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SPECIALIST INTERVIEW


We got the opportunity to interview a professional racing driver, Michael Krumm.
Of course, we wanted to ask about journey.
But he is also a motorcyclist and loves Triumph.
So, we were able to interview for a long time while talking about journey, motorcycles, and racing.
It has changed from the original intention, but we would like you to take a look at the content of the story.



When is your first visit in Japan?
Probably in 1992 or in 1993.
I went to Macau for a race, and the next week I had the World Championship at Fuji Speedway, and I came to Japan to participate in a F3 class which is under F1.

How do you feel?
I didn't feel like traveling to Japan, just thinking about racing.

Do you remember your impression of coming to Japan for the first time?
When I arrived for the first time, I arrived at Narita Airport and went directly to Lake Yamanaka, so Tokyo passed.
I took a bus from Narita and stayed at a hotel near Lake Yamanaka without being able to do sightseeing in Tokyo.
Because it was a travel on a tour for racing, I couldn't see many things and experience much like ordinary tourists.
I came to Japan the following year, but it was the same as the previous year, so I could not know much about Japan in the first two times.

I see… Didn't you have any impression in Japan on that time?
I mean that there was no impression of Tokyo rather than Japan.
Since I was staying in Lake Yamanaka, I first experienced a rich natural environment, not an urban area in Japan.
There were bonsai here and there, and there were lakes, and I felt Japan was beautiful and wonderful.
In addition, it was pleasant that everyone was very kind and it was a very good experience in Japan.
I felt strong impression that Japanese people are very gentle.

Since then, have you come to Japan many times?
Because I was able to get good results at Fuji Speedway, I came to Japan many times, and as a result, I was able to stay in Japan forever.

Is your impression of Japan different from when you first came to Japan as you spend more time in Japan?
I was in Gotemba for four years, but at that time there was almost no English notation, and there was no navigation or internet, so I had a hard time getting used to the environment and customs.
In the beginning, there was no Roman or English notation on the display, so it was difficult to move by myself.
There was no navigation, no internet, no mobile, so it was a little difficult.
But I learned culture and language, so it became more convenient than my impression changed.
My impression of Japan was good from the beginning.

Nowadays, many people from many countries come to Japan. Do you have any recommendations for them to visit or to eat?
Many foreigners like sushi, but I like tonkatsu instead.
Probably because there is something similar to Germany and Japan.
However, even if you eat Sushi in your own country and like Japanese sushi, you don't know real Sushi if you don't eat in Japan.
When I ask a friend who has actually eaten, they say "the level is different."
So I really want them to try.
The recommended places to go are Hakone and Mt. Fuji, but you need any vechle to enjoy winding up to the top of the mountain.
However, not everyone who comes to Japan on a trip can ride a car or motorcycle as easily as I do.
Therefore, I'd like them to prepare any veichle as possible and go to the Hakone and Mt.Fuji and the winding road and the forest.
I think it's good to climb Mt.Fuji, but there are some interesting things you can't usually experience if they drive.
So I want them to enjoy not only the scenery but also the driving.
I think a bicycle is also fine.

I guess you are running in various places in various countries. Do you have the unique charm of Japan?
To have many mountains.
and It is not too high.
Therefore it is interesting to be able to enjoy various views in a short time.
Unfortunately, when I first came to Japan, I didn't know that as I was still living in Gotemba.
Anyway, even in the same place, it is unique to Japan that we can come across beautiful landscapes that differ from season to season.

Any advice in Japan that they should be aware of?
The only thing we have to be careful about is that suddenly still alive food are served. Some people are shocked.
I think it is better to be careful.
When you want to eat Japanese food, I think it's better to go to a specialty store and check it before choosing a store.

