Driver Q&A Motorsport UK Academy and Team UK member: Olli Caldwell

Monday 08 June 2020

Name: Olli Caldwell

Discipline: Single-seater racing driver

Team: Trident Racing

2020 Championship plans: FIA Formula 3

Biggest achievements to date? Winning the Gulf 12 Hours.

How old were you when you started racing? I was 11 years old when I started my first outdoor go-kart race, and I moved up to car racing when I was 15.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Lewis Hamilton, his determination and skill easily puts him as one of the best racing drivers ever.

Who was your favourite childhood driver? I really enjoyed watching Lewis and Jenson Button race for McLaren. Two British drivers in a British team.

What made you take up racing? Since my first ever time in a go-kart, I loved the speed and exhilaration. There is nothing like approaching a corner at 280km/h and braking only 100m before the corner.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in taking up racing? Never give up, and always learn. If someone is faster than you, learn from them. Be active in situations and always push yourself to be better. Watching onboard video or looking through data. It will always help you.

Favourite road car? Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

When did you start racing and what inspired you? I’ve always enjoyed watching Formula 1 and BTCC and for my eighth birthday party I went indoor go-karting. From there I went to outdoor racing and my career started from there.

Favourite race track and why? I have two favourite tracks and can’t pick between them. Bathurst and Macau. Both are street tracks and unbelievable to drive. A mix of high-speed and slow-speed. Blind corners, huge gradient changes. The only problem is we can’t drive them more! Do you have any routines or rituals before you start a race? Leading up to the start of a race I always talk with my engineer and finalise any changes or goals. I then do a warm-up with my performance coach to prepare myself. Another thing I do is I always get in the car from the lefthand side and exit from the right. I’m not sure why, it’s just something I have always done.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? To go fast, you must go fast. This was something I was told quite early in my car career but has applied more recently when I started driving higher downforce, faster cars. The faster a car goes, the more downforce is acting on the car. In a high-speed corner the car will likely handle worse if you lift off the power rather than carry more speed.

If you weren’t a driver, what would you have liked to have been? I would have liked to be a pilot in the RAF. Motorsport has been compared to being a fighter pilot before. You need amazing reflexes, good eyesight, the speed. It is something I would like to have done.

What’s something that you have learnt from the sport, that helps you in your life outside of it? To push myself. In the car pushing yourself can be braking a little later, or not lifting so much in a certain corner. However, I’ve used this outside of the sport in my education and revision, pushing myself to do extra work or make it higher quality. Also, in training, pushing myself each session to make little gains.

What is your ultimate goal? My ultimate goal would be to reach Formula 1.

What do you think makes a great race car driver? There are many things that make a great racing driver. You need to be able to ‘actively’ think, maybe delaying an overtake by one corner so the car doesn’t get a slipstream, not pushing so hard in the middle of the race to help tyre degradation. If you can actively think this helps a lot as you can change your situation during the race.