Growing up from racing in Esports to a Formula 2 driver, Cem Bölükbasi has had a far from conventional path to the grid.
Although his background is gaming rather than karting, he has had success along the way. We sat down with the Charouz Racing System driver to hear about some of his favorite things, his approach to racing and his little snag at the start of the season.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
“I was born, raised and still live in Istanbul, Turkey.”
OUTSIDE MOTORSPORT, WHICH SPORTPER do you admire?
“Roger Federer or Kobe Bryant. I just love Federer when he’s on the field and exemplary as an athlete. He also has the perfect personality because of what he does off the field. Kobe, he’s just Kobe. I look at his interviews, read books about his training and stuff, he’s great.”
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM THE TRACK?
“Doing nothing and resting is good. I like reading books, playing racing games. I love the official F1 game and it’s ridiculous because I’ve been playing that game for years. Now I’m in it! I am not often at home. I go to the gym a lot, work out. Even if I want to relax and chill out more, I still train because it helps me focus my mind on everything that’s going on and take my mind off the racing, which is beneficial. ”
WHO ARE YOU FRIENDS ON THE F2 GRID?
“I haven’t been active in the motorsport world for a long time. I don’t exactly know everyone on the grid because a lot of drivers grew up together in F4 and F3. They’ve known each other for a while, I didn’t really know anyone when I came up. I think Enzo (Fittipaldi) is definitely my best friend in F2.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL?
“A good burger, classic cheeseburger.”
WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKLIST?
“Being a Formula 1 driver and being at the very top, being a world champion.”
IF YOU COULD RETURN TO A MOMENT IN HISTORY, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“My first time in the race car, 2019 GT European Series at Paul Ricard or my first win last year in Budapest at Euroformula Open. That was pretty special, getting my first. Probably the podium ceremony as the winner.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE NOT A DRIVER?
“Mechanical Engineering because I was studying to be a mechanical engineer. If I wasn’t driving race cars, I’d be involved in making them. I got involved in Esports, but I was about to study engineering in Germany. I liked working on cars. I like the technical side, so I would probably become a mechanical engineer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SERIES?
“My favorite movie is the Pursuit of Happiness. Favorite TV series is Dark.”
WHAT’S THE LAST SONG YOU LISTEN?
“It was Swae Lee’s Guatemala.”
YOUR FAVORITE RACING MEMORY?
“My first win, easy answer. It was tough because it was my first race in the series and I had a one-race deal. I was very tied to the sponsors, it was difficult to find the budget for a second race and then it was very special to get the win. I didn’t get to celebrate much because I was in board meetings again, luckily they went well. ”
WHAT IS YOUR MOST ESTIMATED ASSETS?
“My first painted helmet I designed.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?
“Remember that you have prayed for the things you have now.”
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE?
“I like chocolate. I don’t really like the cake part inside. I would just have a super creamy and just intense, very rich version. Maybe a cherry/chocolate combination.”
WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT IF YOU COULD TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD?
“Maldives, maybe somewhere crazy if it was just once.”
YOUR MOST EASIEST MOMENT?
“I forgot my helmet at a security checkpoint at the airport. I had to run back but luckily it wasn’t the first security check, it was just after passport control. I just had two bags and the helmet bag. I left the helmet bag and went to the gate and sat there for about 45 minutes and was about to get on the plane but realized I forgot. That was at the beginning of this season.”