For those of you who don’t know me, I am Oliver Webb and this year I am moving to the United States to race in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the 2012 season. Up to now, I have raced in Europe, competing in Formula Renault UK in 2009 where I finished third in the championship, Formula 3 in 2010, again finishing third and then World Series by Renault last year.
It's been a long hard winter so far, with training six days a week and meetings with my managers and sponsors in London. I have also been travelling to the USA to meet the team, based in Indianapolis, and sorting out the final parts of my contract before fully moving Stateside in January. On my return to the UK, I attended the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, where I was interviewed on the main stage, I took part in (and won!) a celebrity karting challenge as a member of the MSA Team UK, and have continued my role as development and test driver with British supercar maker BAC on the launch of the single-seat Mono. The Mono has been extremely well received by the motoring press, and has been awarded several accolades including, most recently, 'Stig's Car of the Year' in the BBC Top Gear Awards. I will continue to work with the team at BAC this ear, travelling back from the USA for testing and customer and media days with the Mono.
This February will be a busy one! An eight day testing schedule over three weeks means 15 flights, visiting Phoenix, Houston, Florida and Miami, travelling through Atlanta, Philadelphia and Indianapolis, before heading back to the UK at the beginning of March.
So far, I have completed my first test day at the Firebird International Raceway in Arizona and topped the timesheets, which is a great start to the year and I think puts me in a good shape for the rest of the tests with my new team.
I'm looking forward to a great and, what looks like, a very competitive year. A lot of drivers in the Indy Lights series come from Europe, and there are rumours that former series champion JK Verne might return to the grid this year.