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 exactly 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 really well, just like I did in the Formula BMW car.”