Jack Sullivan: The First Days of My Journey

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Published on September 28, 2023 with No Comments

Racing has been in the Sullivan blood for generations.

BRACKLEY, England – Hello everyone! My name is Jack Sullivan, and I am a 17-year-old race car driver. I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, and I am a senior at Talawanda High School and a student at Miami University Oxford. I don’t know if I found racing or if it found me. I am a fourth-generation racer stemming back all the way to my great-grandpa Jack E. Sullivan, who I am named after. He was a WWII pilot and later a test pilot for the US Air Force. During the war, he spent his spare time racing go-karts with the other pilots. He also raced a P80 in the 1946 Cleveland Air Races. After the war, he bought go-karts for his two sons, my grandpa Jon and my great-uncle Terry. Jon went on to race MGBs and Terry raced Porsches in PCA events for many years. My dad, Jeff, did some PCA events and raced vintage karts at the time I was introduced to karting.

Four wins this year with the Piper (FRP).

In 2011, at the age of 5, I started my journey in the world of racing in a 1959 Bug go-kart at G&J Kartway. After racing vintage karts for seven years at small events, I moved up to modern karting in 2018, and from then to 2020, I moved up from local events to nationals. I made the step up into race cars at the end of that season with the Lucas Oil School of Racing at Sebring and then later at Palm Beach. After getting my SCCA license, in early 2021 we bought a 2009 Piper DF5 to compete in SCCA club and national events in the FF class. I won four races that year, as well as a Regional championship and a National championship. In 2022, we did a full restoration on our car and moved up to the Formula Race Promotions championship. In the 12 races I competed in, I picked up a win, four fastest laps and another podium finish. The 2023 FRP season was even more successful, bringing five race wins, eight podium finishes and a pole position in 18 races with the main highlight of winning a race at Mid-Ohio by over 21 seconds!

The Ammonite Ray FF car is available on iRacing.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Jeremy telling me I won a Team USA Scholarship. I was at a loss for words. To be given the amazing opportunity to showcase my talent on a global stage, meet so many new people, and be on such a prestigious list of accomplished racecar drivers means so much. We started preparations for our trip immediately by measuring for our new Team USA Sparco suits and booking some flights and a place to stay. I then made the trip to Indianapolis three times to do three, six-hour intensive simulator training sessions with Kelly Jones at RaceCraft1. This was very beneficial to Ayrton and me, allowing us to gain some knowledge of the tracks we’d be racing on, learn each other’s racing habits, and with the iRacing simulation software, we could drive the Ammonite Motorsport Ray Formula Ford.

The view of London just before we came into land was spectacular!

I landed at Heathrow in London last Saturday morning and met up with my teammate Ayrton at the airport. Ammonite’s Andy Low picked us up and took us to the shop to get fitted in our cars and familiarize ourselves with the team. We then went to our first night’s hotel in Banbury where we were able to walk around for a few hours and play mini golf and a round of bowling at two different arcades. It was nice to relax a little because we knew the next few weeks ahead of us would be really busy.

Ayrton and I met WSR BTCC team principal Dick Bennetts at Silverstone.

On Sunday, we met up with Elliott Budzinski and took our first trip to Silverstone where we watched the British Touring Car Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup Britain, Porsche Cayman Cup, Caterham Cup and Mini Challenge races. The races were all great, with cars side by side into Brooklands every single lap and we were able to see all of these in the wet and in the dry. While at Silverstone, we took some time to have a look at the museum which had a ton of legendary F1 cars driven by Senna, Prost, Mansell, Hakkinen, Schumacher and Button. It was surreal to finally see these cars in person, and even better to have seen them at such a legendary and historical track.

Our two Ammonite Ray Formula Ford cars at Llandow.

The following day we had our first test in the Ammonite Formula Fords at Llandow Circuit in southern Wales. We clocked in 143 laps, 10 practice starts, and got a feel for the cars in both damp and dry conditions. My first impression of the Ray is that it’s a very pointy car, and likes a bit of oversteer through the corners, which so far I have loved. Comparing it to my Piper DF5, I’d say that both cars handle fairly similarly despite the difference in setup and tire. The Ray will require a slight change in driving style but I look forward to how this will help me develop as a driver.

Having such a great test day has given us a lot of confidence going into the first of our two warmup races at Silverstone this weekend for the last round of the BRSCC Formula Ford championship. I’m super excited to race in these cars and at this awesome track. You can follow our races by using this link for live timing: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/233931. I’ll also be making frequent posts on my various social media so be sure to check up on those as well!”

To close out this first blog, I would like to thank Jeremy Shaw, the Team USA judges, all of the Team USA partners and supporters, and my family who have supported me and worked so hard to give me all of the opportunities to make the steps up to where I am now.

Until next time,

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