Austin’s Formula developing fast
ROLLING in on his cafe racerstyle moped, which he expertly tuned over the school holidays, it is clear Austin Pearson possesses motorsport DNA.
The 16-year-old Wesley College student effectively came out of nowhere last year to win the 1200cc Formula Vee title in Western Australia.
It was his first season in the Formula Vees after graduating from Tiger Kart Club, where his Formula 1 idol Daniel Ricciardo also raced as a junior.
He shares the number three with Ricciardo, along with similar ambitions.
Austin’s breakout year featured 21 race wins, a rookie of the year award and second place in his category in a national Formula Vee event at Phillip Island last November.
He lapped Barbagallo Raceway in a personal best time of 1min and 10.2073 seconds, a time not seen in the Formula Vees since 2006 on a smoother surface.
“I actually really surprised myself with the outcome last season, especially with the first couple of races I was in and again over at the Nationals,” Austin said.
“We went over (to the national competition) with the goal of getting in the top five, so we were happy as hell to get second.”
This season starts in March and Austin will progress to the 1600 Formula Vee category, regu- larly seen as a stepping stone to a higher level of motor sport.
Larry Perkins, Jason Bargwanna, Colin Bond and John Bowe began their careers in Formula Vee.
However, Austin will also need to balance his racing with study as he finishes Year 12, with national aspirations clashing with exams later this year.
Even at school, Austin follows his motorsport dreams, completing engineering units and joining a team that built and raced a car at Perth’s Electric Vehicle Challenge.
This year, Austin hopes to challenge FVAWA 1600 champion and president David Campbell.
“I’m hoping for the best result in 1600cc that I can, which means making the State titles again, then heading to the Nationals in Tasmania, then seeing where I can go from there to compete against bigger, more experienced racers,” he said.
“Next year I’m looking at a course over at Bathurst for motorsport and engineering.
“It’s a two-year course that could set me up for a lot of things, so that’s what I’m aiming for next year and the year after.”
Like Formula 1, the Formula Vee season in Australia starts next month.
“Formula 1 is something I definitely want to get into,” Austin said.
“It’s my dream, a lifetime goal and it would be amazing to get into.”
Wesley College student Austin Pearson had a breakout season last year.