I've Found My Soulmate.
David Coulthard can't take his eyes off the stunning blonde on his arm. He watches her every move, his eyes shining and his infectious smile growing ever wider.
Formula One ace David is in love. Almost as much in love as his beautiful girlfriend, American model Heidi Wichlinski.
As the couple pose for this exclusive photo shoot together, they seem oblivious of the snapping flashbulbs around them.
It's a clich, but they really do only have eyes for each other.
David, 27, is already a millionaire, one of Scotland's highest earners, and is among the elite of his profession.
He's just signed another year's contract with McLaren and is making headlines almost every race with team-mate Mika Hakkinen.
If, 10 years ago, David had been given three wishes, two of them have already come true.
A beautiful woman by his side and a jet-set life based in Monaco on the French Riviera. His third wish would be the world championship, but even that doesn't seem far off.
In the beautiful surroundings of Cameron House Hotel, at Loch Lomond, David is relaxed and in top form. Success and possibly finding the love of his life has given him confidence and a self-assured air that makes for a humorous, good-natured man.
As he lounges on the plush sofas, I ask about Heidi's secret for her perfect size eight figure.
"I chase her around the bedroom," laughs David. "She's always running away - maybe I should take the hint!"
The couple lap up the hours they have together, as their careers keep them apart much of the time. Heidi, 24, is based in London while David travels the world and only gets home to Monaco around once a fortnight.
"I haven't spent a full week at home since I moved to Monaco four years ago," he says. "The public just see 17 races a year in exotic places - they don't see all the testing and promoting that goes on in between times."
David misses his home comforts and says living out of a suitcase can become wearing - regardless of where he's racing.
"I see very little of the countries I visit," he says. "Quite honestly, all the races could be held in Silverstone and called different names and none of the drivers would notice.
"I don't really enjoy travelling, I love to come home and do normal things, but it's a very small price to pay for a fantastic job."
David and Heidi do live a remarkably `normal' life when at home in Monaco. David loves nothing better than to tidy and clean, although he's managed to kick the habit of ironing his boxer shorts. He employs a woman to do it for him now!
"I hate mess," he says, earnestly. "If someone asked me about my hobbies, I'd probably list cleaning amongst them. I can spend hours pottering around and rearranging things. Everything in the flat has to be just so."
Heidi raises her eyes at this and laughs. If that's David's only vice, she's a very lucky girl. The only other love in his life is Grand Prix.
But Heidi takes his regular 200mph races in her stride. She goes to races when her modelling commitments allow, but isn't the type to bite her nails in the stands.
"I don't get worried for David, I know he's very, very good at what he does," she says. "When there are accidents, it makes me think more about the dangers, but generally I just worry about him winning."
Sun-tanned from a recent holiday, Heidi turns heads as she strolls through the grounds of Cameron House. It's easy to see why she's a hit on the catwalks.
Heidi has a career and identity of her own, worlds apart from the image of the stereotypical blonde who hangs around on the periphery of the motor-racing world.
She's just modelled during London Fashion Week and for the Hugo Boss catalogue and strives to be independent. Although David got Heidi some of the clothes from our fashion shoot, she's at pains to point out that she usually buys all her own clothes.
David and Heidi have been together for 18 months, and work hard at making time for each other.
There's no doubt the couple have a dream lifestyle, but the price they pay is not being able to plan like other couples. And that's the only reason they're not getting married at the moment. When David is asked about he possibility of wedding bells, he smiles coyly and chooses his words carefully.
"We're not doing it because we really don't have the time at the moment. When I get married I don't want it just to be another date in the diary, in between racing commitments.
"I want it to be the biggest day in my life. And at the moment, that's just not possible. When we can plan it properly, we'll be able to talk about it."
Although David is settled in Monaco, where he isn't given a second glance in the local supermarket or any of the tiny principality's trendy bars, he has made no plans to settle there for good.
He visits his family in Twynholm, Dumfries-shire, as often as possible, and still hankers to settle in Scotland.
"I don't own any properties anywhere in the world," he says. "Our flat in Monaco is rented and that's a deliberate move so that I'm not tied to any one place.
"We do have a lovely life there and it's a really safe place, so I don't worry about Heidi being there on her own.
"We've made some great friends and it's got a village mentality, like Twynholm. Everyone's friendly and genuinely interested in you.
"We go to the beach about once a month, other than that we're not party animals or great socialites.
"I can't afford to be racing or testing with a hangover, so when we're at home - which tends to be for a few days every fortnight - we like to chill out and just be together.
"Heidi makes more sacrifices than me in terms of work so we can be together, but on the whole we operate as a team."
It's easy to forget David is just 27 since he's crammed so much in to his young life. But he has already begun looking to the future.
"I still have a few years left in Formula One, hopefully, and after that I'd really like to get involved in Indy car racing, which could mean spending some time in the States. That would obviously suit Heidi, but that's as far ahead as we've planned.
"One day I would love to come home, or at least have a house in Scotland, it will always be my home."
David's racing passion was sparked as a toddler by his dad Duncan's enthusiasm for karting. He was driving karts from the age of eight and racing his own kart at 11.
After leaving Kirkcudbright Academy with eight `0' Grades and one Higher, David had a brief spell at Dumfries Tech, where he was forced to choose between a business course and racing.
He recalls: "The course coincided with me leading in both Formula Ford championships, and the college wasn't happy with the time I was taking off. I think I made the right choice."
David is remarkably laid-back for a man who literally spends his life in the fast lane. Although he admits to getting nervous before a race, he never considers the potential danger every time he sets out on a race.
"I've been doing this since I was 11. It's in my blood," he says, "and I couldn't imagine doing a nine to five job. I suppose if I thought about what could happen it might be different, but it's my job, I just get on with it."
Surprisingly slight for his six-foot build, David is a big fan of fashion. His team are sponsored by Hugo Boss and he gets the label's new lines every season. He favours dark colours and his latest pride and joy is an exquisite Prada leather jacket.
"Heidi buys me a lot of clothes, and she's got great taste," he says. "I'm not a keen shopper, but I do like to look good on the rare times I'm seen out of my racing suit."
As David proudly hooks his arm through Heidi's and they disappear for dinner and some precious time together, it's hard to call them anything other than a perfect couple. They have it all, but are among the rare breed who enjoy every minute of it.
Styling: Kelly Cooper Barr
Hair and make-up: Terri Craig
Clothes by Cruise, Hugo Boss
Thanks to Cameron House Hotel for their hospitality
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 10, 1998|
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