Volkan Isik, who firstly raced in 1989, Ali Sipahi Rally and who is one of the most spoken names from that time with his achievements and style in both Turkey and Europe and World Rally Championships, is this month’s Noble and Royal cover face… The rally driver who had his name rather frequently mentioned with his latest ranking in Italy in 2010, is a professional, a “dedicated” soul who is active in every fields of motor sports today… We talked with Volkan Isik, who is a sportsman, an educator and the forerunner of a new style with Volkicar which he has designed, about his sports life, essentials and dreams.
I guess, your car passion comes from your childhood. Otomoto magazine must have a special place in this interest…
Yes. My big brother Hakan Isik began to release Otomoto magazine with Ilkim Sancaktaroglu in the second half of 80’s when there were no publications like that in Turkey. Although it had attained a pretty good quality, the magazine couldn’t continue its publication life for a long time but I can say that my passion for cars has stiffened with that magazine.
My interest in driving cars has evolved into a desire for a test; at the end of my first race, I aimed for the sky. By changing the time that I spend for sports, I continued my way taking more professional steps.
This personal success story is actually your story. Maybe hundreds or thousands of people ask the question “Where should it be started from?”. Where should it be started from?
I think that much more people than the general thought are interested in this sport. As we take a look at the attendance rate to the organizations that we make, automobile sport is a sport whose popularity has increased in Turkey. We can say that Formula 1’s arrival in Turkey had a positive effect in this connection but the actual story is the automobilization of Turkey. When automobiles spread all over the base, automobile culture scales up and in pursuit of that, the interest in automobile sports increases. You actually get started when you increase the sports knowledge and manners in parallel with this process. Moreover, the important thing is not only to scale up the awareness of the people who want to perform this sport but everyone who drives cars. In addition, you should make the sports life of the sportsman easier in the meaning of both organization and budget, of course. We have aimed to make the amateur sportsmen’s lives easier, prepare them for racing and in twelve years, we have run five hundred sportsmen in order to prepare them to be pilots and co-pilots in Deltaspor where I have been maintaining the team directorate since 2000. Also, Volkan Isik Academy has undertaken the education part of the business and first step educations towards rally have been given to approximately two thousand people.
How Volkan Isik Academy charts out for the ones who knock at its door?
Actually, driving skills improve so much by racing. The basic driving movements that you perform in the traffic are the basis of this sport. Because the thing which we call driving technique is actually a physics law. If you are a racer, you drive the car at its limits, if you are not, you drive it slower but in both of them, the technique is similar. So, we try to open a door to make the one, who wants to race, able to race. However, if the point is driving with a certain improvement, we give education with safe and advanced driving lessons.
What is the rate of the women candidates in these educations?
Five or ten percent… That’s the rate that I can give for every field related with automobiles.
I guess, you hope these rates to change with Volkicar?
Yes, but there are things that women should do… They should show moral courage. We also would like to see their interests in the side of audience.
How a vehicle is Volkicar?
It’s a vehicle which can interest women – men, young – old, families… Its taste of driving is high… It’s sympathetic by all appearances… It’s convenient to organize entertaining races in small areas…
What does taste of driving mean?
A driftable automobile which can be controlled while drifting offers you taste of driving. When people hear of automobile sports, they think about speed but it’s not like that. Today, you can enjoy so much when you drive at 60 km/h. Being able to enjoy without speeding…
What was the first race youwatched?
In 1986, I followed a Rally car and went. That was something that I had no knowledge about that. It was a field that I read and followed by reading partially but I had never watched a race before. I used to ask myself “Where can I start from?”. I was not someone inside the sports community, there were no people I recognized. We would go to the races when rally dates come. Then, I screwed up my courage and decided to race. I can say that I dived into a community which I knew nothing about. But I have never thought of staying as just a racer; my dream to create a more integrated sport has always been there.
Apparently, Volkan Isik Academy and your sports directorate give the clues of this purpose?
Yes. I have been as a sportsman for a long time in this field and then coaching and directorate respectively. Engineering, commerce are the other things accompanied by the following process. In order to be able to extend the system, it is necessary to take place in many different steps of the business. In Europe, the mechanism has this seriousness but we are talking about a sport which still crawls in Turkey.
Do you ever get bored of the cars?
I am interested in all the automobiles in the automobile history, I always was. But I ride motorcycle for several years. I couldn’t cope with the difficulties to drive in the traffic of Istanbul! I’m on the motorcycle for ten months in a year.
To my knowledge, Volkicar can only race with other Volkicars, right?
Volkicar is an automobile which provides an opportunity to the people who like driving but it’s an automobile with its own concept. The target audience of the vehicle is the ones who follow automobile sports closely or distantly, in fact, everyone who likes automobiles. The biggest aim that we have adopted with Volkicar is to enter to the places where this sport can’t. We have made such an automobile that we don’t have any competitor! A Volkicar vehicle can only race with another Volkicar. There is a championship that we aim with V1 Challenge and we will visit the people personally with this championship.
The most important feature of this automobile is that it’s single-seater, there’s no co-pilot. I mean, it’s not a rally style car. The aim is organizing races in the areas where the people can easily watch. We have an automobile which can fit in small areas; if you want to improve the automobile sports, you should build a track and organize rallies which are big deals. With Volkicar, it is possible to perform organizations with a smaller scale and a wide extensity.
Volkicar met with large masses in Aydin for the first time. What’s the goal?
The first leg of V1 Challenge took place in front of twenty five thousand spectators in Hippodrome of Ankara in June. Then, it took place in Cesme, Istanbul Autodrom, Aydin, Istanbul Suadiye and Izmir respectively. We have blazed a trail in the history of the Turkish motorsports. V1 challenge has received the title of the most live watched automobile sport in a local championship in Turkey by reaching the number of forty thousand spectators in a total of seven races. And Aydin race just resulted in the same way as we desired. We constituted an organization, which people could watch it from their balconies, by closing the streets inside the city. Actually, we want to take place in many cities in Anatolia. V1 Challenge will travel Turkey region by region like a motorsports circus and organize an average of seven races in a year. This is the goal of V1. This year, V2 which is fictionalized as a second league under V1 will start. We aim more massive attendances in this league in which the regional races are organized. The model that we defined for Turkey is to spread the automobile sports to the base. Not only that, it’s providing the automobile made in Turkey to spread all over the world, to be able to make the name of V1 challenge which was born in Turkey to be heard in the international arena and we don’t only aim to export an automobile but a format, a brand, a championship. Until this time, we have exported 25 Volkicars in total to Turkmenistan and Moldova.