When David Coulthard first met the Spice Girls, the pop stars had no idea who he was.
"I'm David Coulthard, the driver," he said. "Oh, right. What time are you coming to pick us up, then?" they replied. Ouch. But David can laugh that one off easily enough in Formula One circles, the two-time British Grand Prix winner and racing heart-throb is considered one of the best.
David Coulthard was born on March 27, 1971, in Twynholm, Scotland. His father ran a haulage company, but, as the champion says, was really a "frustrated racing driver". Shortly after his tenth birthday, David began racing karts, and by 1983 he was the Scottish junior kart champion. "I was lucky, because I found out what I wanted to do with my life early on," he says.
At age 17 he gave up his business studies and moved to Milton Keynes in England to be closer to the sport's UK centre. Working his way up the racing ladder, he started with the Formula Ford 1600 circuit and the Formula Vauxhall Lotus. In 1996, he joined the prestigious McLaren-Mercedes team, which marked the start of his fortuitous racing partnership with Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen. Today, the two champions enjoy the longest pairing in F1 history.
"I feel I am driving well, but I still know I can do more," said the winner of the Australian Grand Prix in July 2001. "I am gaining confidence with each season in F1. I am more knowledgeable about what we can do to get the most of the car and help the team during a grand prix weekend. That is showing in the way I am driving."
But knowledge isn't everything. "To give myself the best opportunity of winning, I have to make my life a bit better organised, and that means getting rid of the clutter." Into his personal bin goes what David refers to as the "junk" which encompasses virtually everything outside of racing, including thoughts of his romantic entanglements, which are numerous.
David once shared his Monaco flat with longtime girlfriend Andrea Murray, a Canadian model, but the two became involved in a very public row in 1997 and split up. He soon took up with American model Heidi Wichlinski, and proposed in January 2000. Little more than a year later they parted ways. The high-profile driver found love again, though. In June 2006, he got engaged to former model and Belgian television presenter Karen Minier.