When it comes to driving, the speed limit is very low.
I'm a bit special because I'm from Germany, and it's normal to travel at 200km/h since I was a kid.
But Japan is not so, we have to be careful and obey the rules not to get caught.
However, the problem is that it is difficult to understand the speed limit on Japanese roads.
In foreign countries, navigation is also helpful because speed limits come out.
Also, since Japan drive on the left, we need to concentrate on it, but that is the same when Japanese go abroad. Because I am long in Japan, when I went to Germany last time, it was a ”tense moment” when I left the gas station.
So I want to understand the rules and make no mistakes.
And I want them to follow the manners.
In Japan, cars are beautiful and the rules are strictly followed.
Japan is such a society, but not all countries are so, so if you come to Japan and drive, please respectfully follow the rules of Japan.
There is no need to be afraid because Japan is safe.
Driving in other countries is more dangerous.
But what surprises me in Japan is that bicycles often come from the opposite direction.
It's better to be careful, but don't get angry in Japan.
I think it's unusual in a foreign country, but especially in Tokyo, where the streets are narrow, we have to be careful of people walking.
So be careful about riding by bicycle.
Recently, there is a bicycle lane on the left side, which is a good thing.
It is the same for walking people that the road is narrow and we must be careful.
During this time, there were people who were crossing the road at the last minute when I was driving. If there are no a car on the road, they could cross more safe, but I wonder, "Why they cross very last minute?"
Anyway, just be careful and look around.

You often travel around the world for races, do you like traveling personally?
Traveling as a professional racer is an unavoidable part of my job.
Most of the time, I just moved from the hotel to the circuit.
I was born in Germany, so I often went to Italy when I was a kid, but from the age of 29 when I became a racing driver, I had to go to the southern countries in cold season ... such as Spain, Portugal and Italy.
But it was exciting.
I was able to know and experience a new culture.
Some of them were good points, and of course I encountered dangerous experiences.

Do you think to love traveling and riding vehicles is a success factor as a racer?
It doesn't really matter.
I was lucky to be able to travel around the world as a racing driver, and I could visit the place I cannot normally go like Argentina.
It was a very interesting experience, but even some people who do not like traveling can succeed as a racing driver.
It seems that people who don't like traveling may be due to food.

Do you manage your busy time and enjoy your private journey?
I've lived in Monaco in southern France, but there's the Alps on the back and Italy and France nearby.
I like to go up the mountain, so I used to ride those areas by motorcycle.
There are few places where it is legally possible to enter a mountain by motorcycle, and it is rare to be able to ride a large motorcycle at the place where people walk and children walk.
In such places, everyone coexists with care each other.
There is about 60km off road between Italy and France and I really like that.
Interesting.
It is a very good experience and a good memory.
Anyway, in Europe, about 1,200 to 1,300 km, I traveled by motorcycle or car without taking an airplane.

Do you ride more actively on motorcycles than on cars in private?
It depends on the case which vehicle to choose and the amount of luggage.
If I choose a motorcycle, I especially like around Austria.
It takes a long time to get there, but if you have a motorcycle on site you can enjoy it very much.
It's not as crowded as in Japan, so you can enjoy driving while moving.

Is there any emotional difference between a private journey and a race trip?
Of course not at all.
At the time of the race, I am different from my consciousness and it is not a journey.
I don't feel open because the schedule is fixed, it's not a journey. But I can see many interesting things all over the world.
However, if the moving is dangerous (such as the danger of a collision due to human manners), it is troublesome because I cannot concentrate on the race.

Are there any tips or tricks to make your journey comfortable, whether it's a race trip or a private trip?
I basically like preparation.
Preparation is important.
For example, I check on the internet before going somewhere.
Find out what kind of place I'm going to visit, how to get there, whether to take a taxi or train, whehere shold I exchange money, is it better at the airport, check the weather, and find out where to eat and so on...
Where can we eat and how far is it from where we are staying?
That's important, and if you get ready, it's stress free.
In a foreign country, just withdrawing money from a machine can be dangerous, Japan is safe, but it's dangerous to get used to it.
So I think preparation is important in many ways.
I suggest you can enjoy by checking or preparing it in advance.
Reduce stress.
In my case, I simulate all the journeys in advance.
It's the same for private time and racing trip.
In foreign countries, hotels do not have toothbrushes or anything, so I will simulate and prepare such situations.



