Webber’s protege, GP2’s Evans, adapting well to sports car world ahead of Le Mans

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LE MANS, France – New Zealand hasn’t had a top-flight Formula 1 star in many years.

One day, 20-year-old GP2 driver Mitch Evans of Russian Time might become that man.

But for now, he’s making a brief side step into sports car racing and has already delivered on debut.

Evans shared the No. 38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S Nissan with Harry Tincknell and Simon Dolan at the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last month, and won in his first ever sports car start.

“It was quite bizarre to be honest,” Evans told MotorSportsTalk at scrutineering in Le Mans this week. “It was my first WEC race I was at. I know Spa very well, but it was a new environment with teams and cars. It’s all a bit strange.

“But to come home with a win was fantastic. I didn’t expect it, didn’t have any reference to have a great debut. It’s the whole team that did it. Hopefully we can continue that into Le Mans.”

With Tincknell moving into the factory Nissan GT-R LM NISMO for Le Mans, Oliver Turvey will rejoin the team’s lineup for Le Mans. For Evans, another single-seat rising star branching out, he’s adapting well to the multiple driver, multiple class format.

“Fortunately I’ve had a lot of experienced people tell me the differences,” he said. “I was sort of anticipating that type of change to adapt to. A lot of drivers struggle with sharing cars, with the compromise of sports car racing. In Spa I found it was pretty straightforward.”

Evans didn’t hide his impressions of how much he appreciates the sports car paddock.

“It’s a lot more positive, with a lot less egos. It’s very friendly,” Evans said. “With the manufacturers involved, that makes it great.

“It’s all the top manufacturers in the world. There’s such a different vibe. There’s much better interaction with the fans.

“We don’t have that in GP2. We’re sort of locked away in our cage. In a way, it sucks a bit to be honest. The vibe in sports car racing seems to be very positive at the moment.”

Evans draws much inspiration and support from Mark Webber, his mentor. Webber has played an integral role in Evans’ development as he transitioned from New Zealand into Europe.

“It’s been huge. It’s my fifth year here,” Evans said. “When I first made the transition to Europe from New Zealand, it was huge for his experience to give it to me.

“You fast forward all the preparation for the transition, GP2 when he was in F1, and now sports cars when he was in LMP1, I have so much experience even before I’ve driven in the championship. It’s been great. He’s one of the top guys and he’s very professional. I’m very fortunate.”

They’ll share the same track this week as Webber races in the No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid in LMP1, with Evans looking to go two-for-two in his first two sports car races.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”