YORK TARGETS TOP 3 IN F4 BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP
York's first season so far in British F4 has been impressive to say the least – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Oliver York has been a standout performer in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup with seven wins and seven second place finishes in class, and this season’s leading rookie has big ambitions as he embarks upon the second half of the 2017 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost campaign. The Fortec Motorsports racer will switch from the Challenge Cup and focus his efforts on the overall championship in a bid to climb up the table from seventh and consistently fight at the front for race wins.
Although his Challenge Cup success has put him at the top of the class standings by a margin of 40 points, York’s motivation for turning his attention solely to the overall championship is clear: “Top three in the championship is my aim,” said York. “That’s what I’m working towards in the second half of the season.
“I believe I can achieve that and that’s why I have chosen to switch from the Challenge Cup to compete in all the remaining races this season. At the beginning of the year everyone aims to be in the top three and at the front. If you can take the title it’s a bonus.”
Andy Priaulx Sports Management (APSM) and iZone Driver Performance have been honing York’s skills behind the wheel during the summer break in an effort to help him fulfil his ambitions and prepare for a frenetic two months which will see the 16-year-old contest 16 races.
“The team at APSM and iZone have been working with me so I can hit the ground running. Both in terms of fitness and track knowledge. I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator and focused on learning the remaining circuits on the calendar.
“APSM and iZone believe in me. We all want to get that first British F4 win under our belts. We’ve already achieved a lot, including podiums and a pole position, but my first race win is the next big target. It’s the only thing that’s missing."
Further support has come from his those around him in the Fortec Motorsports team. Namely guidance from his engineer Dan Mitchell, team owner Richard Dutton and team manager Ollie Dutton who have created an environment in which York believes both he and his team-mates can excel.
“At Fortec we always want to achieve top results, but the team also tries to create an enjoyable atmosphere to help take the pressure off,” said York. “There are other things beyond just the racing. They understand that and create a relaxed environment for drivers which really helps while everyone works towards the same goal. We want to win, but we want to have fun while doing it.
“Oulton Park didn’t go to plan because we didn’t do any testing beforehand and I missed half of the first practice session because of a school exam,” explained York, reflecting on the ups and downs in his maiden Ford EcoBoost-powered season. “At Croft we were really fast in the dry, but then it rained in qualifying which threw us a bit.
“My pole position at Thruxton is my biggest achievement so far. The second place at Donington Park was also pretty special. I could have perhaps won that race. Jamie Caroline and I were trading fastest lap times. We ended up being about 15 seconds ahead of everyone else. We were so fast.”
York also has plenty of admiration for the F4 British Championship which is enabling him to build an excellent platform from which to progress up the FIA single-seater pyramid: “The racing in British F4 is one of the best things about the series. It’s so close. Everyone is out there for one thing and one thing only. To win. It’s what makes it so exciting and so special. You feel like you really have to earn your success.
“The championship is run incredibly well. We get a lot of track time and three 20 minute races every weekend on the TOCA package as the sole single-seater support series to the British Touring Car Championship. It means we get so much exposure with lots of fans and television coverage.”
York returns to action in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost this weekend (28-30 July) at Snetterton. Many will be keen to see if his hard work over the summer has paid off as he bids to finally stand on the top step of the podium in the UK’s leading junior single-seater series.
Alex Battipaglia (Source: British F4)