Renault Sport Academy driver Jack Aitken has been handed the opportunity he’s been waiting for: the chance to drive a Renault Sport Formula One Team car, at the Jerez circuit in Spain on September 20.
The Anglo-Korean driver, who has been part of Renault’s driver development programme since last year, intends to be racing in Formula 1 full-time in the future, but he has yet to sample the top tier of motorsport machinery.
On Wednesday, his first step towards this goal comes true. The 21-year-old will complete a full day of testing in a 2012 Renault V8-powered E20, sampling the V8 engine that represented one of the most spectacular eras of Formula 1, before the current hybrid formula was adopted. The particular car that Jack will drive was used by Kimi Raikkönen to win the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
While the E20 is from a different generation of Formula 1, the performance and demands on the driver are comparable to a modern car. Previous drivers to have tested the E20 this year include Polish star Robert Kubica, who also drove for Renault Sport Formula One Team at the last official test in Hungary. However, this is the first time that an Academy driver has been run in the car.
Jerez is a significant venue as well: a former home of the Spanish and European Grands Prix, it has since been used for Formula 1 testing. Known for its tight corners and abrasive asphalt, the Spanish track provides a good all-round test of any driver’s abilities – and it’s normally characterised by good weather.
Jack said: “I’m hugely grateful to Renault Sport and the Academy for giving me this opportunity, my first ever run in a Formula 1 car! I know Jerez from racing there in Formula Renault so I’m looking forward to getting comfortable in the E20 and really having some fun.”