This time in our ETS Family Interview, we speak to a popular character in the pits, Christopher Krapp. One of the best “non-full-time” racers in the Touring Car scene, let’s find out more about the German driver and how he can combine RC and his real job!
Hi Chrissi, and thanks for taking the time for this interview. As we’ve asked all the drivers so far, it’s strange time for the world right now, so how are you doing and is the family staying well?
Hello ETS family. Yes, it is a very strange and more importantly unpredictable time and a new situation for everyone around the globe. My family and me personally are very well right now and I hope this will stay the same for the coming days and months.
Let’s stay all positive to be able to get back to our normal life as soon as possible.
Some people might not know that you’re not a full time RC driver – so at the moment do you still have your normal job to go to? What is it like not having RC races on the schedule to break up the ‘day job’ at the moment?
That’s true, I am and I was never a real full time RC driver. The past two years I went back to university to improve my grade for my job commitments and in that time I had a lot of time for my RC-stuff, so it was kind of full time in that time. But last summer I finished my qualifications and went back to a regular job.
People are sometimes surprised when I tell them I am not a full time driver but that’s how it is. It is very strange not being able to race right now as it is normally my compensation from my “normal life”.
What do you do for your normal job then?
I am working for a company called “Nordluft”. We are a manufacturer for ventilation and heating systems. My job is to manage new projects and orders. Starting from figuring out what requirements the customers want and then calculate the system power and dimensions. Then try to produce the units and system as efficient as possible.
So, without racing, how do you keep yourself busy right now?
I have a wonderful girlfriend and we try to do as much as we can to keep ourselves busy. We have an apartment and a small garden and try to figure out new projects to work on.
Also I try to maintain my RC-stuff in that time now. I think everybody knows how messy a hobby room can get when there are a lot races and meetings. So enough time to prepare and keep everything organised.
Where in Germany do you live? Do you like that area?
I live in the northwest area in Germany. I live in a rather smaller town called “Lohne”. I like my area as we have everything that you need and we have a strong environment in our area. I have 30min to Bremen and 1,5 hours to Hamburg. Not too far away if you want to go to a bigger city.
RC wise it is not the capital of RC, saying it conservative J But I am used since the beginning to travel or drive far distances.
One thing all racers seem to love is seeing each other’s RC space at their home. Have you got a separate room for your RC stuff?
I and my dad share a RC-room in my parents’ house. I moved out of my parents’ house 3 years ago. But I live only 10mins away now, so as soon as I need to do proper wrenching I drive there and do my preparations.
You’ve actually been involved in racing for quite a number of years now – how did it all get started for you?
Yes, I do RC since I am 6 years old. As many others, my dad was already involved in RC and he brought me to some RC tracks and I was directly infected. I started in the Tamiya Euro Cup and raced there for a long time and switched then directly into the modified class in the early 2000s.
As you went through the earlier years of racing, were there any racers that you looked up to at the time? And if those guys are still competing now, what is it like to race against them?
I must say that Marc Rheinard and Atsushi Hara were my idols in that time. It was the time were I switched into the modified class and they both dominated nearly every race. For sure I wanted to be as successful as they were. By the way: I think because of Marc the Germans are so strong right now in the Touring car sector. Many young guys looked up to him in that time and pushed themselves to get better and better, so thanks for that Marc ;)
Sure I am very proud to race with such guys now and even beat them. But I am more proud to call Marc and most of the others guys my friends now.
As we said, you’re not full time in RC – have you ever had the chance to try to be, and chosen to focus on your full time career?
I had a couple serious offers and chances to do it full time but I preferred the way it is now as a semi-professional.
You’ve raced for a number of the big teams in your main racing, and actually all Japanese brands – Kyosho, Tamiya and now Yokomo. Has it been your plan to stay with Japanese companies?! What has it been like working with these famous name brands?
It was not on purpose that all my teams I raced for are from Japan. But I am very honored to say that I worked with probably the most iconic brands in the industry. I am very proud of that and don’t want to miss any experience. Every decade with these sponsors had ups and downs for sure. The time with Kyosho and Tamiya has been pretty identical as they are both pretty big companies and it always took time to develop new stuff as there is a respective structure in the companies. As Yokomo is more focussed on the racing itself, it is more flexible to change or even bring out new stuff, which is nice.
