BRIGHTON, Colo. (Nov. 12, 2004) – Young Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., never imagined the turn his racing career has taken over the last two months. From a runner-up finish in D Sports Racing at September’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler, the 23-year-old driver now has his aspirations set on an opportunity to racing with a top team in the 2005 British Formula 3 Championship.
Ott hooked up with fellow Coloradoan Bob Schader at the end of the 2004 Club Racing season to drive Schader’s newly-imported Speads D Sports Racing challenger at the Runoffs. With limited testing, the team quickly got the car up to speed, qualifying just 0.043-second off the pole and leading at one point before finishing second to John Hill, of Seattle.
Further impressed with Ott’s abilities, Schader placed a call to his friend Richard Dutton, of the Northhamptonshire, England-based Fortec Formula 3 team, and asked for a test for Ott.
Ott successfully completed his test in late October at England’s Castle Combe circuit. The team, impressed with his immediate speed in a car he’d never driven at a circuit he’d never seen, presented Ott with a contract offer for the 2005 British Formula 3 season.
“I was a little bit off the reigning Formula Renault Champion’s times, and the team was pleased with that,” Ott said of his test, which included both dry and wet runs. “I’ve got a guaranteed contract on the table to run with Fortec [which finished third in this year’s Championship with James Rossiter]. Now, I just need to find the money to do it.”
British Formula 3 is considered the top series at its level for drivers aspiring to reach Formula 1. While the traditional path of European drivers en route to F1 has been Formula 3, to Formula 3000 and then Formula 1, Jensen Button was a recent graduate of Formula 3, jumping straight to Formula 1 after his 1999 campaign. Other graduates of the British Formula 3 series include Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell, Juan Pablo Montoya, Damon Hill and the late Ayrton Senna.
As with other top forms of racing, a season of Formula 3 racing is not free. A season-long contract, including 30 days of testing and travel, runs in the neighborhood of $750,000; comparable to series of a similar level series in the United States. However, that commitment along with success in the series could very well jump-start a driver’s career toward Formula 1, where an American has not raced since 1993.
“I think Steve has that magical quality of being able to feel the car at all levels and, coupled with his ability to focus, he gets the most out of a car very quickly,” Schader said. “He’s a great candidate for the SCCA to graduate someone into the upper echelons of open-wheel racing.”
In addition to his Club Racing activities, Ott has achieved success in several different types of cars, including the Pro Spec Racer Ford series as well as scoring a win in the Mazdaspeed Miata Cup Presented by Hankook Championship this year.
For more information about Ott’s opportunity, please contact Jason Ott at 720-840-6564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=196