THAI ROOKIE CHAIMONGKOL SET FOR CAR RACING DEBUT IN BRDC F4 WITH HILLSPEED
European and World Championship kart racer Sasakorn “Cutter” Chaimongkol will graduate into single-seater car racing this year with BRDC Formula 4 Championship front-runners Hillspeed after today, Friday, 18th March, confirming a driver development deal with the team.
Currently balancing his motor racing activities with GCSE exam commitments at Giggleswick School in the Yorkshire Dales, 16-year-old Sasakorn will initially undertake a structured testing programme at the wheel of one of Hillspeed’s new Tatuus-Cosworth cars.
Where his schooling schedule then permits, the teenager will make his competitive debut in the championship with the race-winning Hathersage based squad. Hillspeed, of course, has been a central player in BRDC F4 since the category’s inauguration in 2013.
Understandably, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw is delighted to be working with the young Thai driver as he prepares for the transition to car racing and is relishing the prospect of seeing him on the grid later in the year.
Ollerenshaw said: “Cutter is a very talented young driver who impressed us hugely in his first test at Snetterton – after just one day in the car he was showing race pace, we’re thrilled to be working with him this year. Quite rightly, his education is currently taking priority over his racing so we’re focusing on driver development until he is able to make his race debut in BRDC F4.”
Notably, Hillspeed is renowned for its work with rookie drivers and has helped to nurture and develop some of the sport’s top talents – from the likes of former McLaren F1 Team protégé Cheng Cong Fu back in the early 2000s in Formula Renault, to BRDC F4 racer Ameya Vaidyanathan.
“Hillspeed’s development work with rookie drivers is something I am, personally, very proud of and we have a fantastic record working with the likes of Franky Cheng, Alice Powell and Sean Walkinshaw in Formula Renault, Tom Ingram and Seb Morris in Ginetta and Ameya Vaidyanathan and Faisal Al Zubair in F4”, added Ollerenshaw.
Chaimongkol’s career is being guided by motorsport consultant John Kirkpatrick who, formerly, was the respected owner of, and Chief Instructor at, the famous Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. Kirkpatrick, a director of the MIA (Motorsport Industry Association) and a colleague of Hillspeed team boss Ollerenshaw for the best part of 20 years, is excited for his young driver.
“This is the perfect next step for Cutter and Richard’s understanding of young drivers, what they need and when they need it, will allow him to develop his considerable talent in a planned and progressive way”, he commented.
Chaimongkol has been supported throughout his racing career by Bangkok based Maxima Oils. Speaking on today’s announcement, Chief Executive Sichart Ratanarat said: “We have been on a long journey and for Cutter to continue on to a car racing career has always been the ambition of the company and myself.
“I am delighted we can make the transition from karting to BRDC F4 under the guidance of Hillspeed and team boss Richard Ollerenshaw – his reputation for careful development of young drivers is well known, even here in South East Asia.”
Commenting on his partnership with Hillspeed, Chaimongkol himself added: “I am so happy to be joining Hillspeed. I have been karting since I was four years old and have been very lucky to be supported by Maxima Oils throughout. They have now given me the opportunity to graduate to single-seater cars.
“In my first test in BRDC F4, I was immediately at home – Richard and his team have given me great support and encouragement and I can’t wait to go racing with them and repay their commitment with some good results. This will be a learning year but I know I can be competitive – I won’t disappoint them.”