Charlie Eastwood has switched from racing in the BRDC Formula 4 championship in 2014 to Formula Renault 2.0 machinery this season, and has joined Strakka Racing for a dual-campaign in both the Eurocup and Northern European Cup (NEC) championships.
The nineteen-year-old Irishman, who finished tenth in BRDC F4 last year whilst driving for Douglas Motorsport, spoke to The Checkered Flag ahead of his first Eurocup race this weekend at Motorland Aragon, with Eastwood revealing that he followed other members of his family into racing, and felt moving into Formula Renault 2.0 in 2015 was the logical step for his career.
“From a very young age I have been involved in motorsport, as I have been watching my brothers race from before I could walk,” revealed Eastwood. “Also my dad raced Formula Atlantic a few moons ago.
“My career to date has been mostly kart racing. My biggest achievements have to be 2012 Rotax World Champion, 2013 Rotax Florida Winter Tour Champion, and 2013 Rotax European Champion. Last year I took my first year in car racing where I finished tenth in BRDC F4.
“The switch from F4 to FR 2.0 was part of the plan to step up the ladder. Last year we tested the car and then we looked to see what the budget was like and it was a lot more viable than the likes of Formula 3, which is why we chose FR2.0.”
Eastwood made the decision to join Strakka Racing for the 2015 season having spoken to them for the first time whilst testing for another team. He spoke highly about the Strakka team, with their experience of higher categories (Strakka race in both the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship) showing through despite it being their first full season in Formula Renault 2.0.
“At the end of last year we met at a pre season test where I was testing with another team,” revealed Eastwood. “Then we organised to do a test together with Strakka and straight away we ended up quickest.
“From then on Strakka was always a team we had in mind for this year. After seeing the workshops we had decided it had to be Strakka.
“Strakka just started in the category so they do not have a lot of experience in FR 2.0 yet but they have a lot of engineering background from higher categories and this was visible in certain methods they use whilst running the car.
“At the start of 2015 I went to New Zealand for six weeks to compete in the Toyota Racing Series championship to get me ready for this year of FR 2.0, from then I have been training hard and working with Strakka on its simulator to go into the season ready.”
Eastwood feels 2015 will go someway to defining his career, with the Irishman knowing that if he performs well in Formula Renault 2.0, it will bode well for the future. He is looking forward to racing this year, and has ambitions to finish strongly in the championship in both Eurocup and NEC.
“This year for me is massive,” insisted Eastwood. “FR2.0 Eurocup is a very high standard if I can do well in it, it could be a turning point in my racing career.
“I am not sure where it could leave me at the moment but hopefully I can make an impression to progress up the ladder. One option would be to stay with Strakka to race for the team in FR3.5.
“The big thing for me will be racing at all the very iconic tracks such as Spa, Monza, Silverstone and Le Mans, [and] for my first year in FR2.0 I would like to achieve top ten in Eurocup and top five in NEC.”