Staffordshire racing driver Martin Plowman was bound to be a speed king.
The 26-year-old grew up close to Drayton Manor where thousands of thrill-seekers descend every year.
And much like the park’s famous Shock Wave rollercoaster, Martin is never happier than careering around the track as fast as he can.
After all, he is a Le Mans 24 Hours winner and World Endurance Champion.
But he still finds time to slow down and revisit his childhood home.
“I remember spending a good part of the summer break there,” he said.
“I got to go back there last year. It’s good to see that it’s still growing and doing well.”
Martin attended Rawlett School in Tamworth, where the majority of his family still reside.
An only child, son of Mark and Anita, Martin remembers dividing his time between school, Drayton Manor and his obsession with karting.
He raced in Karting from 2000 to 2006, before spells in Formula Renault and Formula 3 saw him move to America to pursue a career in IndyCar.
The move was a big one for Plowman, which saw him relocate to Indiana.
And there’s no doubt he has found a home from home.
“America is a fun place to be,” he adds.
“The country is so diverse from state to state, so there is somewhere for all tastes in life.”
For 2011, Plowman moved into IndyCar, the highest open wheel series championship in America.
The series is America’s equivalent to Formula 1, but is run on a mixture of road-course circuits and ovals.
In the three races Martin competed in, the Sonoma circuit in California stands out most.
“I was really proud of my race in Sonoma,” he says.
“I passed six cars on track to finish 12th and spent the entire race wheel to wheel with Ryan Hunter-Reay who just a year later would become the IndyCar Series Champion.
“It gave me hope that I could cut it at the very top.”
A strong showing in IndyCar failed to yield any future offers, and Martin was forced to pursue a new path – but one which would lead to the greatest accomplishment of his racing career so far.
In 2012, he competed in the American LeMans series, which led to a drive for OAK Racing in 2013 in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the upper echelon of Sports car and endurance racing.
“The best moment of my racing career so far was standing on the top step of the podium at Le Mans,” he recalls.
“There were so many mixed emotions of exhaustion, relief, and euphoria.
“It was then it finally hit me what my team and I were able to accomplish, so it was just a lot to take in.”
The team went on to take the FIA WEC championship at the last race in Bahrain, making him a world and Le Mans champion in the same year.
Now once again, Plowman faces a new challenge.
He returns to IndyCar with AJ Foyt Racing for two races at Indianapolis, the Indy 500 and the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis ran on the Indy road-course.
But above all this, it is Martin’s philanthropy which stands out.
With the amount of money sportsman earn debated on a regular basis, Martin just wants to give back.
“Motorsport, or sport in general, can be very self-serving.
“Of course my goals are to be as successful as I can be and win as many races as I can, but the truth is at the end of the day it will mean very little in 20 years time.”
Martin’s specific focus is Snowball Express – a foundation which helps support the children of soldiers who have died defending their country since 9/11.
“The soldiers who have served the United States and paid the ultimate sacrifice leave behind families who continue to pay the price every day.
“It’s important that we never forget the sacrifices of these families and continue to support them.”
Snowball Express is not the only charity Martin gives to. He is a dying breed of driver – dedicated to winning on Sunday and giving back on Monday.
(Pictures courtesy of Dave Hamster, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/davehamster/9198843761/sizes/l/, Alan Brockman-www.alanbrockman.com, and Betty Crosley)