By day he sells Caterhams from his family dealership in Germany. But come the weekend he races them in the UK. Meet Lars Hoffmann, this year’s Motul Caterham Seven 270R Championship winner.
Congratulations on your success this year, Lars. You made an incredible come back in that last race of the season
To be honest with you, I didn’t expect to be able to win the championship this year. Unfortunately, I had a puncture before the last race weekend, and that meant I picked up zero points. So, I was coming into the last race weekend at Snetterton fourth in the championship. I really didn’t expect to be able to win but I had a good race and it paid off.
That’s all the more impressive considering this is only your third season. How did you get into Caterham racing?
Yes, this is my third year. I started in the Caterham Academy (finishing runner-up in his debut year). The Caterham Academy is a motorsport programme that’s like a ladder into motorsport. You buy a car and upgrade it each year as you progress through the ranks. I got into Caterham racing because we own a Caterham dealership in Germany. My dad has raced in the Europe Cup in 2007 and 2008 and he was European champion twice.
What is it you like about racing in the UK?
It’s a very competitive field there and the racing is much better than France or Germany at a national level, for instance. I love the tracks in the UK as well. The competition is really hard, and this pushes me. We travel from Germany to the UK to compete, but testing is difficult because of the cost and the distance to travel, so we only have one possibility to test the day before the race weekend. That makes it very difficult. To help, I have a driver coach, Jon Barnes, the former British GT champion, who helps me build my technique.
What’s your connection with Motul?
As well as the Caterham dealership, we also have a service workshop in Germany for Land Rover, and as part of that, we’ve been Motul partners for more than 10 years. It’s been a great relationship. Our success in racing is important for us. As the old saying goes, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. We like Motul. It’s authentic. It’s more than a brand, it’s the people behind it. We know the people in Motul Germany really well and everybody really helps us. For me, it’s not important to have the cheapest products but to have great relationships with my partners.
What’s next? Are you going to move up a class?
Yes, we’ll move up to the Caterham 310R championship, the next step on the motorsport ladder, and our target is to win it. Eventually, we’d like to compete in the 420R. The dream for any race driver is to keep stepping up in their career.