I was intrigued by the Wind Tunnel interviews conducted by SpeedTV at the end of last year with the young American F3 driver, Michael Lewis. Asked about his recent test in the Ferrari F60 F1 car in Italy, Michael’s response was that of an enthusiastic Californian kid with no “side”; it was both refreshing and enticing. And so the questions began buzzing inside my head: from where did Michael Lewis emerge? What was his background? And – anyway – what was an American college kid doing in Italian F3 (and, in 2012, Euro F3)?
I spoke to him recently to find out. This will be a pivotal year for Michael Lewis; no doubt about that: the Euro F3 Championship has yet to begin. It will be tough and it will be difficult, even if it won’t be full of cars. I get the feeling, though, that Michael is going to be both a major force – and someone who is going to enjoy every foothold of every step of the Euromountain he has challenged himself to climb.
Inside Michael’s race bag:
“Always in my helmet bag I have a photo of my grandfather (Ben Chavez, who passed away when I was 15). In the picture he is standing next to me at a kart track (Moran Raceway, which is now closed). On the back of the photo is my famous, Michael Lewis, “California Soul” logo, which is always on my racing helmet (developed by KAOS-DESIGN.IT) and the Mac Miller “Thumbs Up Kid”, which is also on all of my helmets (Spa P1 is written there because that was the exact sticker that accompanied me when I won my first F3 race….in spa…in the wet).
“In addition, I have a set of dice, purchased from the Las Vegas Rio Casino, that have the text ‘Ben’s Casino’ (a way of commemorating my grandfather). The dice are significant, as my grandfather showed me the special way they are taped together: any opposite facing side adds up to the value seven.”
(Quantity: 2) Bell Carbon HP3 F1 helmets…provided by Bell, as they are my sponsor
(Quantity: 5) packs of Bell tear-offs
(Quantity: 6) visors, split between the two helmets….2 dark, 2 medium, 2 clear visors….basically I never use the clear visor. Even when it rains, I use the medium
(Quantity: 2) Sparco custom xlight racing suits…provided by Prema Powerteam
(Quantity: 2) Pairs of Sparco white leather racing boots
(Quantity: 3) sets of Nomex underwear…you can never have too much Nomex
(Quantity: 2) pairs of Sparco white gloves
(Quantity: 1) HANSdevice, white, painted by KAOS-DESIGN.IT
(Quantity: 1) drink bottle, gold, painted by KAOS-DESIGN.IT
(Quantity: 1) lunch box/bag full of vitamins, minerals, snack bars, etc. to keep me hydrated and fit whilst I drive during the day
(Quantity: 1) small portable fan, used when I am on the grid if it’s hot, and to dry out my helmet after races
(Quantity: 1) set of volleyball knee & elbow pads…..used if I ‘kneed’ a bit more than the standard padding applied in the car for comfort/less pain
(Quanitity: 3) sets of tennis racket grip…..putting it on the steering wheel for extra grip, and to make the steering diameter a bit larger for improved leverage to aid in turning
(Quantity: 1) canister of Mud-X helmet cleaner….it’s literally the best cleaner you can get
(Quantity: 1) Rain-x for improved visibility in rain conditions