How would you describe things for you now with your Yokomo team? You have Ronald Volker as your ‘team leader’, who is scoring some great results right now. But you’re often showing really close to him in pace – do you work together well?
I must say that I am more than happy with our team. I joined Yokomo on 1st January 2017 and we had great success since then. This wouldn’t be possible with a great team behind me where I can call nearly everybody as my friend. I think as a racer it is probably the most important part to have a good team “behind you” and everybody supports everyone and believes in you. I also want to name and thank Bernd Wellerdiek (Raceberry guy) for always supporting me and stay by my side since the early stages!
Ronald is very important for us. For me he is the most courageous driver. He practises a lot and we are nearly every day in contact to discuss all things. As I am not able to practise a lot due to my job commitments, I can profit a lot from the Team and especially Ronald’s experiences. I think we both together are a strong force but surely I want to get the best possible result for me personally and I showed that already.
What race result are you most pleased with if you think back on all your racing? Is there any race that really stays in your mind?
There are actually many races which I am very proud of, starting with my Tamiya WC title in 2007 or my ETS win in Gran Canaria 2012.
But two races are standing out a little. First is the German TC modified nationals in Burgdorf, 2004. It was the first time I got in the A-Main with an age of 12.
Second is actually every Reedy Race held at the Tamiya track in Los Angeles.
But more important, I want to make even better memories in the next years.
What has been the most fun or exciting event you can remember being too? Maybe something you’d like to go back and experience again?
Some old ETS events had been really funny with crazy moments. I remember the ETS in Gran Canaria or Riccione where we went partying. Nowadays it is a bit more serious but I wish we could have that crazy stuff again and enjoy the off track moments even more.
What’s your favourite event you’ve been to, and what’s your favourite RC track?
Favourite event: Reedy Race at Tamiya track
Favourite Track: Tamiya track and Apeldoorn
Do you ever get to go to ‘club’ races now? What local tracks do you visit?
I actually never go to club races anymore as I don’t have that much time for it. I used to race at our local track in the past but it got shut down some years ago. When I practise, I am driving to Hamburg or go to the West of Germany/Andernach.
With most racing stopped around the world now, are you enjoying the break, or wanting to get back on the track soon?
Definitely want to go back racing, especially now when it gets warmer outside.
With your friends outside of RC, how do you explain to them what you do? Do they think it’s strange, or have you got anyone else into racing?
I’ve got no close friends racing. But it’s always funny to explain what I’m doing and it nearly always end’s up with showing a youtube video about it because they can’t believe it and they are always surprised how fast these things are. I think there is a lot potential in our advertising in general because the hobby is so good for especially our young generation, they just have to notice the hobby better.
And when you like to relax, what do you do? Have you got a favourite restaurant you go to?
I like to enjoy life with going out having some drinks with friends or hanging out somewhere, taking holidays, visiting and explore interesting countries and places, being active by making sport or just being lazy and watching a good film.
I don’t have a typical favourite restaurant. I like testing out different restaurants.
And how about other sports – are there others that you play yourself, or others that you like to watch?
I used to play a lot table tennis and tennis. But not that much anymore since I had a disc prolapse two years ago. Since then I also go swimming, ride my bike a lot and go to the gym. I like to watch every sport basically on TV.
We know from Instagram you’re a football fan - what’s your favourite football team and your favourite player?
100% Borussia Dortmund as a Team and Marco Reus as a player.
How do you see the future of RC, and in particular the ETS series? We obviously all hope we can get back to the ETS events soon, but what about longer future – what might you want to change if you were in charge?!
I see the future of RC bright. As I am an optimist I see the bright side of the hobby as it is such a versatile and beautiful hobby. The main problem I see is that the younger generation doesn’t even notice about our hobby. So my wish would be to bring the sport to a bigger audience.
Concerning the ETS I think they made the right changes with implementing more easy and simple classes like the FWD class. I personally wish they go back to 4 asphalt races and to countries like Spain or Italy.
Thank you very much for your time! To finish off, we always give you a chance to say thanks to anyone else you want to – so it’s over to you to end things! See you at the track soon hopefully!!
Thank you very much and I can’t wait to see all you guys back at the track!
|06.||Frederik B. Mikkelsen||592pts|
|03.||Martijn v. d. Heijden||569pts|
|04.||Steven M. Olsen||598pts|