1. Discuss the transition from amateur driving to professionalism. Describe in brief your weekly/monthly routine as a professional race driver, the challenges faced and the sacrifices required in your personal life and the life away from your home country.
To begin with, from the age of 2-3, I remember my father taking me on rallies, in Cyprus. At the age of 5, he asked me if I wanted to go with him at a racing truck in Larnaca to watch a friend of him there with a Go Kart. Without any doubt, I said yes. After that beautiful experience, his next question was if I wanted to get one too. I could not answer anything but yes! A month later, as an amateur, I find myself at GSP’s Stadium Parking, learning how the throttle and the brake work. After learning the pedals, my father brought me at the racing truck in Larnaca to start completing laps by myself. As a child, I was not tall enough to see over the steering wheel, so my father put me some pillows on the racing chair to reach the pedals.
After unlimited hours of practising every weekend, I won the Pancyprian Karting Championship for 7 years in a row, in different categories. My first races abroad, were in Athens, Patra and Thessaloniki with the Mini WTP Category. Then I represented Cyprus for 3 years at the International Rok Cup Finals in Lonato, Italy with my best result in 2008, being 13th amongst around 120 drivers all over the world. But also, 2011 was a promising year for me when I again got qualified at the Grand Final. My starting place was 4th, but after a hit from the back I finished the race in 17th place.
From that time, my family and I, decided to move on into a new chapter – the Single Seaters (Formula cars). After some tests with Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Euro Open in Valencia and Silverstone, I have completed my first races with Formula Masters Russia, a championship with Formula 3 cars in Russia, with impressive results, but I didn’t have the financial chance to do more testing days and races in 2016 and 2017. Then, I got an invitation to enter a Russian leading Team for two full seasons in SMP Formula 4 NEZ Championship. At that Championship, I brought my best results at Moscow Raceway, in 2017, where I stood on the podium all the 3 races of the particular race weekend (two 3rd and one 2nd place) and by the end of the year I have been chosen as the Best Spirit Driver for the 2017 racing season. In 2018, I had the chance to move on Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0. As Vladimiros, I am very satisfied with my results, as I only had 6 days to learn the car before the season started (on March 2018) and some other drivers learned the car months ago (from the December of 2017).
Now, how about my routine? I can say that my weekly routine is quite busy. First of all, I am training every day for around one and a half hour. At the same time, I am studying Business Administration at Frederick University in Nicosia. At this point, I would like to thank my teachers and the whole team for their big support. They are like a big family and they are next to you whenever you need them. On the week days, when I have some more free time, I go and work at my father’s Automotive Garage. When it’s possible, on Saturday’s I spend some hours at Daytona Raceway with my Go Kart, preparing myself for the upcoming Formula 3 tests or races. I usually spend my Sunday’s training out, running 5km each time.
Furthermore, the challenges until today were so much, with the biggest one the financial (and not only) support, but all those challenges brought me today where I am. I accepted them and I am much stronger and ready to face the future. When you decide to be a professional athlete/racing driver, you have to accept all the challenges that you are going to face, even if they were the toughest of your life.
In my personal life, I can say that I am a bit tough with myself, my everyday trainings and my outings. As I am training quite many hours per week, having my studies and my job at the same time, I have to sacrifice my outings. You can see that my outings are limited, as I go out with my friends three times maximum per month, because sometimes I prefer to spend my free time resting at home, next to the sea or on car trips with my family. In that way, I am getting myself ready for the new week or for the new tests and races.
When it’s time for a test or a race, I have to travel abroad and leave my country for a while (usually around 7 to 14 days). It’s not the best thing, especially at the first few times, but this is something you get used to by the time. This could make you stronger as you are doing everything on your own. Sometimes, I have to leave, then return for a few days and leave again, but this is not weird for me at all. Maybe at some point of my life, regarding to my racing schedules, I need to leave Cyprus for a short period, but this is the life of an athlete and you must sacrifice a lot things to achieve your goals!
2. How does your support network (your team) help you in terms of financial sustainability and success?
My Management team (Tziortzis Management Team), is helping me a lot. At this time, I want to say big thanks to them for being next to me so far. This year, we included some new members, who bring all their positive vibes into the team, which is the most important. I am spending some hours of the week to help them to prepare some articles or proposals and I leave the rest of the work to them because I trust them, and they are doing everything right. This is the busiest period for us, as we are searching for new partners and we are preparing everything for a successful 2020, which seems to be a really promising year. Companies that are interested to know more about our 2020 plans and about all the details on how they can get involved, are welcome to contact us through my website which is mentioned below or through my Social Media accounts.
