He may have been overlooked by McLaren-Mercedes when it came to choosing a young hot-shot to follow in the wheeltracks of Lewis Hamilton on its young driver programme, but multiple karting champion Jack Harvey has nonetheless proven that he is more than capable of making his own way in the sport – by graduating to the prestigious Formula BMW Euroseries in 2009, on the Formula 1 World Championship support bill.
The Lincolnshire-based ace will compete in the one-make championship with the front-running Fortec Motorsport outfit and with the backing of the Racing Steps Foundation – and he already has the 'rookie' title firmly in his sights. Formula BMW has in the past produced such high-profile talents as current grand prix stars Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica.
The 15-year-old reigning Asia-Pacific and former European and British Karting Champion is clearly excited about taking the next major step towards his ultimate goal of F1, and he will begin his new challenge in Barcelona on 10 May.
“I'm incredibly happy to have been chosen to join the Racing Steps Foundation driver programme,” he enthused. “I'm anxious to see how the year goes and to see what happens – but I'm going to try and maximise the opportunity that the Racing Steps Foundation has given me to compete at such a high level in my first season of car racing. I feel it's the right time to make the progression.
“I'm looking at 2009 as a learning year. My aim is to make an improvement every time I get into the car, whether it's testing or over the race weekends. I still want to win races, although I'm not going to expect to turn up each weekend and put it on pole! The rookie title is definitely a target for me, but I'd like to hope that I can be mixing it with the guys with more experience throughout the season – hopefully from the first round, but we'll see...”
Harvey will make the leap into cars off the back of a superb 2008 campaign as a factory works driver with leading Italian kart manufacturer Birel Motorsport, with whom he had originally expected to remain to compete in the new Super KF class in 2009.
“We had a very good season,” the Bassingham-based racer acknowledged, speaking to Crash.net Radio
. “The start of it was probably the better half of the two, but overall it was very good. We had a win in Japan in the Asia-Pacific Championship – which was obviously a highlight of the year.
“The very last race was when we moved into the KF1 class. It was quite a big step, because with the super-soft Bridgestone tyre it was quite difficult in the first race competing against people who had been on that tyre for three years. Mentally it was a lot harder too, and while it was still an all-for-all, they're a lot more conscious about what's happening around them in KF1.
“We were third for 90 per cent of that race, but then I had a water leak with six laps to go – and it was really quite noticeable for the last three laps. The two people behind me on the last lap were actually able to drive around my outside, so I was a little bit disappointed with that – but in general it was a good season.