Rob Slonaker a veteran racer and coach of over 30-years drives the Auto Technic Racing #20 BMW M240iR in the TC class. Over the span of more than three decades, he's enjoyed racing as well as coaching others in the art of race craft. And he's coached a few drivers in his past that have gone on to attain highly successful racing careers. We caught up with the Great Barrington, Massachusetts-based racer/coach in this Driver Download.
Car: #20 BMW M240iR
Favorite Track: Bridgehampton (now a Golf Course ☹)
Daily Driver: BMW 128i
Dream Car: 1967 911R
Racing Hero: Fangio
Favorite Food: Anything my wife has prepared.
Favorite Hobby: Mountain biking and skiing
Occupation: Racing coach and instructor
Pets names: No pets currently, but used to have a cat named Gilles.
First Car: '68 Austin Healy Sprite
Favorite Movie: Blues Brothers
How was COTA?
COTA was a blast. Enjoyed some great racing with Zane Hodgen.
How did you get into racing?
It was something I always wanted to do, even as a little boy. I discovered Summit Point Raceway, when I was 16 near where I grew up in Winchester, VA. I got a job there when I was 19, more or less since then, have been fortunate enough to make a living at the race track.
What is your favorite racing memory?
I was giving rides to kids with serious illness’s during a track day at Sebring once. I was using a client’s Ferrari 458 and about the 5th or 6th ride, a family strapped in a seven- or eight-year-old little boy who had stage 4 leukemia and he was pretty frail, so I was a little nervous about how fast I should go. I told him thumbs up if he wanted to go faster and thumbs down if it was fast enough. His thumb stayed up the whole time. I drove that car as fast as I knew how. The hardest part was trying to see the corners though my tears.
What’s the story behind your helmet design?
Stilo painted it silver.
Something interesting about you or a talent?
I share a December 28th birthdate with Spencer Pumpelly and Eric Foss. Also great drivers/coaches.
If you could invite three people to dinner (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Malcom Gladwell, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Gengis Kahn. They are fascinating people.
You’ve had 25 plus years in racing as well as instructing and coaching. In those 25 years you’ve probably had your share of interesting stories from coaching or racing? Care to share one with us?
Thirty years actually. I have been fortunate enough through my work with the racing school to get to teach and work with some of the best drivers when they were just getting started. Drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarten, Conor Daly, Townsend Bell, Al Carter, Trent Hindman, John Edwards, among others. And despite my best efforts, they went on to do great things in the sport (kidding!).