Young Dutch racer Jules Szymkowiak is all set to move to the FIA European F3 Championship this season with Van Amersfoort Racing.
The 18-year-old driver has precious little experience in car racing, having only previously run in the Formula BMW Talent Cup, amidst his karting exploits.
A former motorcross racer, Szymkowiak discontinued his two-wheeled exploits following a serious accident several years ago, although the accident did anything but discourage him from racing. He wryly notes, “I opted for karting, which was safer. Although I have to admit that I was too eager a few times in karting as well and also got a few bruises. However, I have learned from such experiences, too.”
Noting the challenge ahead, Szymkowiak remains grounded when it comes to his outlook; however that does not mean the van Amersfoort man is unwilling to set goals. “I am well aware that this is a big step, but when you don’t set ambitious goals for yourself, you are getting nowhere.”
Szymkowiak continues: “It soon was clear for me that Formula 3 is the category in which I wanted to be. So far, I have already completed eight days of testing: two days at Silverstone, four days at Barcelona and two days at Valencia, and that went really well. A Formula 3 car is a fantastic car to drive and physically, I was very well able to cope with it, too.”
As well as benefitting from the expertise at Van Amersfoort, Szymkowiak is also supported by Formula One driver Adrian Sutil, who acts as a consultant and coach for the teenager. “I am often training together with Adrian and recently, I travelled with him to the Formula 1 test at Jerez.”
Szymkowiak concludes that, “This year is Adrian’s first with Sauber in Formula 1 while I am in my first season with Van Amersfoort Racing in Formula 3. We have both said that a position in the top eight in the final championship standings is our goal. Certainly, that is ambitious, but you need something you can focus on!”
Szymkowiak’s inclusion in the FIA European F3 field means that now 29 of the 30 full-time seats have been filled.