Now, let’s talk about my racing team. So far, I am not in the same team every year, as most of the drivers because the budgets to participate are changing. Also, some of the sponsors could decide for you not to race in Europe but in Asia. Then, you have to make a decision and change team again.
Another chapter is the question most people have: “Do you get paid, for doing what you love? “. The answer is always shocking when I tell them that I am not getting paid, but I only pay for it. I know, it may sound weird, but to reach payment you must be in Formula 2, but again it depends on your agreement. On the other hand, in Formula 1, all the drivers are getting paid. So, you can get paid by entering a race or a championship such as “LeMans Series” or other endurance races where you participate with a racing car. It’s not such a big thing the fact that I am not getting paid because the experiences I gain all these years have completed me and made me much stronger for the future.
At this point, I would like to say a big thanks to the people who are next to me during the current year.
- To my Sponsors: Televantos Used Trucks Ltd, Holiday Tours, Eneos Motor Oil, A. Tziortzis Car Service Ltd.
- But also, to my Supporters: Social Media Management, Daytona Raceway, Frederick University, Sana Hiltonia, and the Youtube Channel called – Свои Люди.
3. How do you prepare for your life after sports? What are the elements already in place to help you secure your financial future?
Motorsport was always a little strange sport. This year you are racing, the next you are not. This doesn’t mean that you are not good enough. For example, if a sponsor decides for many reasons not to support you, then this could cost your whole racing year. Unfortunately searching for Sponsors in our days is very difficult, even for Motorsport Events. For some reason, most of sponsors out there are next to Football and not to other interesting sports. This is so bad for the future, as many professional athletes tend to disappear day by day because they are sacrificing their whole life to achieve the best for their selves, but they don’t have any support.
Motorsport couldn’t ensure my financial future. After I completed my school years successfully with very good grades, I took a diploma in Global College, in Automotive Engineering and now I have two years more to finish my Business Administration studies at Frederick University. So, all these could secure my future. I know many athletes that are only focused on their sport, but as I already said, in Motorsport every year is different. Today you are on top, but the next day you are in the bottom, a rare situation if you are professional, but sometimes it depends on the support you have.
4. What do you do in terms of building your personal image and brand?
Every athlete in our days must build their personal image and brand as it is very important. This is the first thing Sponsors see to decide if they are going to support you. So, with my Management Team, we have Press Releases before and after each race and Press Conferences during the year with my Sponsors and Supporters referring to them. Moreover, during all my races the logos of my Sponsors are on the car, so millions of people can see them during the race weekends. A live example was from the last race year in Monaco – Monte Carlo, where we were together with Formula 1 Grand Prix. Millions of people were watching the races from other buildings. Others came from abroad with their yachts. This is not an everyday experience and I can say that it was the best experience of my life so far.
Meanwhile, my Management Team is always working hard with professionalism for my Social Media, as it is an important chapter for an athlete. Also, a good personal image and brand building is necessary. Many athletes out there are real talents with massive results, but because of their “weak” personal image and brand, they are getting negative answers from the sponsors. In my opinion, a Sponsor in our days is looking for both of them on an Athlete.
5. What advice would you give to young inspiring athletes of any sport in reference to their prospect sport career?
I will focus on the challenges every athlete is facing every day during their career even if people don’t know about them. As I already said, every challenge you face make you stronger for the future if you want to be a professional athlete. A professional athlete must train hard, bring results, overcome any challenges that he/her faces and keep moving with higher and better results.
My advice to them is: “Never give up no matter of the challenges you face, even if somebody close to you disappoints you, if you get injured before/during/after a competition or if you bring bad results during your competitions. This is the difference between the professional athlete and the amateur athlete. A Professional athlete should always keep a thing in their mind: Dedication, hard work and results.
Thank you a lot for giving me the opportunity to be your guest of the current month and share my story with you.
You can find below the latest updates from my races:
Official Website: www.vladimirostziortzis.info
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8yBdhBLBL5AJdiDekLIv9
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vladimiros.tziortzis
Linkedin: Vladimiros Tziortzis