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Olson Repeats Podium Finish in AFR Round 6 After Challenging On-Track Battles
Supported by Sideways Driving Club of Hong Kong, ChildFund International, Drift Innovation and BELL helmets, American Formula Renault pilot Pete Olson took to the podium once again today after exciting battles with Champ Motorsport/Buzz Racing’s Shigetomo Shimono, Julio Acosta, and Taiwan’s Roy Chiu.
However, today’s podium for Olson was only after a difficult but steady climb to the "Top of the Pyramid" in motorsports.
From days racing motorbikes in New Hampshire to Yamaha KT100 and Shifter karts in California, to the Rotax Max Taiwan National series where he distinguished himself in the rain, to winning the Bridgestone MTP F2000 series in Canada in 2007 and 2008, to this weekend’s podium finishes in China, despite success Olson has not has an easy climb up the ladder – though now he races in the same car that took Finnish World Champion Kimi Raikkonen directly to Formula One.
“It has been an incredible learning curve, going from a tube frame chassis [F2000] to Formula Renault, a much more advanced car with a different driving style, especially in terms of chassis control” said Olson.
“For the first few years in formula cars, I only had the money to compete in a couple of events a year, as I had to fund it myself for the most part. It wasn’t until 2007 when I did the Bridgestone Racing Academy F2000 series, working as a full-time mechanic to fund my racing, that I was able to do my first season, and then a 2nd season in 2008.”
In 2009, Olson could only afford to do two race weekends in Formula Renault with very limited ‘seat time’, when he moved out to China to coach for FRD Motorsports, and after breaking 7 ribs in 2010 in a motorbike accident, didn’t race until 2012.
In 2012, Olson raced for Champ Motorsports and finished in the Top 10, and currently is 3rd in the 2013 Asia Formula Renault Series, with stronger results this year in PS Racing, owned by triple Formula Renault Champion [Germany, Asia] Pekka Saarinen.
“Pekka is a master at car setup” said Olson. “Not only that, but as a big-time champion, he knows how to push a driver- and in the end, that’s what we all need – to be pushed beyond the limits that we make for ourselves as drivers – for someone to make us take more risk, to push beyond personal limits, to take to the podium.”
In Olson’s 2nd race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon, the American racer got off to a good start and had a challenging battle with team mate Alex Asmoebrata until midway through the race when Alex spun, putting Olson up into a podium finish with a large gap behind for the remainder of the race.
“Admittedly I gambled on setup somewhat” said Olson. “With mild rain mid-day, the team asked me if I wanted to go back to our fast dry setup – however, if we’d done that and it had kept raining, the car would have been much slower, as we wouldn’t have had enough time to change back to a softer setup – so I took a middle ground and kept the softer setup. That definitely cost me in terms of lap time for Sunday’s race, but we still made it to the podium.”
“The only where to go up from here now, is for the Win. We don’t race to come 2nd or 3rd, we race to win, this is our profession. We have eleven weeks until the September race, and I intend to take to the top of the podium - Eleven Weeks to Glory.”