Tom Dillmann will be embarking on his rookie season of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2015 with the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin team.
The former GP2 Series race winner returns to a full-time seat in single seaters for the first time since racing for Russian Time in GP2 back in 2013, having only been a bit player in the series last year.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag ahead of the season opening weekend at Motorland Aragon, Dillmann revealed that it has been very hard going maintaining a career in motorsport, with the Frenchman acknowledging his father’s efforts through the years.
“My father used to race himself,” started Dillmann, “not only was he driving but he had always his own team and he was doing everything, team manager, mechanic, he was even creating and building his own race car. So I was around cars and racing since my young age, it came naturally.
“[My career] has never been easy, we couldn’t afford to race in a team so I could start racing thanks to my father doing everything. Even my first year in cars, a sponsor bought us the car (Formula Renault 1.6) another one the truck and we went racing, only the two of us.
“After that my talent and determination made the difference, without that I would never reach GP2 or even F3.”
Dillmann revealed he was not expecting to race single seaters full time again in 2015, and having been a super-sub in the GP2 Series in 2014, he was expecting more of the same this year. He said that he was invited to test a Formula Renault 3.5 Series car by Carlin and was signed up for this year just a few days later.
“Single seaters are the fastest and best cars to race,” insists Dillmann. “I did not expect it after last year, I was always going to receive some last minute call up in GP2 or elsewhere but a proper serious program and a full season is great.
“I was actually engineering an F3 car in Barcelona and got a call to test a Formula Renault 3.5 the next day in Valencia. I borrowed a helmet and race wear and a few days later I had a seat for 2015.
“Jagonya Ayam with Carlin has enjoyed great success in FIA Formula 3 in 2014 and they bring the same ingredients to Formula Renault 3.5 this year. We miss a bit of knowledge about the car as the team did not race in the series last year but I’m sure we will get there.”
Dillmann insists he will be looking to take the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title in 2015, and feels he is in a position to improve as the season progresses. He knows the importance of having a good season, knowing that he does not have a huge budget to fall back on.
“[I am] looking forward to be on the top step of the podium, sooner rather than later,” said Dillmann. “I don’t think we are ready to do the pole or win at the first race but we are near the top and we have a better margin of progression than anybody else.
“The goal is to be champion but of course it won’t be an easy task against second or third year drivers who are in the favourite teams. But me and my team will give it our best shot.
“I can only count on my abilities so having good performances is always going to decide my destiny. It is a great opportunity, maybe the same one I lost in 2014 so I will make the most of it.”