Shock Mansion: We wanted to start off by talking about a passion that we both share…fast cars! You have your foot on all sorts of pedals these days can you fill us in on some of the driving you currently do?
Tanner Foust: I’m competing in the US Formula DRIFT series in a NASCAR-V8 powered Scion TC that puts out about 650 hp. I’m also competing in the European Rallycross series, at X Games and the US Rallycross series driving a 600 hp Ford Fiesta that’s one of the most high-strung cars I’ve ever been in.
For the TV show Battle of the Supercars, I’m behind the wheel of something new every week. Among other things this year, I’ve been in a 500 hp Porsche GT3 RS, a 1000 hp Shelby GT 500 Mustang. I’m not allowed to talk much about Top Gear USA, which we’re filming right now, but as you can imagine on that show I’ll be in everything from a Ferrari to a tricycle.
And then there’s the stunt work which is play time in random everything… it’s not a bad gig!
Shock Mansion: Have you ever been to Australia? If you haven’t, is there a possibility you might come and check out the scene here?
Tanner Foust: I have yet to venture down there but have wanted to visit since I saw my first V-8 Super cars race on TV. Between that, jet boat racing and rally I know it would be hard to leave!
Watch Tanner win gold at X-Games 16 below:
Shock Mansion: What were you doing to put food on the table before your driving career really took off?
Tanner Foust: I was a biology major at the University of Colorado studying to become a Doc. I worked part-time for an inventor building models of amusement rides and testing the prototypes…this was dangerous. One summer I had enough money saved to take a few months off work so I traded seat time in race cars for mechanic work on a team. That led to Ice Driving instruction, race coaching, rally racing and drifting. It’s been a crazy progression and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Shock Mansion: Where is the most memorable place in the world you have traveled to and why?
Tanner Foust: I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time traveling. I used to live in Scotland as a kid but the most interesting destination was probably Bejing China for the 2009 Race of Champions. The culture was such a departure from anything I’d experienced. And traveling around and partying with Pastrana, Hirvonen, Schumacher, Kristiansen, among others, was incredible.
Shock Mansion: Any chance we may have caught you in the movie industry because of your driving talents and not realized it was you?
Tanner Foust: If you’ve seen Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Bourne Ultimatum, Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn or Iron Man 2, then you’ve seen some of my stunt driving. They usually put me in a wig and costume so I kind of resemble the lead actor… but there are always places that a freeze-frame might give it away.
Shock Mansion: Top Gear, a favorite show here at the mansion, the series has been picked up by the history channel and rumor is you will star as a co-host for the American version, is this true?
Tanner Foust: We’re shooting Top Gear USA right now for the History Channel. I can’t say much about it other than it’s coming this winter, and we’ve been shooting some insane pieces for it. Hope you guys can catch it down under.
Shock Mansion: The Rockstar driver duo of yourself and Brian Deegan dominated the rally competition at X Games 2010, claiming gold and silver medals how did this feel and was the course as confusing as it looked watching it?
Tanner Foust: X Games is always incredible. The energy from the fans is amazing and it’s so great to be able to race against really good drivers that I don’t get a chance to line up against every day. To finish one-two with Brian Deegan at the end of the day was awesome.
The Coliseum was a new venue for X Games and I think it was a bit of a struggle to lay out a course that worked for the Rally Car Racing event in there. We didn’t get a chance to drive it before competition and it was pretty confusing with all of the ups and downs and hairpins. Right before I started, I turned to the commentator in the car and said: “I might get lost.” In the end we managed and it was a dream day for Rockstar Energy Drink and Ford.
Watch Tanner win gold again at X-Games 16 below:
Shock Mansion: Can you tell us what toys are in your garage right now?
Tanner Foust: At home, I have a great LA car: an AC Schnitzer BMW M3. For the beach, I’ve got a supercharged Toyota Tundra. And I recently bought an old 912E from my Dad (’76). This was his car my whole life and is a big reason why I got into the industry. I also have a Ford F-450 for towing and a Ducati for the canyon near my house. I tend to own cars for a long time.
Shock Mansion: If you could take one person dead or alive and thrash your NASCAR-V8 650 horsepower Scion TC Drift car around the Mulholland highway course again who would choose to scare the pants off?
Tanner Foust: Tough one. I’ve already had the chance to take the late Colin McRae for a drift ride in the old car … but I’d like to do it again.
Watch Tanner unleash his 600hp NASCAR Scion on the famed road below:
Shock Mansion: So you have a degree in molecular biology. Clearly you didn’t intend on racing cars back in the day, what were your original ambitions?
Tanner Foust: My family is medically inclined. My Dad and Grandfather are both great doctors and I was thinking down that road before I caught the entrepreneurial bug.
Shock Mansion: What’s your training regime like when you’re leading up to race day?
Tanner Foust: I’m on the road so much that it’s hard to get more than a cross-training workout in hotel fitness rooms. But I try to go for mountain bike rides in the hills near my house in southern California as often as I can get home. it’s good for my mind and eyes as well as my general fitness: in driving, your eyes can get lazy but, when driving on variable surfaces, it’s important to actively check the surface directly in front of the car and constantly scan far ahead to anticipate what’s next, just like on the bike.
Shock Mansion: It’s fairly obvious you’ve got a heavy right foot, how fast have you actually driven, on or off the track?
Tanner Foust: The quickest I’ve got was in an event called the Texas Mile. It’s on an old runway and consists of one standing mile…I went 0-223 mph in one mile in a turbo charged Ford GT. It was awesome.
Shock Mansion: Atomic war breaks out on earth, what are the top three things on you’re to do list before we all vaporize?
Tanner Foust: 1) Swim with sharks, I’m such a pussy when I see them in the water. 2) Track down Jennifer Anniston and tell her all the things we all want to tell her 3) Learn to fly a helicopter. (Obviously this would have to be one slow ass war to get ‘em done, but I’ll give it a shot).
Watch Tanner Foust’s amazing backward entry video below:
Shock Mansion: Ever had Vegemite? Want us to send you some?
Tanner Foust: I lived in the UK when I was a kid, so yes. And no, thank you. I’ve had enough.
Shock Mansion: A question we ask all our guests, If you were homeless, what would your cardboard sign have written on it?
Tanner Foust: “Will drive for food.”
Shock Mansion: What in store for you in the rest of 2010 and 2011?
Tanner Foust: 2010 has been such a busy year, with two pro racing series, X Games, and two TV shows it’s hard to see ahead into 2011! I can only hope to be doing more of the same next year, maybe spending even more time oversees for the European Rallycross Championship.
Shock Mansion: Where can people follow your race progress?
Shock Mansion: Thanks a lot for your time mate, best of luck with everything!