Formula One probably seemed a long way away when one boy from Rochdale was inspired to start his motor racing career in the yard of his dad’s truck company, but Jamie Sharp has quickly risen through the ranks in his karting career and is now switching to cars with the British Formula 4.
Jamie Sharp will race with the family run team Sharp Motorsport this season, taking the step up from karting, and spoke to Overtake Motorsport about his hopes and expectations for the upcoming season.
The YRDA backed driver expects learning tracks to be one of his biggest challenges this year, but still has high hopes for his season and beyond.
“It [British Formula Four] just seemed like a good step up to go into because I was too young to go into anything else,” Sharp said. “We had the idea because we already knew quite a few people who were going it and we had a good idea of how it was all going to go so it was the best option for us to choose.”
Some of those people Sharp already knows are TRS Arden, who have been racing in the championship since it began back in 2014. Sharp ran in tests with the team last year as preparation for the season ahead.
“I started with the Young Racing Driver Academy and I sort of went the way of Arden. I started testing with them and it just carried on from there.
“They made you feel proud to be part of a big team. It was fun to drive with them because you meet a lot of new people.”
There are some things that testing with Arden can’t prepare Sharp for. Though the teenager has excelled in his karting, he’s yet to experience some of the tracks he’ll be competing on this season.
The British Formula 4 championship will take place over ten different tracks, all with different challenges which are best overcome by experience, which some of the racers Sharp will be competing against already have.
“Learning the tracks through the year is going to be quite hard in general,” he said. “If I can do that well, then that helps.”
Sharp still has some high aims for his first year in car racing, despite the challenges:
“I hope to be at the front of the grid throughout. Not something that is very likely to happen but I’m hoping it will happen is for me to be in the top three in the championship. That’s the big aim for my first year.”
And the future? Well, of course, Formula One is the big goal, but there’s still a way to go before Sharp reaches that level, and he’s taking the steps he needs to achieve before he gets there one at a time.
“I want to step up after this year, maybe stay in F4 for one more year after this,” he said. “It depends on what happens. And my goal in the future is to get to F1. That’s my goal.”
We’ll get to see what Sharp can do in a car in April, when the British Formula 4 season kicks off in Brands Hatch.
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea