series, though, is one of the best tin top series there is globally right now, particularly as a feeder series to bigger things. The quality of the racing is immense, and it shows with the success rate of the drivers. Many Clio Cup graduates have gone on to bigger things, the BTCC for one has a big influx of Clio drivers. It has easily the best advertising package in the UK as well for a feeder series, so it was a fairly easy choice to want to get into it. It was fairly lucky, actually, to end up living where I’m living and having a bunch of amazing people around for support. I’ve ended up roping in a couple of fellow Aussies that are here either racing themselves or doing management, so there’s a very solid place to base here, and all by some swift work and chance!
Talking of the British weather you must have been rooting for Mark Webber when he won the British Grand Prix last weekend?
Naturally! I happened to make it to the track for Friday practice, and I can tell you that was one of the times I’ve complained about being sodden! Luckily the UK gods were kind on the Sunday though, and Mark raced an excellent race, on a very good strategy. Watching it from a Walkabout pub in London seemed to be a fitting place to end up!
Turning our attention back to you, what is coming up for you this season?
There are alot of things in the pipeline at the moment; I’m working out of sight to piece together my resources and get back out there again. Finances are tough to find, but you don’t even give a thought to giving up. I’m confident of some running later in the year, testing and development work should be on the cards, just so long as there’s still track time and still running. One step at a time, basically, and in the mean time continue training hard and keep the focus.
I recently saw that you ran the London 10K for KSS Air Ambulance (one of your sponsors), how else do you keep fit in able to be at your peak fitness for racing?
The London 10k was brilliant, and it was a great chance to continue supporting and aligning with the KSSAA; they’re an incredible charity with great guys and girls doing a superhuman job, and any chance there is to support them I’ll jump at, and there’s no limit to the support others can offer to. The running is one of the means to keep fit; usually I train for 2 or 3 hours a day, one morning and one afternoon session to keep on top of things, and practice the Irish Dancing, which keeps you very fit! I love my fitness to whether it be running, swimming, skipping or generally any other activity I’m pretty much constantly moving!
You mentioned Irish Dancing there and I’ve seen that you are also a 4 time Australian Champion at Irish Dancing. What made you choose a racing career over dancing and do you feel your dancing ability aids your motor sporting career?
It’s not exactly related is it! Dancing was something that I did from childhood, that I loved and still love today. The obvious things, like the physical fitness and mental attitude are carry over things that dancing has definitely helped with, and I’ve never struggled with fitness for racing. One thing the dancing has really instilled in me though is the mentality to continue pushing, and keep on breaking through the pain barriers to reach a goal. Dancing quickly teaches you that if you don’t push yourself beyond what your mind’s limits tell you, you don’t achieve your peak, and that’s stuck with me to this day, to never give up and never stop pushing.
In terms of the career, I’d been dancing for 15 years competitively, and after some amazing results with the dancing, I felt it was time to call the dancing career into retirement; both the dancing and the racing existed at the same time, although it was as the results starting coming with the racing that I began to switch my focus. After going as high as 11th in the world for my dancing, as well as being on tour and going professional with the dancing troupe Gaelforce Dance all over Europe, I felt that with full time work and a developing racing career burgeoning, I’d done all I ever wanted to with the dancing.
And Finally what is your dream goal and how can people help to support you as you carry out your career?
My dream goal, is, quite basically, to establish myself as a professional racing driver, and be able to make a living delivering results to teams that believe in my results and my talent. I put a huge emphasis on professionalism and delivering results to the full, and my goal is to win at the highest level, and be able to live my life doing that, all my life. Le Mans, and endurance racing, is where I see myself, and GT racing as well; there’s just something about it that I adore.
There are so many corporate and advertising opportunities that I’ve managed to open up, uniquely, through working hard and connections made that would guarantee a business’s and supporters a great way into the UK and European advertising circle.
I’d love to thank and acknowledge 3rd Space, Spader Clothing, Visions2Go Management, Leanne Grieve, Olly Rae, SportStock.co.uk, WIN Trading Signals, 5G Creative and many others for the great support and backing!
So now you know who Ash is and what he’s about why not head over to his twitter and give him a follow at @_ashmiller .
Here on my blog we will be keeping up to date with Ash as he continues on his challenge to succeed in motorsport but also give his website a look at; there is some great content on there to view including videos like this… .
I would just like to thank Ash for speaking to me about his past, present and future and I look forward to reporting more on his exciting potential in the near future.