Please tell us about the essential items when traveling and how to choose the wear.
I think everyone has what they need. I will bring whatever I use regularly such as razors and cream, so I have a bag for these items.
Amenity sets and travel sets that I can just put in my travel bag.
The content will be different for each person.
It ’s also better to bring some medicine.
Because there is no guarantee that we can get the same one in a foreign country.
And the clothing is very different depending on whether the way of transportation is a motorcycle or a car, so we also simulate and prepare what I need.
If I go to a luxury place, I need to bring a jacket, so I simulate the hotel and where to eat.

Do you actively ride vehicles (cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, etc.) while traveling? In that case, please tell me the points of selection and how to enjoy.
I often choose cars.
But in some countries, we can't hire a car, so I'll have to take a taxi.
A train may be more convenient, but when I go for a race, we have a lot of luggage, so it will definitely by a car.
In my case, always choosing a motorcycle is for a private trip.
I want to ride my own motorcycle on that case.
Even in the rain.

Please tell us three countries you like.
I like Japan.
It is good that Japan is safe, obeys the rules.
It's great not to be dangerous and the service is very good.
It's probably only in Japan that shop clerk kindly helps us puting what we bought in a plastic bag at a supermarket.
And it's convenient.
Everywhere there are 24-hour store.
Then Austria.
Nature is extreamly beautiful.
Lakes, grass, trees, mountains, rivers.
Summer and winter are wonderful and beautiful.
People are friendly and service is good.
The last is Sweden.
My mom is from there, so I often went on vacation since I was a child.
The city, Stockholm is beautiful.
Mom lived in the countryside, so there is a lot of nature. In summer, the days are long and almost never dark.
But it's interesting that winter almost doesn't light up.

Is your Mother from Sweden?
By the way, where are you born and raised?

Countryside in German.
A small village near Stuttgart, near the city making Benz and Porsche.
I was there until 19 years old.
Until the race starts.
After I started a race, I moved.

I see.
So, where is the place you want to visit in the future?

I have never been to New York.
So I think it would be better to go once.
It's also good to visit the pyramid.
But now it's a little dangerous.
I don't really like going to dangerous places.
Some of my friends like the dangers and adventure, and some of them go to the desert by motorcycle, but I don't think I need to take that risk.

Why do you choose the occupation of racing driver as you say that you want to avoid high risk?
In general, we think this is a high-risk occupation.

I think Dad's influence is strong.
My dad liked racing and wanted to be a racer himself.
So, as an amateur racer, he was at a high level.
That's why he let me practice driving early.
I have always liked watching F1 on TV or driving since I was a kid.
When I touched the handle, I was always very excited.
So I could only imagine becoming a professional racing driver.

It's influence of your father.
What was the vechile you rode for the first time?

You know, small car for children.
I rode it every day in the parking lot in front of the house.
About 3 years old.
Probably the four years old, I held the handle on father's lap.
It was the time I drove a car for the first time in Sweden.
But it means I just turned the handle.
After that, it was bicycle.
I loved mountain biking.

So what was the first engine-powered vehicle you got on?
And what kind of vehicle did you ride after that?

From the age of eight, I practiced driving on a normal car.
I can't reach the pedal, so on my dad's lap.
I practiced everything in a closed parking lot, so maybe I could a kind of "racing start" at about 10 years old.
I started practicing with a cart seriously at the age of 13.
My friend was about 16 and riding a motorcycle, but I was banned by my dad from being dangerous.
I liked bicycles, but also I really wanted to ride a motorcycle.
However, I had to give up because he didn't allow.
That's why I got a motorcycle license in Japan when I turned 38.

That was surprising.
Most motorsports enthusiasts will probably take the step from motorcycle to car, but how old are you interested in motorcycles?

I got a license at the age of 38, but before that I rode only in the paddock.
I thought about running on a circuit before getting a license, but I can't allow to get injured for work.
I think my dad was right that he did not allow me to ride motorcycles, because I wanted to move the ride at the limit.
It was good to start at the age of 38.
On public roads I was able to play gaman consciously that I would not run at the limit, but when I was young I couldn't think so and I might have been injured.
But there are many people who are good at riding even starting from cars.
when I saw riders who pass with great speed, there are many people who are good at riding, I think.
I'm surprised at the speed of pass by, but I think "people who understand themselves" are not danger.
The important thing is to adapt to the environment and know own limits.
I'm an adult so I can save my feelings.
I actually wanted to try off-road, but I was told that I would get hurt if I did it at your age.
It's okay if you don't beyond your limit about what you want to do, not just off-road.
Driving is the same.
I don't drive much speed if I feel sleep, I drive slowly with care.
It is important to know and do such a simple thing.
No matter where you go in the world, you'll see a lot of people who don't know that, but if you do know it, it's fine to ride a motorcycle.

