May 2024

Behind the wheel with Nyck de Vries

The Mahindra Racing Formula E driver on classic cars, camping carry-ons and being the ultimate wing man

Are you a good driver?
I’d like to think I’m a decent one! I’m quite sensible on the road. I respect speed limits and travel safely from A to B. If I have people in the car, I feel responsible for them, so I honestly try to be as boring a driver as possible.

How many times did you take your test?
I did both my theory test and my practical test just once. I put a lot more pressure on myself for the theory, though – I wouldn’t accept failing this one and I passed first time and with only two mistakes. As for my practical, I passed first time with no mistakes. I still remember my driving test so clearly. It was as if I had a remote control for the traffic lights – every time we came up to one, it turned green. 

What was your first car?
My 1987 Mini Moke. It was the first car I purchased myself and I still have it now. I thought it was a car that suited the area I live in and it kind of matched my personality – a little bit old school and little bit flashy, but not too flashy at the same time. I like that it’s so unusual. When I got it, it was in pretty poor condition, so I got it restored, had the whole thing stripped and picked the colours and fabrics and all the finishes, so it was a real passion project. 

First time you drove abroad?
I remember it was very early on, pretty much as soon as I could drive. I’ve travelled a lot with my racing so, as soon as I had my licence and turned 18, I was driving everywhere I went. I have to admit that it felt very strange the first time after passing my test and being fully alone in the car without an instructor. I was used to being alone in the car as a racing driver, but this was a weird feeling! 


The Grande Corniche route, between Nice and Monaco

Your favourite road trip destination?
When you travel a lot, as I do, home is important. I live in Monaco and the roads all around here – the South of France more generally and the other side as if you’re heading to Italy – are some of the most special to drive.

Have you ever crashed? 
Just a little parking damage!

Prone to road rage? 
No. I’m a racing driver. I have to stay calm under pressure! 

What’s your ultimate driving album? 
There’s not really any specific album. I just have Spotify playlists on as background music.

Most dramatic road trip story?
This story is kind of cute rather than dramatic. For a friend’s birthday, we gifted him a driving day at Magny-Cours, which is a race circuit in central France. There was a girl he liked who was on holiday at the time with her family in the west coast of France, so we were loyal enough to drive hundreds of miles with him to the place the family was staying, which happened to be a campsite. I’d never camped at that point, and we didn’t have a tent. We thought we’d be fine when we arrived. We were not fine. Everyone was fully equipped and we had nothing. That was a funny trip. 


Porsche 356 1500 Speedster in the Porsche Museum in the Porsche Museum, Stuttgart. Credit: Porsche AG

What car do you own now? 
I still have my Mini Moke. 

What’s your dream car?
I adore vintage cars, but still need to increase my knowledge to know what to look for. I’d love to have a James Dean Porsche Speedster. But if you’re going classic, you really have to know what you’re buying so you don’t get ripped off, and so that you choose something that is a good investment. 

Describe your relationship to driving in five words or fewer. 
What I live for! 

Nyck de Vries drives for the Mahindra Racing Formula E Team. The Formula E season runs through until the end of July, with the finale in London. You can follow the team on its social media channels @mahindraracing or at


This article has been tagged Adventure, Driving