Racers at Home Series: Nicholas Boulle

This is the third installment of this Racers at Home series. If you want to view my previous interviews with Zacharie Robichon and Dennis Olsen you can find them here and here respectively. My latest interview comes with with IMSA racer and former Rolex 24 class winner Nicholas Boulle.

Boulle dovetails his racing career with working in the family business, de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry. He was the first driver in history to be a licensed Rolex dealer to win a Rolex watch at the Daytona 24 Hours. He’s been spending to keep busy in lockdown, and is competing in the IMSA iRacing challenge. You can watch it at 3.10pm Eastern Time via this link here.

Q1) First of all, where have you been spending the lockdown?

I’ve been in Dallas for the majority of lockdown – near my iRacing sim setup! I’ve had to make a few work trips down to Houston as well and I’m getting very good at making the drive without stopping.

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Nick Boulle in action with his #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport LMP2 Oreca at this years Rolex 24. Photo: Nick Boulle

Q2) How have you been filling your time?

I’ve been doing the WFH as best as I can. This involved a lot of work on our companies website as well as pre-owned watch sales & jewelry sales. In addition, I’ve definitely taken some time to invest in my racing sim. It was pretty basic initially but now I at least have nice pedals and I’m going to upgrade the steering base some time soon too. The pedals made a massive difference so I am hoping the wheel base takes the same step forward for me. I’ve been playing catch up for sure but once I upgraded the pedals I suddenly saw the training value just by fixing that one touch point.

Q3) How did you assess the Rolex 24 for your PR1/Mathiasen team?

I always really enjoy working with the PR1 squad. Everyone on their team is there to get a result. It’s a family feeling, but no one is without purpose. I think as a whole we were the strongest team in the LMP2 class. And the guys actually showed that through the race even our mechanics & crew were just so prepared. I woke up to find out one of the guys had made a mistake on the banking and had to pit with damage. The guys got the car rolling and really were able to minimize the accident’s effects. Looking back, having learned what happened, we were just so lucky to have them prepared with the parts & capability of fixing the #52 on pit lane so quickly.

Q4) The IMSA season is due to resume in late June, do you think this is realistic?

You know… It’s really hard to say right now because it seems like more news comes out every day regarding COVID and safety & health measures around the United States and the world. I wake up most days wondering what information is going to come out that could change it all for the better or the worse. I’m excited though and it’s positive to hear about the steps IMSA is taking to get things going again.

Q5) Have you been joining the online sim racing trend recently?

I’ve been getting into iRacing a lot actually! My setup is pretty basic but I put a better set of pedals on it recently and it kind of opened my eyes up to how helpful it can be.

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The PR1/Mathiasen crew recovered from a small off to finish second this year, only two laps behind the more fancied DragonSpeed entry. Photo: Nick Boulle

Q6) What has been your career highlight to date in your career?

Definitely winning the ROLEX 24 Hours of Daytona in 2017. I’m not sure I ever found a picture of the car crossing the line which I had the honor of doing for the team… but that’s a special moment with a great group of people. Pato O’ward, James French and Kyle Masson were great teammates and still consider them friends. James French and I actually later had the opportunity to run together in IMSA twice thanks to the 2016 COTA round where we finished 3rd place.

Q7) What is your favourite race track and why?

I’ve got several favorite race tracks, but one in particular I have never been able to race in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship. I really enjoy Mid Ohio. It’s tight & twisty and a tough place to race, but it’s so rewarding when you get it right. I also really enjoy how much of a flow it has to it.

Q8) What is the biggest thing you miss about racing?
This is a tough question to answer because I don’t know where to begin! I would say the
beautiful thing to me about racing is that you live in a bubble for the weekend where the world is binary. The only thing that matters is winning and going faster. That’s maybe an oversimplification with sponsors, friends, family, team dynamics, but it’s how I approach the weekend.
That wraps up this interview with Nicholas, I would like to thank him for giving up the time to answer these questions! Go and follow Nicholas on Twitter here and be sure to check out the de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry website here. Next up next week will be IMSA DPI and Mercedes GT driver Tristan Vautier.

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