This is my first ever blog for The Checkered Flag so I should probably introduce myself! My name is Dan Wells, I am 20 years old from Salisbury and I race in Formula Renault UK.
I started racing at the age of 18 in Senior Rotax Karts, before moving into Formula Ford 1600 in 2010 where I took 5 class wins, and then stepping up to Formula Renault UK later in 2011. In the latest championship I finished as Runner Up with 3 podiums in the 6 races and would like to go one step further in this year's Overall Championship.
Since the Winter Series it has been a very busy time for me – I have not gone to sleep before 1am since November 12th! Going into the championship we had said that if we didn't finish in the Top 2 of the series then I would call it a day – I set out to race because I want to win. Thankfully, I did manage to finish 2nd quite comfortably and beat many more experienced drivers, which was great – but it gave me the dilemma of having to raise the budget to race in the championship this year to go for the title!
When I first sat in a kart, I was mid-way through my A Levels in Politics and Economics, and I'm glad I paid proper attention in my lessons because it has come in handy sooner than I thought! Fans of motorsport don't always see what makes up the life of a racing driver – it was only a couple of years ago that I thought they just sat in a car twice a month! However it is very difficult to raise the budget to go racing – and it simply takes time and a lot of effort. One of my first ideas was to allow fans to get involved with me and have a website where they could support my efforts – so I set up www.gofundme.com/danwellsracing and I was humbled by the response – in just over 6 weeks I have raised over £6,000 and also spoken to hundreds of people over Twitter and Facebook who are all interested in motor racing. Offline, I have been working hard to make contacts and get sponsorship too. Since starting this, BAM Motorsport Group got in touch and we have since been working together to ensure I am on the grid this season – and I hope we can make it! On top of this I also have a part time job at Waitrose Salisbury where I work as a supermarket assistant to help with my living costs. Waitrose have been very supportive of my career choice and we will be having a promotional day with my car outside Waitrose Salisbury on February 18th – if you are local come along and say hi!
The first big motorsport event of the year was of course the Autosport Show where I was running around like a headless chicken on all four days! There were plenty of meetings regarding this years racing, and some sponsorship deals to be made. The longest day for me was 18 hours and I was pretty shattered by the end of it! I took part in the Ginetta sponsored Race2Recovery kart race which was hugely enjoyable, although there were a few red flags! I ended up with the 4th fastest lap against an extremely competitive field which I was pretty pleased about. I also announced my partnership with Motorsport XS (www.motorsportxs.com), a company who run a scheme for fans where they can become members and receive discounts in more than 60 different motorsport related online stores – to make motorsport more accessible. I also spoke on the F1 Racing stand for the Henry Surtees Foundation Charity Auction (where one fan picked up Heikki Kovalainen's suit for more than £1000!) and was interviewed by Alan Hyde on the Formula Kart Stars stand. I really enjoyed the week and topped it off by going P2 on the iZone karting simulator!
In January I was also invited to join the select MSA Academy squad which gives me access to some of the best coaching from the likes of David Brabham, Dave Collins, Robert Reid and the rest of the team. The first day took place on February 1st at the Porsche Human Performance Centre at Silverstone and I am excited by what the scheme has to offer and the future development opportunities. I had a 2 hour journey home afterwards where my heater had broken so I was pretty frozen by the end of it – however it was warming to find out that I had been selected as Number 13 (lucky for me thankfully) on the Motorsport News 'Fast 50' list. All these things add up and I hope the momentum can continueâ€¦
I hope to be able to have some news soon to say that I will be racing in Formula Renault UK with Atech Reid GP this year – but there is a long way to go yet. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me so far – and please stay tunedâ€¦