By the way, what is the best way to enjoy a motorcycle?
My favorite thing is to go riding with two people.
By two motorcycles.
Let's go to ◯◯◯, have a coffee there, take a break, find a route that hasn't been pass yet.
If in Europe, let's try going on the highest road.
Such things are easy to do if two people.
If three people, it's a group, so it's a bit different.。

What do you want to enjoy on your motorcycle in the future?
I want to do safety training on the circuit someday.
I do a lot of safety training in our school as a principal in cars.
We will teach them the limitations of cars and how to use ABS for safety.
I want to learn with such content on a motorcycle, teacher runs in front of me and teaches me so that I want to improve my level for my own safety.
Well, I don't have much time now.
But I think that learning it will make my motorcycle life more fun.

You also liked bicycles. Do you still ride on a daily basis?
I was always riding in Europe.
I used to ride in Japan when I lived in Gotemba, but I didn't ride after moving to Tokyo.
The purpose of using the bicycle is mainly for training.
I used to go to the mountains on mountain bikes.
I like nature but not just mountain biking.
I also like road bikes, but depends on where I live.
I've enterd to road racing once.
I don't remember the bike manufacturer I used to ride, but I think the racing bike I used in the 90's was KONA.
I've also participated in Monaco charity race.

Is there any synergy between riding a different vehicles such as bicycle, motorcycle, or car and training or mentally, no matter which is the main one?
When riding a motorcycle, we have to concentrate on cornering.
There are various ways and techniques for how to turn.
Enjoy it while imagining it.
If you drive a car, you have to look around.
That's why I try to run a bit faster than the surrounding flow when I on a motorcycle.
I think to do so is safer.
Drivers have blind spots, so they are conscious of riding a bit faster than their speed.
The important thing about a driving car is to look far away while being careful of the surroundings.
I am enjoying the difference while paying attention to such basic things.

If you are driving in a Japanese city by car, motorcycle, or bicycle, please tell us what you think is dangerous and what is good or bad in the world view points.

Ignoring traffic lights is very dangerous in the city.
If you are on a motorcycle, you have to go to the stop line and accelerate for the first.
It's very dangerous if someone ignores the signal and enters.
Especially when riding a motorcycle, make sure carefuly to avoid accidents even that the traffic light is green.
Cars sounds are becoming neary inaudible for walking people with the spread of hybrids and electricity.
And walking people are listening to music and playing with mobile phones.
So I try to drive more consciously and carefully.

Let us tell you about your main business here. What is the most memorable race?
There are many.
It is difficult to say only one.
But it's probably Le Mans 24 hours in 1998 driving for the first time in Nissan.
One of the original drivers was injured and replaced to me.
So almost no practice.
I practiced in Spain a little bit, but I didn't even know the circuit, and I couldn't research.
I couldn't use a YouTube or simulator like I did now, so it was very difficult.
But I think this was a fate point.
It was good luck that the temperature was good and I could keep running with a good lap time.
At that time I was able to get good results, so I can be here Nissan now.
Probably that racing has changed my life greatly.。

What's your favorite racing car ever?
My favorite was the GT-R.
It was for GT500 and really fun .
Easy to control.
GT-R is still so.
At the time of GT-R development of the production car, I recorded the record time at the Nurburgring, and it was easy to move in the marginal area and there was power.
The cornering speed was high and I really liked it.

