Milton Keynes-based youngster one of the fastest at Brands Hatch during his debut run in a single-seater
Kart ace Samuel Oram-Jones impressed in the Formula BMW Talent Cup test at Brands Hatch this week as he evaluates his options for 2012.
Sammy, who has been competing in the MiniMax class for 11-16 year olds this year, running in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series and the Super One Rotax Series, has enjoyed much success in 2011, including winning round seven of the FKS at Genk in Belgium, as well as securing the Lewis Hamilton 'True grit' award again.
Following those achievements and after finishing fifth overall in the highly competitive FKS MiniMax championship at the end of last month, he was invited to test a Formula BMW car and the Milton Keynes-based teenager didn’t disappoint during his very first run in a single-seater on Wednesday, October 26.
Indeed during the day, which consisted of six different sessions on track, broken up by a number of debriefs, Sammy was quick and consistent - and he quickly got to grips with the car, which develops 140 hp, accelerates from 0-100 km/h in less than 4 seconds and which two-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel used to launch his open-wheel career back in 2003. Although no official times were released, it was clear Sammy was one of the fastest and as the youngest driver there, the 13-year-old’s form was notable, especially as a lot of the other drivers had prior single-seater experience to draw on.
“It was brilliant today and I was very happy with my overall performance,” Sammy said. “It was wet all day - and one other driver and I were pretty much gone from the rest of the field. A lot of the other drivers had driven single-seaters before and so to be up with people of that calibre was really encouraging.
“The feedback I got was very positive and BMW would like me to come back now in November for the shoot-out in Valencia.
“Overall it was a good experience and I’d like to thank BMW for giving me the chance to do it.”
VIP guest Andy Priaulx, three-time WTCC Champion, BMW works driver and 2012 DTM driver was suitably impressed by Sammy and the two other British youngsters on track.
“The lads have done a great job on their first attempt. Brands Hatch is a very challenging circuit for formula novices. I’ve seen some great potential here,” he said.
Sammy’s form at Brands meanwhile follows on from another impressive test earlier this month, when he headed out to Italy to test a KF3 kart with crack outfit, Intrepid, as part of the Intrepid Driver Programme (IDP). The Pro Performance-affiliated youngster ran for four-days in total at Lontao and actually ended up quicker than the current KF3 champion, who was also in attendance.
“I thought the test in Italy went very well,” Sammy added, “and on the last day we were 0.14 seconds up on the current champion at what is one of his best tracks. I thought that was very good and it just proves I can do what is required. Obviously a KF3 kart requires a different driving style to those I have been using this year. But I think I showed I can cope with it well, just like I did in the Formula BMW car.”
Sammy’s father and manager, Emil Jones, meanwhile was delighted with how his son got on at Brands Hatch in the Formula BMW Talent Cup test. He was also happy with how the 13-year-old went in the Intrepid KF3 kart too.
“We’ve had a great 2011 with RL Racing Department Ltd and have taken some spectacular results. Sammy is definitely heading in the right direction and has really raised his game,” Emil remarked. “As part of our ongoing assessment of his options going forward we are currently looking at two potential works drives in KF3 and we are also evaluating the Formula BMW Talent Cup option.
“Sammy is quite young at the moment for the Formula BMW Talent Cup, but we feel with his attitude to work and his natural speed, it is something he can do well in and he certainly showed that today.
“It was a significant experience for him and he started off in the morning in the wet learning the car - the first time he had driven it. He got up to speed very quickly and didn’t go off the track. He was very fast from the outset and during the day got faster and faster. The feedback from BMW was good. I believe he was the most improved driver of the day. It was really encouraging and quite something to see.
“BMW are going to recommend Sammy goes to Valencia now for the shoot-out as he ticked a lot of the key criteria in terms of his attitude in the car and his learning ability. He was naturally fast in the car too and that was the overriding comment at the end.
“It is another boost for Sammy after his recent KF3 outing with Intrepid. KF3 is the highest level of karting in the world for 13-16 year-olds - it is an official FIA championship and sees drivers competing exclusively in Europe against all the best kids from around the globe. Sammy got use to the KF3 kart very quickly and the team commented he was one of the best drivers’ they have tested at this stage. Critically he was faster than the current KF3 champion too.
“We’d like to thank both Intrepid and BMW for the two test opportunities. We will have some difficult decisions to make now over the next few months and funding will ultimately be a key factor.”
Anybody that would like to get involved and support Sammy should contact The Sports PR Company on +44 (0)207 745 6160. Alternatively, Sammy’s father, Emil can be reached on +44 (0)7950 584034.