As part of our Castle Combe sponsorship, throughout the year we’ll be talking to many different faces around the paddock:
We’ve recently been chatting to Formula Ford racing driver Nathan Ward, who is driving for Kevin Mills racing in 2014. Here’s a little about Nathan both on, and off, the track.
“Nathan, tell us a bit about how you got into motorsport, and some of the best moments of your racing career so far?”
Nathan Ward started racing karts at age 14 in 2003 in the highly competitive Formula TKM category. In 2009 he made the switch to single seaters racing in the Castle Combe Formula Ford championship as a works driver for the Swift Cooper team. After an impressive debut season, Nathan set his sights on the class championship. Two extraordinary seasons saw Nathan taking the field by storm, regularly beating the top drivers, even those in the higher class. Multiple class wins and overall podiums showed that Nathan was capable of great things and he was awarded the Michael Dowsett Trophy as most promising young driver of 2011.
The final race of the 2012 season took place at the home of British motorsport, Silverstone Circuit. The Walter Hayes Trophy attracts drivers from all over the world and with over 120 cars entered it promised to be a frantic race weekend. Whilst battling for second place in a qualification race, Nathan was involved in an incident which resulted in a non finish. This meant having to start at the back of the progression race. Having started 30th and with only three laps to the chequered flag, Nathan overtook 27 drivers to claim a step on the podium and then proceeded to fight his way through the quarter final, semi final and finished the weekend by securing 21st place in the grand final against 30 of the top drivers in the world. When the final results were published it was calculated that Nathan had overtaken over 100 cars in four races, a feat many thought to be impossible and he received a personal mention in the Autosport magazine coverage of the event.
In 2013, the scene was set for a challenge on the Class B championship. Pre season car developments saw another burst of pace and this was reinforced with a class pole, win and fastest lap at the first race. It was a dominant season, where Nathan secured podium finishes in all but one race (due to mechanical failure). He also posted more fastest laps than any other driver and won the Class B championship with a round to spare. Nathan was nominated for the Keith Sprules Award (Young Formula Ford Driver of the Year) and won the accolade with a unanimous vote.
Now, with a great deal of momentum, 2014 sees Nathan join the Kevin Mills Racing team and move to the premier class. The 2012 BRD Spectrum is an Australian built car, renowned for its straight line speed and pin point handling. With the success from last year, all eyes are on Nathan for what will be another fantastic year of racing at Castle Combe.
“So that’s a bit about life on the track, how about off the track?”
Leaving school with A levels in Physics, Mathematics, ICT and Electronics, Nathan’s life was aimed solely at engineering. He accepted a deferred offer to study at university and spent a year gaining industry experience, but not just any experience…
Nathan worked for 6 months with the Force India Formula One team. Working in the wind tunnel facility, Nathan learned a great deal about engineering, teamwork and how to survive in the world of professional motorsport. His duties involved production of complex aerodynamic devices, installation onto the scale model in the wind tunnel and then evaluation of data captured.
Nathan graduated with honours from Coventry University having studied a four year course in Motorsport Engineering. Specialising in data acquisition technology, he used his background in motorsport to design and develop an advanced system for capturing the vehicle attributes and driver performance.
Whilst on a year in industry at university, Nathan started up and ran his own racing team supporting a number of drivers in different levels of motorsport. This proved to be valuable industry experience and Nathan gained a greater understanding of business management and customer service.
Upon returning to university, the race team evolved into a graphic design and production business; supplying bespoke, high quality vinyl graphics at competitive prices. He continues to run this business providing services to individuals and business to business.
Since graduating, Nathan has started his career as a professional engineer working at Jaguar Land Rover. After twelve months working in Powertrain Controls where his responsibilities included emissions testing and validation of the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system, Nathan moved to the Engineered to Order Division. This small team works on further enhancing the Jaguar and Land Rover products to bring new levels of performance and luxury to high profile customers all around the world.
So there you have it, an insight into the life of a young Formula Ford racing driver. We’ll be routing for Nathan at the next race, on Monday May 5th at Castle Combe.