Welcome to Nicholas Hoult Web, your source for everything on British actor Nicholas Hoult. You may know Nicholas for his role as Tony Stonem in Channel 4's Skins, Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men, Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road, Jerry Salinger in Rebel in the Rye, or J.R.R. Tolkien in Tolkien. Be sure to bookmark us and check back daily for all the latest updates on Nicholas!

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admin | Jun 03, 2022

“So Much Fun It’s Ridiculous”: Nicholas Hoult on Learning to Race Ferraris

The Mad Max: Fury Road actor, who recently completed the Italian auto manufacturer’s intensive Corso Pilota driver-training course, recalls a life of adventures on four wheels—including that time he got in a crash while dressed as Posh Spice.

Nicholas Hoult has been playing with cars for as long as he can remember. The actor—best known for his starring roles in About a Boy, Skins, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Great, and the X-Men movie franchise—told Vanity Fair that some of his earliest memories revolve around “sitting on the floor with toy cars and pretending to race them around and crash.”

Hoult is now living out his childhood fantasies. Working with Italian super-car manufacturer Ferrari over the past couple years, he has participated in the brand’s intensive, four-part Corso Pilota driver-training course, on three different racetracks around the U.S. This recently granted him the privilege to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo—a 670 horsepower, track-only, twin-turbocharged monster that the prancing-horse brand builds for its customer-focused Challenge racing series—and pilot it around the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas.

Though he’d completed the thorough training, driving a race car still required a steep and surprising learning curve. “I mean, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn it on at first,” Hoult said, laughing. “But, even going back before starting it, just getting in and out. I’m not a small person. And I was looking at the car, and there was a roll cage and everything. And I was, like, I’m not sure how to get in and out of this.”

Hoult has had his share of driver training on movie sets. He learned how to drive a motorcycle for the movie Young Ones. He learned to (pretend to) drive backwards for Mad Max: Fury Road, in a specially-equipped version of his 1930s Chevy battle wagon, with the body mounted in reverse—back to front—on the frame. And he learned how to safely bump into other cars when filming Collide. “Actually, when all the cars are going in the same direction, at similar speed, little taps aren’t too bad,” he said.

In fact, Hoult had his first experience behind the wheel on set. When he was 14, he was in Swaziland, shooting Wah-Wah. After finishing his school lessons, his on-set tutor offered to teach him to drive. “We were on a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “And I remember at one point we went down this path and it led to where three rhinos were. So we had to reverse, backing away from these rhinos.” (No animals were harmed in the making of this driving lesson.)

Hoult has been in the business for a long time, so his first vehicular splurge was not exactly typical. “When I was five, I did a job and I went and bought a green bicycle,” he said. He says he bought his first car when he was 17, a red Fiat Punto, which he named Muttley, after the dog in the delightfully auto-centric Hanna-Barbera cartoon series/PlayStation game Wacky Races.

Shortly thereafter, Hoult had his most humiliating vehicular experience, though it wasn’t in his Italian hatchback, and he wasn’t driving. He and a trio of friends were on their way to a ’90s-themed birthday party a few hours from home. Wanting to arrive at the party in character, they pit-stopped at a gas station to get ready. “We’d decided to go as the Spice Girls,” Hoult explained.

At the time, he was shooting Clash of the Titans, so he had long hair extensions, making him a shoo-in for the role he chose. “I was Posh Spice,” he said. (Victoria Beckham, it’s worth noting, was one of our most charming Stars & Cars interviewees.) “So we had our minidresses and heels, and everything ready to go.”

The trip went smoothly until the group was about five minutes from the house, when his friend missed a turn, spun around to get on the right street, and suddenly, somehow, slammed into a lamp post. “Like, so hard,” Hoult said. “Everything went flying in the car.”

Since their vehicle was no longer drivable, they stopped. But, having heard the ruckus, a crowd of locals gathered. “My friend, who was driving, got out of the car. And he’s dressed as Baby Spice. And then, all of us have to get out of the car in our miniskirts, dressed as the Spice Girls,” Hoult said. “This caused a lot of joy for everyone who was witnessing.” (Sadly, this was before the ubiquity of smartphones, so there are no known images or videos of the event.)

Hoult has, by his own admission, had “a couple spins” in the 488 Challenge Evo, but nothing quite as dramatic as this episode. “Nothing where I damaged the car or caused any cost to anyone,” he said. Most interestingly, he’s discovering moments of transcendence behind the wheel. “I guess it’s something that comes with trying to find that relaxed flow of information, which is just kind of meditative,” he said. “It’s a Zen-like feeling when it goes right.” Though he’s quick to add, “I’m a long way from getting it right.”

But while he feels competitive with himself about improving his driving skills, and hopes to potentially join Ferrari’s Challenge series and compete against others on the track in an upcoming season, for now he’s trying to remain focused on the joy.

“It’s funny because I get in my head, and I’m like, Right, I want to do better. I want to get better lap times. I want to get that corner right. I want to make sure that I can control the car in the way that I should, and feel relaxed,” he said. “But then I remember, this is a dream coming true, and to enjoy it. So I’ve been doing that. Just sitting and reflecting after a day of driving. To just appreciate where I’m at, and what I’m doing. Because it’s very lucky and a lot of fun.” He paused. “Like, this is so much fun it’s ridiculous.” [Source]






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