Salvador Servia laughs heartily – loud enough for his son, Oriol, a few yards away to pivot and return a smile. He’s relaying a story culled from more than four decades as a rally racer, enjoying the rides in the deserts and rocky outcrops across Europe with his wife/navigator Montse (above with Salvador and Oriol).
“In a rally that we won she felt bad and that was because she was pregnant with Oriol,” he chuckles at the memory. “I like to say Oriol was born in movement.”
That’s understandable as Salvador has been in perpetual movement long before his son’s birth. He’s been a rally racer who was twice the Spanish champion and competed at Dakar 13 times and Monte Carlo 11 times; a politician who was elected senator of the province of Girona; a political economist. Now he’s track director of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – host of a Formula One race.
And, in another of life’s tangents, he’s also recently a published author of “Lead the Life.”
“I am old but I feel young; I’m not interested in history,” he relays about a Spanish publisher’s initial interest in a manuscript. “Then they proposed to write a book about stories, and they liked it. They are stories about a long racing life. I have been racing rallies for 42 years, always rallies. Road and desert, and at all this time by my side has been my wife. So I wrote some recollections.
“It’s easy to read and hopefully interesting. At the end of each story I put a line with a message, and this is good today for the market.”
The Servias, who recently watched an IZOD IndyCar Series race in person, usually follow their son’s exploits via indycar.com and TV.
“When he was 12 he participated in school of driving karts. He traded water skiing for karts,” Salvador laughs. “And then he passed to Formula 3000 in Europe. But at the moment Formula 3000 was going down, he came to the U.S. and he did Indy Lights. He won the 1999 championship and had the opportunity to upgrade to Indy car.
“We have been in motorsport all our lives and we always helped him to reach his potential. Things are going really good for him this year. We’re very happy for him.”