20 year-old New Zealander, Mitch Evans is a proven winner. From winning the 2010 and 2011 Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand to winning the 2012 GP3 Series Championship with MW Arden, the boy has obvious talent, and plenty of it.
He also has bags of charisma, and is extremely feisty, just like any Kiwi should be. So as you would expect when Evans spoke to The Checkered Flag about the upcoming GP2 Series season, and his future aspirations, he was bullish to say the least.
This guy wants to succeed, and god help anyone who stands in his way.
Evans retained his seat with RT Russian Time for the 2015 season alongside 2014 team-mate Artem Markelov.
After a fantastic 2014 in which Evans finished the season 4th, the team clearly view the Kiwi as their number one driver. Team Principal Svetlana Strelnikova said: “He (Mitch) belongs at the top level” and that she would be “delighted if he could challenge for the championship.”
Those are two points that Evans, who is one of this years title favourites, certainly wouldn’t argue with.
“It’s my third year and feel like it is probably my last year in GP2,” said Evans.
“The competition is going to be extremely tough so I am expecting it to be really difficult but I will give it my best, work hard and hopefully with a some good fortune I can compete for the championship this year”
The GP2 grid is full of young talent this year. Alongside one of Evans main title rivals in the shape of Stoffel Vandoorne, he also has to compete with the likes of Ferrari Driver Academy man Raffaele Marciello, 2014 GP3 champion and Williams F1 Team development driver Alex Lynn.
And if that wasn’t enough he also has Pierre Gasly, Alexander Rossi and many, many more to worry about.
Evans is fully aware of this and is wary of all threats to his success.
“I think Stoffel and I will have a good fight,” Evans told TCF.
“But I also think there will be others that will be extremely competitive. We won’t know until we get underway to who will be looking strong.”
Last year Evans picked up six podiums, all of which came in feature races. Evans assured me though that this was: “just a coincidence really”, and that he and the team are aiming to be consistent in both feature races and sprint races this year.
“You take any podiums and points you can get whether they are in the feature or sprint races.
“But my aim to definitely make podiums more consistent in both races over the weekend.”
Like most New Zealanders Evans is very proud of his heritage and his racing background. That’s why he hasn’t forgot his roots and certainly hasn’t forgot his friends from his karting days.
He said: “I speak to Richie (Stanaway) most days as we are at a similar level and been racing against each other for years.
“I’ve also known Earl (Bamber) for most of my career and it is great to see him land a seat with Porsche as he deserves a drive with a top manufacture.”
When you speak to Evans his determination simply oozes out and he doesn’t care who knows it.
One things for sure he wants to be in Formula One. In fact Evans believes he should already have ties with a team – and why not?
He is a GP3 champion and a multiple GP2 race winner. People have made it to Formula One on much less, as Evans was keen to point out on Twitter in regards to new Lotus F1 Team development driver Carmen Jorda.
When asked about his Formula One aspirations, and the fact that both Alex Lynn, and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, both of whom Evans beat in the Toyota Racing Series in 2011, have jumped past him to obtain Formula One roles, he pulled no punches.
“The fact the I have beat both of them and one has a top Formula One drive and the other a link with an Formula One team, I would have liked to be in Formula One by now,” said Evans.
“They are both GP3 champions like myself but I would say it is frustrating the fact they have involvement in Formula One and I am still pushing to open a pathway.
“But at the end of the day my cheque book can’t compete with theirs.”
It’s clear that Evans feel aggrieved at how finance can overrule talent in Formula One and the top bracket of motorsport.
There’s no doubt that Evans has the talent, the results and the personality to make it to the top level of motorsport. He just doesn’t have the wallet for it, yet.
Only time will tell if Evans can succeed in GP2 and make it to Formula One, it certainly won’t be for the lack of trying. But make no mistake, Mitch Evans is a name we all be hearing for a very, very long time.