Jaden Conwright has set his sights on graduation to the Mazda Road to Indy in 2018, after demonstrating ‘dedication and maturity beyond his years’ during the course of a promising testing programme with single-seater powerhouse Carlin.
Conwright stepped up from karting to car racing in 2014, and after competing in the Italian F4 Championship last season – tallying 12 top ten finishes in the rookie class – the highly-rated young American joined the prestigious Carlin Academy this year. To-date, he has conducted four tests for the British outfit as a member of its Driver Development Programme, putting Carlin’s BRDC British F3 car through its paces at Snetterton, Rockingham and Pembrey and progressing consistently with each run – to the extent where he posted the quickest lap time in South Wales.
“All of the tests have gone well,” affirmed the San Francisco Bay Area, California-born ace. “Even on a dirty and congested track, my first day at Snetterton was a perfect opportunity to shake down the F3 car and slowly dip my feet into the concept of driving a downforce car, which is much faster than what I have been used to before.
Rockingham went even better and provided me with a great basis for what I needed to improve on before heading to Pembrey. The two days there offered the perfect environment to learn more about the British F3 car, because it’s a very short and technical circuit and we got a lot of clear laps in.
I was also able to compare my data with that of Carlin’s British F4 driver, Patrik Pasma, which was essential in helping me to understand the strong and weak points in my driving. By the end of the two days at Pembrey, I had a much better grasp of how to drive the F3 car and a lot more confidence to rely on its downforce through the high-speed corners.”
Conwright’s burgeoning momentum and admirable approach to his apprenticeship have rapidly endeared him to Carlin, a team whose illustrious alumni include the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Will Power, Sébastien Buemi and António Félix da Costa.
“We were pleasantly surprised by Jaden’s progress at Pembrey since his last visit to Carlin,” revealed the squad’s BRDC British F3 Chief Engineer, Mark Owen. “Immediately we noticed that he was more focussed, and with that comes more determination and drive“.
“Of course there is more work to be done, and in future tests we will concentrate on the finer details of both throttle and brake application in the high-speed corners, but it was a good couple of days. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to develop Jaden’s driving skills still further, and I’m sure his confidence will have been boosted by setting the fastest time of the test.”
“Jaden is the perfect Carlin Academy candidate – planning ahead for the next stage in his career to ensure he is in the best possible shape,” added the initiative’s Director, Trevor Carlin. “His dedication and maturity are beyond his years and his progress on-track has been very impressive. We have a detailed test programme to work through with him into the autumn, and I’ve no doubt he’ll be a great prospect for the 2018 season, whichever series he chooses.”
On the subject of the future, Conwright is evaluating a return back across the Pond to participate in the Pro Mazda Championship, the second tier on the well-established Mazda Road to Indy ladder. Inspired by Williams Harfield Sports Group’s success with Jack Hawksworth and Ed Jones, the 18-year-old is bidding to follow in their wheeltracks by forging his own path to the pinnacle of US open-wheel competition.
“Carlin is a world-class team, and the opportunity to work with them has been extremely helpful,” he acknowledged. “Moving from an Italian to a British team was a change, but I feel like I’ve settled in nicely and Carlin’s wealth of knowledge has been very beneficial to me. Over the remainder of 2017, the plan is to continue to improve my driving and understanding of the BRDC British F3 car and hopefully get the chance to contest the Autumn Trophy.
As for 2018, the option to go back to the States in Pro Mazda with the new Taatus-built chassis is a great possibility. The experience I’ve gained from driving the British F3 car – coupled with WHSG’s proven MRTI record with Jack and Ed – gives me a strong base from which to enter the championship and to pursue my ultimate goal of becoming a professional driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series and racing in the Indianapolis 500.”