Global superstar DJ, Team Boss at Carl Cox Motorsport and self-confessed “petrol-head” Carl Cox visited Bushy Park Barbados late last year during a nostalgic trip to the island. After enjoying the St Philip facility’s Karting and Swift Ride Experiences, he gave a wide-ranging interview on various topics from his early days in music through his growing involvement in motor sport worldwide to his thoughts about Zane Maloney.
Shortly after he ended his visit, which was facilitated by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Carl Cox Motorsport confirmed its first venture into electric racing: it will join Extreme E for its third season, which starts in Saudi Arabia in March, with driver announcements expected in the coming weeks. The innovative championship’s current line-up includes teams run by legendary motor sport names including Lewis Hamilton (X44 Vida Carbon Racing) and Jenson Button (JBXE), guest stars at the Barbados Festival of Speed in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Born in 1962 to Barbadian parents, who had emigrated to the UK in the 1950s, Cox’s passion for music is firmly rooted in the Soca and Calypso records from Barbados his father would play at family parties:
“I was too young to be downstairs meeting all of Mum and Dad’s family and friends, but one day I was sort of curious. Dad was playing the records and he said you can either stay down here and put records on or go to bed. So I stayed downstairs and played the records. From that point on, I was seen as Cox’s son plays music at all my Dad’s family and friends’ parties.”
From buying his first set of turntables at age 15 and heading out as a mobile DJ, Cox’s career followed a steady uphill trajectory, with his 15-year residency at Space in Ibiza between 2001 and 2016 the stuff of club legend. As his brand grew, so he was able to return to his second passion, motor sport: “I’m basically a motor-head, petrol-head, call it what you like. I’ve always been into cars, model aeroplanes, rocket ships, trains, anything that propels itself fast.
“I’ve been drag racing cars, street racing cars since I was 15, 16 years old in the UK, building my own engines, building my own race cars, for many, many years. One of the reasons why I stopped drag racing was because it costs a lot of money and I couldn’t pursue that kind of career at that time, my DJ-ing was the most important and I kind of left the motor sport behind.”
Carl Cox Motorsport started in 2013, initially supporting a single motorcycle sidecar outfit in the New Zealand Superbike series, sidecars being one of Cox’s particular passions. While Cox competes himself in hill-climbing, historic muscle car racing and dragsters – he has licences from the NHRA and IHRA, the governing bodies in North America and Australia respectively – much of the team’s business is support of others.
In New Zealand, the long-running Carl Cox Motorsport Cup caters for grass roots competition, with bike riders at the beginning of their careers, while sponsorship extends to Isle of Man TT sidecar racing, solo bike racing – riders including Northern Ireland’s 19-time TT winner Michael Dunlop – and the Manx Classic. On four wheels, CCM is backing Michael Clemente in the TCR Australia Championship.
Of his own exploits behind the wheel, having clocked 5.9 secs at 252mph on the drag strip quarter-mile in his Promod Mustang and 6.9s and 206mph on the quarter-mile in his MkI Ford Capri with a 2000hp single turbo engine, Cox says: “I know what it’s like to go fast, I know what it’s like to be in that hot seat. All eyes are on you, how you basically develop your skills.”
Talking of Maloney, Cox said: “Zane opening the door will influence others to think that they can walk through the same door. It is amazing to see in our time that things are getting more progressive in some ways, that someone from the island can be on a world stage . . . and will be on a world stage. There’s no doubt about it that he will do very, very well, especially with the islanders behind him.
“Everything has to start off small first and you work your way up to get to where you believe you should be. And the way Zane has come through and the way I have come through as well, it’s taken a long time to get here, it’s all done on self-belief, passion and, hopefully. support from people that love to see you do really well.”