.• Wet Brands Hatch proves no barrier to single seater debutants.• Day of learning boosts confidence for further outings.
Formula Kart Stars trio Josh White, Sam Oram Jones and Luke Whitworth arrived atBrand Hatch on a wet and blustery autumnal day having never sat in a single seaterracing car before. By the end of the day all three had experienced, and excelled intheir first taste of ‘slicks and wings’ even if the slicks were replaced by more suitabletreaded rubber.
Reigning Formula Kart Stars Mini Max champion White, his fellow Mini Max driverOram Jones and Junior Rotax frontrunner Whitworth, earned their test drives with theFormula BMW Talent Cup thanks to their performances at the Formula Kart Starsround at Whilton Mill in September, which was attended by then head of BMWMotorsport Sebastian Herke.
“Going into the test, I was still excited, but also a bit nervous,” recalled Whitworth,whose only previous experience of the legendary Kent venue was in an iZonesimulator. “I’d had no preparation in those kinds of conditions, so it was almost a caseof having to learn Brands Hatch all over again because the lines are so different in thewet, but I just had to get on with it.
“The track was extremely slippery and I did have a few ‘moments’, but I really enjoyeddriving the car,” continued Whitworth, who earned two of his three podium finishes in2011 at Whilton Mill. “It felt totally different to a kart and was definitely a big leap,bigger than I had thought it would be, if I’m honest, and certainly an eye-opener.“I definitely got better as the day progressed, and as my confidence increased, I wasable to push harder and go faster and I made fewer errors. I just loved the entireexperience, and I feel it helped to improve me as a driver.”
At just 13 years of age Oram Jones was the youngest driver at the test but, likeWhitworth, was full of enthusiasm.
“It was brilliant today and I was very happy with my overall performance,” said OramJones, who finished fifth in the 2011 Formula Kart Stars Mini Max class with onevictory. “It was wet all day, and one other driver and I were pretty much gone from therest of the field. A lot of the other drivers had driven single-seaters before and so to beup with people of that calibre was really encouraging.
“Overall it was a good experience and I’d like to thank BMW for giving me the chanceto do it.”
Formula Kart Stars Championship director Carolynn Hoy was particularly pleased thatBMW were able to provide the three FKS drivers with their maiden single seateropportunity.
“Formula Kart Stars and the Formula BMW Talent Cup both share the same passionfor educating young drivers on and off the track,” said Hoy. “The Formula BMWchassis has been a successful part of junior formulae racing for some time now andit’s a proven product that allows real talent to shine through. I’m grateful to BMW forgiving Josh, Sam and Luke their first opportunity to drive a real racing car and I’m sureit won’t be the last time we see them in single seater action