Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Life in the fast lane - J’can driving star McConnell looks to hit higher gear in 2020

Published:Tuesday | December 24, 2019 | 12:31 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican driver Fraser McConnell takes his black, green, and gold race car around the track during action at the Canadian leg of the ARX2 Championship earlier this year.
Jamaican driver Fraser McConnell takes his black, green, and gold race car around the track during action at the Canadian leg of the ARX2 Championship earlier this year.

Standout Jamaican driver Fraser McConnell says that his memorable 2019 season will serve as a platform for greater success in the future.

The 21-year-old driver is coming off a historic year, which saw him lift the ARX2 championship in October, becoming Jamaica’s first ever rally-cross champion. He says that winning the title has made him more focused on achieving greater results, while elevating the spotlight on racing in Jamaica.

“Winning the ARX2 championship has only made me more determined while at the same time continuing to spread the Jamaican vibe all around the world,” McConnell told The Gleaner.

The championship was significant not only for enhancing the profile for racing in Jamaica, but also because he is was competing in only his sophomore year on the American circuit, having no previous background in rally-cross.

TASTE OF SUCCESS

“It was only my second year in the genre of the sport, and any prior rally cross experience would have watching YouTube videos or playing video games,” he shared. “So for me to be competing in my second year and win the championship, it’s hard to find the words to describe it.”

McConnell got an opportunity to share the success with fans, sponsors, and well-wishers at the AC Marriott Hotel recently, and he was all too happy to use the occasion to express his gratitude for the support he received.

“Being able to have all of the supporters throughout 2019 hosted at the AC hotel for 2019 was really special,” he said. “I’m glad I got the opportunity to show everyone first-hand how (important) racing is to me and to give a general overview of what opportunities await potential sponsors in 2020.”

McConnell made his debut this year in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, competing for team Olsberg MSE. He finished an impressive fourth overall with 143 points, while securing podium positions twice – first in the opening race in Barcelona and again at the season finale in South Africa, finishing second both times.

EYES ON PODIUM

His teammate, Oliver Eriksson of Sweden, took home the World RX2 title with wins in five of the seven races this season. McConnell said spending his inaugural year in America helped him to prepare for the step up in competition.

“It was my first time competing in Europe and my second time competing in the US. The first year in the US prepared me for what to expect in Europe, but it’s a different ball game over the Atlantic,” he said. “This year proved that the team has what it takes to go to the podium in 2020. We are going to try and stay on top for as long as we can.”

He is already plotting his goals for next season, which include acquiring sponsorship to compete for the world title and also venturing into the super car series.

“My goals for 2020 are very simple: try and get as much sponsorship as possible to compete in the FIA RX2 series once more. [Next] year ,we are going guns blazing trying to win the championship and also get enough finance to run a potential super car series or one-off events,” he said.