Buderim’s Harri Jones, 18, is on track to become one of the nation’s hottest names in world motor sport.
The local lad graduated from Immanuel Lutheran College in 2016 and spent his gap year racing both Formula 3 and Formula Ford events around the world.
He started off the year racing in the prestigious Bathurst 12hr, where he won the GT4 class alongside his European teammates.
In October last year he contested the Goulburn Cup, winning his first Formula 3 event (Formula 3 cars are two rungs down the ladder from Formula 1).
Another of his many highlights has been racing under lights on the famed Abu Dhabi F1 track.
He’s also completed 3 of the 4 rounds in the MRF Challenge including Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in November and December. The four-event series run by the MRF tyre company, features 18 of the best young drivers in the world.
Harri is currently sitting in 9th position and is hopeful of moving further up the international ranks when he contests the final round in Chennai, India this February.
“It has been absolutely amazing to experience racing against some of the best young drivers from all over the world, including famous names Maldonado and Gachot just to give an example of the pedigree we’re talking,” Harri said.
“I’ve loved representing the Sunshine Coast and Australia and I can definitely say that this type of racing has improved my race craft immensely.”
Harri is a recent recipient of a Local Sporting Champions grant from the Office of Ted O’Brien.
The program is an Australian Government initiative which provides funding assistance to young sports men and women participating at a State, National or International level.
“Young sports people aged 12-18 can apply for the $500 grant to assist with travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing at endorsed championship events,” explained Mr O’Brien, Federal Member for Fairfax.
“The sporting talent we have here on the Sunshine Coast is outstanding and I would encourage all our young up and coming athletes to take advantage of the program, Round 3 is open for grant applications now.”
For more information on the Local Sporting Champions grant – see here.
This Tuesday (16 January) Harri’s Formula Ford car will be loaded from Kunda Park in preparation for the final round of the MRF Challenge in India. His Formula 3 car will also be re-stickered in preparation for the 2018 season.
Harri intends to continue his gruelling Australian Formula Ford and Australian Formula 3 campaigns this year which sees him racing up to 20 weekends a year. He is also about to commence a dual degree in Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Queensland.
His five year goal is to compete at Le Mans, the biggest motor sport race in the world where around 60 cars and 3 different classes (LMP1, LMP2 and GTE) all battle it out together for line honours.