Rio Haryanto: Living Life in the Fast Lane

Story By
Aditya Purwanto

The nation’s emissary in the speed force took a break from crushing the pedal to the metal and allowed InClover to take the chance to have a chat with him about things away from the race track.

 

It’s said that racing drivers start driving before they’re able to see over the steering wheel and this applies to Rio Haryanto. Rio won the Cadet Asean Kart Festival when he was only 8 years old and dominated the Asian stage in his youth. He next stepped into the European GP3 scene with Manor Racing and managed to score an impressive track record and podiums before stepping up his game to the GP2 series from 2011 to 2015 where he was famed for being a wet condition specialist.

 After a brief career in Formula One with Manor Racing which was partly caused by the collapse of the team’s parent company, Rio switched to racing touring cars in the 6-hour Audi R8 LMS Cup endurance race with two other fellow Indonesians and the three managed to finish in 5th position. Rio joined T2 Motorsports in 2019 and competed in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, driving a tuned-up Ferrari 488 GT3 and partnering with fellow Indonesian David Tjiptobiantoro, aiming for a spot and a trophy in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Now that we’re through the introductions, let’s grab a cup of coffee and have a chat with this passionate yet easy going fella.

♦ As a Solonese, how do the people of Solo behave on the roads? What is your advice for a non-Solonese driver to have a pleasant driving?

⇒ People of Solo behave quite politely and orderly on the roads. I advise to prioritize safe driving and to always use seat belts.

♦ Long ago, when you started racing cars, you probably had a list of important qualities within a race car driver. Is there anything new you’ve learned in your 12-year career that made you wish you’d known this since day one?

⇒ The thing I’ve learned as a professional race car driver is the importance of other matters outside racing such as media appearances for brand awareness to gain sponsorships.

♦ Is there any figure that inspires you in driving both on public roads and race tracks? If yes, in what way?

⇒ One figure who inspires me is Ayrton Senna. He influences me with the extraordinary dedication he showed on the race track.

♦ Whenever you’re behind the wheel, do people who happen to be in the car with you expect you to behave like a race car driver would on the race track? Is it easy to adjust yourself outside of racing situations?

⇒ Yes, sometimes a friend wants to see how it feels to be chauffeured around by a racing car driver but I don’t want to put anyone in a dangerous situation. And, of course I know how to limit myself on public roads.

♦ We peeked into your Instagram account and found out that you also like cycling and shooting. Which one do you enjoy most?

⇒ Of course, it’s racing because I’ve done that since I was 5 and a half years old but I cycle to keep my stamina up and to hang out with my friends.

♦ Which would you pick to go from Jakarta to Surabaya and back to Solo for a family dinner? T2 Motorsports’ Ferrari 488 GT3 or the Audi R8 GT4 from your 2018 Audi R8 LMS Cup?

⇒ The Ferrari 488 GT3 Motorsport. It’s an exceptionally high-performance car and also very stylish.

♦ Imagine one race day in your career, which one would you wish to relive and what would you do differently?

⇒ I wish I could relive my 2012 GP2 race in Belgium. I was leading the race then I made a big blunder that caused me to finish 10th.

♦ Do you display all of your trophies? Which one makes you proudest?

⇒ All of them where I finished first.