What was the most impressive public road car?
That is also GT-R.
I especially like the 2011 model.
On a new autobahn in German, I was able to drive 328km/h as there was no other cars.
That was really impressive.
An ordinary GT-R without tuning.
At that time, I thought, "It's amazing that I can run legally at this speed."
(unique to autobahn) It was time to go down the autobahn because I drive with my friend and arrived at the hotel, but when I said, "What shall we do? Let's get a new record? Let's stop going down." My friends also said, "Let's stop."
We passed the hotel, put out the record, then made a U-turn and headed for the hotel.
I was growing in a world with 200km/h of car speed since I was a small, and old cars lacked much power.
290PS or 300PS were the best, but now is 600PS, the world has changed dramatically.
When I started driving on a public road myself at about 18 years old, I had a dream that I would someday ride a car that exceeded 300 km/h.
It finally came true.
Of course, there are various cars that can output more than 300km/h.
That said, it is only for some rich people.
The story was too different from GTR because it was a special car.
The GTR is not a special car for some rich people, it is a car that many people can buy if we do a little hard work.
So I was very impressed because I wanted to fulfill the dream of over 300 km/h with such a commercial car.

Both cars and technology will make great progress. How do you anticipate the future of cars?
As you know cars become electricity from gasoline, and autonomous driving will evolve rapidly.
If all cars were replaced autonomous driving while I am alive, I would like the settings to be able to turn off autonomous driving because it would be less fun.
However, I want to see the racing in terms of human abilities.
It is not bad for technology to evolve.
Undoubtedly, autonomous driving can reduce traffic congestion, and it is likely that there will be fewer people injured in an accident.
Therefore, I think that it is a necessary technology and an evolution when considered in total.

If cars are evolving that way, what car choices should a car enthusiast now enjoy?
I recommend GTR.
It is a car that can be buy by a lot of people if it is used, and it is the most exciting and the most fun to drive.
I am very happy to be able to get this performance and fun for 5 million yen.
Regardless of the model year, GTR is becoming more and more popular all over the world and its value is increasing year by year.
I want you to try it once.

I think there are many people around the world who want to be like you, who was your hero?
Even I tell, young peoplewill not know as it's old.
Like Gilles Villeneuve.
A crazy F1 driver who was active in the late 70s and 80s.
Another is Keke Rosberg.
Nico Rosberg's father.
And Michael Schumacher is a hero of the same age (one year older than me).
But he is alos a co-worker. Every time he found me, "What are you doing?", he says.
As we are such a relationship, I am worried about his condition.

Could you give them some advice to people around the world who want to be like you?
I want them to know their own level without having to compare with other people how to ride and techniques.
It is important to enjoy the level up.
As for a driving a car, you can have an experience at my school that makes you surprised, "What!?" then I want them enjoy while increasing what they can do.
I am studying motorcycles in various ways.
It's not embarrassing not to be good at riding, so I want them level up of driving skills instead of over the limits.
I think that raises the level of life.
It's danger to force yourself to exceed your limits, and it's fine to raise your level step by step, and I hope they enjoy for level-up little by little.

Please tell us about the severe aspects and realities we need to overcome to be like you.
Burning Desire, no good without strong desire.
Even if people are playing around, we have to do it with the desire to get it.
But above all, we have to take care of own life.
And I do think you have to be stoic everywhere whenever.
It doesn't matter if it's a good thing, but you have to think strongly "This is absolutely".
Practice, practice, practice ... with a high target.
You can't always do it if you do your best.
From now on we can't be a 100m Olympic sprinter.
I want you to work hard while seeing such a reality.
It makes no sense to make unrealistic targets.
In addition, I think that it is important to be able to move the vehicle at the limit in order to enjoy the vehicle, to love the vehicle, and to step up.
That's what I do in my school, and I think there are such schools in motorcycles as well.
Knowing the limits is necessary for safe control.
But no matter how we think, motorcycles are more likely to be injured than cars, so schools that teach them safely are very meaningful.
Then, in the future, an autonomous driving school is likely to be needed.
It may not be perfect yet, so it necessary for us to know what it is.
I think you should learn the way of responce, instantaneously responce.

Finally, please let us know secret to enjoy your journey?
To Move around by myself.
If possible, drive your vehicle yourself to enjoy the atmosphere where you visit.
After researching it in advance, of course.




That above is what we heard from Michael Krumm.
He told us not only about travel, cars and motorcycles, but also tips for enjoying and improving them much more.
We hope that you will find it useful for enjoying your journey and vehicles.
Thank you very much for corperation of the long interview and shooting..



 
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