British kart star Ollie Gray joins WH Sports ahead of single-seater debut

Rising British motor racing star Ollie Gray has added another string to his bow ahead of his single-seater debut with Fortec Motorsports in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost this year, after joining WH Sports’ stable of talented athletes.

The forthcoming campaign will represent Gray’s graduation to car racing, following a tremendously successful stint in karts. In 2019, the Chipstead-born ace won both the prestigious Motorsport UK Kartmasters Grand Prix and British Kart Championship at X30 Junior level, while simultaneously finishing as runner-up in the IAME Euro Series.

Last year, Gray stepped up to the international stage full-time under the colours of Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc with the Leclerc by Lennox Racing outfit. Contesting both the FIA World and European Championships as well as various WSK competitions in the OK class, he notably sped to an eye-catching victory in the WSK Euro Series at Sarno in Italy.

Now, the 15-year-old is ready to accelerate his career up through the gears after signing to race for reigning champions Fortec in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, which benefits from the considerable kudos and exposure of being on the ITV4-live televised British Touring Car Championship package. Not only that, but it has in the past helped to catapult the likes of current McLaren Formula 1 ace Lando Norris onto the fast track towards superstardom.

As Gray prepares to take his own first steps on the FIA single-seater ladder, the highly-rated Surrey teenager will do so with the full support of WH Sports – an organisation that has already carved out an enviable reputation in the industry for spotting and nurturing future motorsport stars. The ten-weekend British F4 season will get underway at Hampshire’s high-speed Thruxton Circuit on 8/9 May.

Ollie Gray, Athlete, WH Sports, said:

“This is a big year for me and my career. Having achieved success in karting – both nationally and internationally – I am well aware of the importance of maintaining that momentum as I move into cars. I obviously have a lot to learn in single-seaters, but I’m confident of being able to do so quickly and having a team of people around me to guide and support is a resource that will be absolutely vital. I am really happy for that to be WH Sports.”

Chris Harfield, Director, WH Sports, added:

“There’s no question that Ollie has been one of the top British karting talents in recent years, and we are delighted to be representing his career. He has excelled on the world karting scene and is now ready to tackle the next stage of his burgeoning career in British F4.

“With Richard [Dutton – Team Owner] and the entire staff at Fortec around him, Ollie will have a great environment in which to learn and progress. Fortec are hugely experienced at bringing promising young drivers on – you only need to look at some of the guys that have raced for them before, like Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Stoffel Vandoorne, and what they have since gone on to accomplish to appreciate the team’s enviable track record of success.

“Ollie has already conducted a number of tests in the car, the results of which have been very encouraging, and I have no doubt that he has a very exciting year ahead of him!”

Bearman joins VAR for 2021 FIA F4

Up-and-coming racer Ollie Bearman has taken a big step in his motorsport career by signing for leading FIA F4 team, Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR).

Chelmsford-based Bearman caught Van Amersfoort Racing’s eye during the course of a successful rookie season last year, with wins in both the German and Italian FIA F4 Championships. With VAR, Bearman should be granted many more opportunities to add to his victory tally in 2021 – not to mention challenge for title glory.

His results last year were achieved despite having the shortest preparation time for the campaign – only racing due to a pandemic-enforced delay in the motorsport calendar that allowed him to turn 15 just in time to compete in FIA F4.

His move to single-seaters was made with a mere handful of tests under his belt, yet he still out-raced and out-qualified many more experienced drivers, scoring several podiums in addition to his two wins.

VAR is a multiple title-winning outfit and following such an impressive first season in cars, the team’s CEO Rob Niessink said he was extremely happy to have Bearman on-board.

“While we were on our way to winning the championship with our Red Bull Junior drivers last year, Ollie was one of the guys always giving us a hard time, and when we subsequently tested with him in December, we immediately ‘clicked’, giving both sides confidence that our co-operation would be successful,” Niessink said. “With Ollie, alongside the other drivers that we will announce soon, we know we again have a strong line-up to fight for the title. Let’s go for it!”

Bearman’s success last year came off the back of clinching both the Junior European and Junior World karting crowns in the X30 class in 2019. The King Edward VI Grammar School student also had a triumph in the X30 Winter Cup in Valencia to his name, before taking the step up to single-seaters.

On this latest move, Bearman said: “I’m really pleased to be joining VAR for the 2021 season in F4. We had a very positive test at the end of last year and I am confident that we have the ability to be really strong together. There are a lot of good teams and drivers in F4, but our goal is to finish 2021 with a championship title. I am looking forward to getting on-track and preparing with the team for a big season ahead.”