17-year-old Joshua Mason is riding high after just the second win of his young British Formula 3 Championship career.
The UK-based driver – who is sponsored by local real estate broker James Bovell – won at Donington Park 23 June, and now sits in 12th overall in the driver standings with just nine races remaining in the season. Mason says he spent his childhood vacations visiting his late grandmother on Grand Cayman.
“I think I performed well starting third off the grid,” said Mason. “I knew I had to push on quite early, so I passed the guy in second place off the line. Then I was challenging for the lead, and I had a chance to show people what I was made of. The first lap, the safety car came out, and that pushed everyone together. On the restart, I pulled away with the leader, and luckily the leader made a mistake on turn one, and I saw the doors open for me to take the lead. Once I put my car in the lead, I knew I had to keep calm and do all the right things so I could cross the line first.”
The young Brit has moved through the racing ranks swiftly, turning a childhood interest from the age of 11-years-old into a legitimate career path.
“I used to love watching Formula One when I was younger, and I did a lot of simulation racing,” said Mason. “I’d win quite often, and this guy saw how good I was, and thought I had the ability to go into actual car racing. He offered me a chance to do go-karting first, and see how I did. I did really well, and he took me on. I progressed for a full season in go-karting before going to F3.”
With the help of his parents, Mason zeroed in on British Formula 3 in search of a team that would give him the opportunity he desired.
“My parents and I looked for a team, and we saw Lanan,” said Mason. “They had a very positive background, they said I was good, and that’s how I joined the team.”
In his F3 debut – and just 13 Formula 3 races under his belt – Mason took the checkered flag on the final day of competition of 2018 at Silverstone. Overall, Mason says navigating through the grid in his first season proved to be a bigger challenge than expected.
“Winning felt amazing, but it wasn’t the way I liked to win because the race started behind the safety car, and finished behind the safety car, all due to weather,” said Mason. “It felt amazing to win at Silverstone, and at the end of the day, a win is a win.”
“My first season was challenging,” said Mason. “I wasn’t mentally and physically prepared for what I got myself into. After that, I knew I needed change, so I was fit enough to race. I only did half the season, because I had to my exams to do. After that, I continued and finished the championship with a win.
Like many young British drivers, Mason hopes to one day man the wheel of a ‘Silver Arrow’, and follow in the footsteps of five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
“He is my hero,” said Mason. “When he came on the F1 scene, he impressed me. He almost won the championship in his first year of Formula One, which I never seen anyone do. He is a very talented driver, and as a Brit, he’s open doors for a lot British drivers to come up the ranks.”
As he continues to balance education and sports, the 17-year-old realises he is a unique breed. It’s not everyday the guy beside you in math class is a race car driver. However, Mason says he’s just like everyone else.
“They think it’s really cool what I am doing,” said Mason. “All the teachers support me, but treat me like everyone else. They don’t put me on a pedestal. They teach me like other kids, and let me race outside of school as long as I do the work.”
With nine races to go, Mason’s two-year contract with Lanan Racing is set to expire at the end of the season. He hopes a strong finish will secure his immediate future.
“I’m happy to stay with Lanan, they are a fantastic team,” said Mason. “I haven’t spoken with other teams, but we aren’t sure yet.”
Wherever Mason ends up, he’s confident he brings more to the table than just talented driving.
“It’s takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment, he said. “I train fives times a week physically, and I do a lot of simulation training. Before I go to a race circuit, I have an idea of what I am about to do at the track I am racing at. A lot of social media is involved. When I am doing well, I post images to help me get potential sponsors around the world.”
(Photo: British F3 Championship)