Resuming our 10 questions series, we caught up with Ryan Yardley who piloted the No. 78 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3 last season in Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas). A New Zealander, Yardley moved to America in 2018 to learn from fellow Kiwi, Gary Orton. Expecting to just learn about working on cars, Yardley actually got the opportunity to climb in the cockpit last season, where he recorded seven podiums and a best finish of second at VIRginia International Raceway.
What topping absolutely never belongs on a pizza?
Ryan Yardley (RY): “Pineapple.”
Do you believe in luck?
RY: “I believe you make your own luck. Work hard, and luck should come to you.”
What emotions do you go through during a race?
RY: “A little bit of nerves before the race, but I think nerves are always good—it means you want it bad enough. Other than that, I’m normally pretty cool, calm and collected.”
If you were developing the next big social media platform, what would it be used for?
RY: “Good question. For me, living overseas and not seeing my friends and family regularly, perhaps something with video streaming. Something where the networks have less delays to make it easier when communicating from halfway across the world.”
How did you come up with your autograph?
RY: “To be honest, I think my autograph changes every time I sign something. I’m still getting that down. It seems a bit like a doctor’s scribble right now.”
How do you decompress after a tough race?
RY: “I listen to music; talk to my family back home. Obviously, there’s always the next race, so you can dwell on it a little bit just to know what mistakes you made and what you need to work on, but you’ve got to put it to the back of your mind pretty quick and focus forward.”
If you didn’t drive racecars for a living, what would you do?
RY: “I love the industry; I’m involved in the industry. Right now, I’m out here racing, too. For me, I’ll do whatever I can to be at a race track most weekends and work on race cars.”
Who in the paddock have you known the longest and how did you meet?
RY: “Definitely my team owners Gary [Orton] and Teena [Larsen]. I met Gary about 10 years ago when I was still quite young. He had a team in New Zealand, and my dad knew him a little bit—that’s how the relationship started. Then, in 2018, he invited me over here [to the United States]. It’s been a long relationship with Gary, and one that I’m pleased to have.”
That actually leads perfectly into my next question. Teena told me that you actually live with her and Gary when you’re stateside—what impact have they had, not only on your career, but on your life?
RY: “Yeah, I call Teena and Gary my American mom and dad. I live with them, travel with them, just do a lot with them. They gave me the opportunity to come over here in 2018, and what I’m doing now is really because of that initial contact and them bringing me here. I’m very lucky to have them as a support network and with everything they’ve done for me. I’d never be able to repay them enough, but any way I can, I try.”
I last spoke with Mac Clark and I asked him for a question to ask you. He wanted to know do you listen to music before you get in the car and if so, what kind of music do you like?
RY: “A little bit of house party music. Something nice and upbeat that gets you pumped up—something that I might listen to with my mates back home.”
Do you have a question that I can ask the next driver I interview? It will be Cooper Becklin.
RY: “Oh, I gotta think of a hard question for him. [Long pause while thinking.] Who’s his favorite teammate?”