Kiwi karting champion Jacob Douglas will make his single-seater debut this weekend in the third round of the 2020/21 South Island Formula 1600 Championship at Teretonga Park.
Douglas recently represented New Zealand for the fourth time in the ROK Cup Superfinal held in Italy. There, the 15-year-old won two of his three heat races only to have his chance at the title cruelly denied after sustaining a damaged nose cone two laps from the finish in the final.
Now, Douglas is looking to make the transition from karts to race cars and will be piloting a championship-winning Van Diemen RF91 Formula Ford in the remainder of this summer’s South Island series.
The exact car Douglas will drive previously won the national Formula Ford championship in 1995/96 and again in 1997/98 with Greg Tulett at the wheel.
To make the step up to Formula Ford less demanding, Douglas has been undergoing testing with the car at his home track in Christchurch.
“Although I’ve only had limited testing, I have found the transition to Formula Ford pretty good, not really too hard at all,” said Douglas.
“When I get back in the kart, it feels normal, and I drive it as fast as I can so hoping to transfer this to the Ford.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Formula Ford a lot so far and I’m looking forward to competing at Teretonga for my debut race.”
Douglas will be competing in all of the remaining four rounds of the championship. But he is keeping his goals grounded and insists his primary objective is to use each race as a learning opportunity.
“My goal for Teretonga is to learn the track as fast as I can on Friday,” he said.
“Wherever I qualify on Saturday I’ll be keeping my head down and focusing on moving forward and getting used the racing and the differences from competing in karts.
“My focus is on doing my best and learning as much as I can for going forward to the other rounds.”
Overseeing Douglas’ move from karting to Formula Ford is engineer Andy Neale who is equally eager to see how the youngster performs on debut.
“Jacob has transitioned well to Formula Ford,” said Neale. “He’s proving a good leaner. He’s has a stellar karting career and it’s now a case of learning cars and progressing over the season.”
This weekend’s round at Teretonga will be the last before the Christmas and New Year break.
The season then kicks back into action at the Invercargill Circuit over January 16-17, followed by rounds at Levels Raceway and Ruapuna Park.
Main Image: Euan Cameron