Sir Chris Hoy’s stray from the relative serenity of the Olympic velodrome will see him pilot a so-called ‘rage buggy’ in the latest round of the British Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill this weekend.
The six-times Olympic champion retired from cycling in 2013 and has competed in a number of motorsport events including the European Le Mans Series, the British GT Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
But fuelled by memories of his idol, the late former world rally champion Colin McRae, Hoy will strap into the RX150 class for the first time, and intends to relish every minute of the ensuing, muddy chaos.
“It’s not a career, it’s a hobby and that’s the difference between my motorsport and my cycling,” Hoy told the PA news agency.
“Motorsport fits into my life, it’s not everything, whereas when I was competing on a bike everything else had to fit around cycling.
“Now I’m a father and I’ve got my own business and ambassadorial roles and 101 different things. Motorsport fits around that – but it’s a welcome escape.
“I love the feeling of being on the start-line and the adrenaline that comes with it. All those things you miss from cycling, you get in small doses through the motorsport.”
Growing up, Hoy, 44, was a big fan of fellow Scot McRae, who won his world rally title 25 years ago last month and was renowned for his fearless, attacking style of driving.
McRae died in a helicopter crash near his home in 2007 and Hoy said: “I think the legacy Colin left behind is remarkable.
“His driving style and the way he committed 100 per cent to every stage, I think that’s what really appealed to the fans, and it’s what drew me to motorsport in the first instance.
“There weren’t many Scottish world champions when I was growing up and I would watch the Commonwealth Games lawn bowls if a Scot had a chance of winning a meal.
“So to have a Scot who was at the top of his game, particularly at a sport that was so exciting and spectacular to watch, it was hard not to be drawn in and inspired by it.”
Hoy may have no pretensions of scaling McRae-style motorsport heights, and the ferocious will to win which sustained him through so many years of track dominance is now replaced by a desire to end his motorsport weekends with a winning style.
But once the visor clicks down and the race begins, Hoy admits his lifelong will to win – grounded in watching McRae’s remarkable era of success – is hard to keep at bay.
“For me a successful weekend is when I get out of the car with a big smile on my face,” added Hoy.
“But when I’m in the car, nothing else matters.
“In my mind I’m only focused on the next apex, the next corner, or the battle with the car behind me or in front of me. I’m entirely focused on that moment, and I love that feeling.”