Formula Renault BARC ace Ollie Hancock heads to Thruxton next weekend knowing that only four points stand between him and a first single-seater championship.
Nearest rival Johannes Seidlitz lies 47 points behind the Hook driver who can afford to finish seventh in Sunday’s race and still take the title.
The 20 year-old has enjoyed a fantastic 2008 campaign so far, winning five times and visiting the podium on a further three occasions. His lead at the top of the standings is so substantial in fact that the Hampshire youngster can wrap up the crown with two races still remaining.
Becoming BARC champion would cap off what has already been a successful year for Ollie after he was named as a British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star in June. The scheme opens the door to the prestigious Club for young racers and is an invitation only programme for a selection of the most talented up and coming racing drivers in the UK.
Said Ollie; “I’m very relaxed and am just going to treat it like any other normal race. I’m not going to have the championship at the forefront of my mind and just go for a solid points finish.
“There’s always a chance that when you’re fighting for position you might make contact and fall off. But to be honest if the pace is there, and I know the car is very good at Thruxton, and I can win the race comfortably without having to put anything at risk then why not go for the win? I’m not going to change anything that I’ve been doing all year for this one race just because of the championship. I will do exactly the same; get my head down and get some points."
Thruxton is Ollie’s local circuit where he currently works as a performance car demonstrator and instructor piloting race-prepared supercars. But far from benefitting from that knowledge, he remains coy over his chances:
“There’s this little thing called the Thruxton curse. It’s a private thing that involves all of the instructors that work there. None of them seem to have any luck at the circuit. I didn’t have bad luck there last year but no one ever seems to win. I’ve got a lot of track knowledge and I’ll use it to my advantage where I can but I can’t say that driving round in a road car all day, every day with other people driving is going to help me.”
If he is successful in taking the championship at Thruxton, Ollie plans to skip his final two races and move up to the senior Formula Renault UK category for the season-finale at Brands Hatch in mid September with a view to joining its ranks permanently in 2009.
“We’ll look for some more money first of all, that’s step one,” he said. “Step two is talking to other teams. The natural progression is UK Formula Renault. Obviously we’re looking at F3 as well and even World Series but that’s mega-money. It just depends on somebody who wants to become a partner and obviously they’ll have a say in where we go and what we do.”