Finol Star of Tomorrow Championship Winner – Luke O’Faolain
Hear the latest recap of the season from 98FM’s Luke O’Faolain – why he chose to race in Formula Vee and some pointers on how a newcomer should get started. Luke O’Faolain has raced the whole 2017 season with the Newsome Racing Team, who have produced and maintained an amazing example of an Irish Formula Vee racing car sponsored by Dent Pro, along with a bit of luck as he mentions – has led him to winning the Finol Star of Tomorrow Championship.
How has the season been for you?
Up and down and remarkably lucky, I think. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people who had a great car, but, just… something happened – the engine failed, they got a puncture, and that didn’t really happen to me, which is just down to pure luck. So overall the season went really, really well, I didn’t know what to expect. I just thought we’d kind of drive around and have fun, but there’s so much more to it – so definitely more than I thought I was getting in for, but that makes it so much better.
Why did you choose to race in Formula Vee?
Everything else is too god damn expensive! and then the opposite is to go drifting which isn’t really an option and then there’s karting which I didn’t really have much interest in. So, the only thing that’s left is probably rallying where I thought I’d just crash, and, what am I forgetting? Motorbikes, no, they’re too dangerous. So, Vee’s seemed like a really cool… they look cool as well. They look like Formula 1 cars to me, single seater, bespoke, racing cars – and I heard it was quite cheap as well. It’s the cheapest form of motorsport, so, that’s why I went with Vee’s.
What has been your most memorable moment in Formula Vee?
God, good question. There’s loads of little small ones. There’s ones where you feel like you’re Michael Schumacher – there’s lots of small ones, but I suppose the main one would be, pole position in the B and C race in Mondello and then winning that race. I’m not in that championship but it was nice to know that I can keep up with the older guys. So, that was a nice feeling – yeah, that was nice.
Out of all three tracks in Ireland, which is your favourite?
Out of all the tracks, all three of them. God, I don’t know, they’re all like different people and who would I like to hang around with more. Mondello is closer – Kirkistown is so fast and then Bishopscourt you have to get right. So, I would probably go with Bishopscourt, actually. I think Kirkistown is quite easy in a way, where, there’s two big straights, so that’s where you do your overtaking and that’s just about it. You can do overtaking, in what? Maybe one or two more corners? But, you’re pushing it. So, it’s quite straight forward – I’ve got to get that turn right, that turn right and then overtake them on the straight. Bishopscourt, there’s lots of little small bits, I’ve found, and in Mondello, again, I think there’s only, what? Three places to overtake someone, if even? So, Bishopscourt for me.
Are you going to continue racing next year?
That is the big question, am I going to continue next year. That is a good question. I see – there’s only one thing stopping me and that’s money. Costs a lot, and at the moment I’m trying to concentrate on things like getting a mortgage and all that boring old s**t. So, if I can get a sponsor to give me a lot of money, I’m there, I’m one hundred percent there, not a bother. If I’m at a point where I have to choose between getting a mortgage or racing, I’m going to have to go with the mortgage, unfortunately, but I definitely want to do it. There is six months, I think, in between now and next season, so, at the time it’s just finding the right sponsor, so yeah, if I get a sponsor I’m there, count me in.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in Vee’s?
What advice, I only started out myself! What advice would I give to someone starting Vee’s – watch lots of onboards, lots of onboards, like, stay up all night watching onboards. Get the right team, definitely get the right team, the right car – as best as you can I suppose. Don’t go in thinking you’re the fastest driver in the world, because you’re not. When I did the Vee Festival last year I thought, I full-on thought, I was going to be up the tippy-top, like – laughable, completely laughable. It’s good to have that confidence, but jeez, give yourself a reality check. So, don’t think you’re the fastest driver out there because you’re not, these people have been doing it years. That’s really it, go in with low expectations and you’ll love it.