“An OK kart is very exciting to drive.”
While the OK season is not yet over, Oliver Gray can already be considered as one of the revelations of 2020 in his category. With the team Leclerc by Lennox Racing, the young Briton has found the perfect environment to blossom. Today, he feels ready to take up new challenges…
Oliver, can you introduce yourself?
I am 15 years old and I live in South London. My passion for go-karting started with recreational sessions at Buckmore Park. I started racing in 2015. I first got involved in regional events and then competed in the British Championship, which I won. In my home country, some brand challenges are successful and they also gave me the opportunity to discover international events. In 2019, I finished 2nd in the IAME Euro Series in Junior X30 and I was leading the International Final in Le Mans when my engine broke down… on the last lap of the race! During this season, I had the opportunity to try out the OK-Junior during a competition, which made me want to take part in a full season in FIA Karting.
What were your expectations in 2020 when you arrived in OK, with less experience than many other drivers?
Even though I was starting out a little bit in the unknown, I knew I could be fast. The tests I was able to do in OK really convinced me and I was very motivated by this new challenge. It’s a great category, with an extremely competitive chassis-motor-tyres combination, very exciting to drive. Of course, the first competitions I took part in at the beginning of 2020 were difficult. I tried to analyse the situation, the team always stayed behind me and the results started to come. My victory at Sarno in WSK in July confirmed that I was able to aim high. I was really happy after this success, because the standard is particularly high in OK, with high quality drivers.
In your case, was the lockdown ultimately beneficial?
I don’t know if it’s thanks to that, but I know that I took advantage of the period to strengthen my physical condition with a personal trainer. Every day he sent me a programme with exercises to do to perfect my preparation. At this level I came back stronger than I was. This was important because OK is still a demanding category.
You have just mentioned the team. How does it feel to race in Charles Leclerc’s colours?
I’m definitely proud to wear the suit bearing the name of a very talented F1 driver. Charles Leclerc is an example for all kart drivers. But above all, I am lucky to have a very high performance kart. Team manager Jordon Lennox-Lamb does a great job to enable me to approach each competition in the best conditions. Between now and the end of the season, and especially at the World Championship, I intend to do everything I can to be on the podium again and if possible on the top step! Then it will no doubt be time to think about single-seater racing, probably in 2021 in F4.
Interview FIA Karting / Photo © KSP