Will Palmer is a young, up-and-coming British driver who is competing in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup for the 2016 season with ART Junior Team.
Last season, Palmer raced under HHC Motorsport in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, after taking twelve wins from twenty-four races, Palmer went on to win the 2015 Formula 4 Championship. For Palmer it was a great feeling adding, “All the more special to do it a round early. After racing in the championship for both that season and the year before, it was incredible to finally be standing on the podium as the champion.”
For his 2016 season, Palmer moved across to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, a championship that he is looking forward to his debut, as he completed in one round last season. “It was clear straight away that it was not only a very professionally run series, but also a massively competitive one which is exactly what you want as a driver.”
Alongside his Renault 2.0 commitments, Palmer will be racing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, a championship that he feels is perfect to go alongside Renault 2.0. The championship races on several different Formula 1 tracks including Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest. So Palmer believes it’s a great series to compete in to learn more about these iconic race tracks and to have more time in the car. He believes it will be very competitive as drivers who are competing in Renault Eurocup are also competing in the NEC.
Competing for a new team is always different and sometimes difficult as you don’t know how the car functions and how it will adapt to your driving style. Palmer believes his experience with the ART Junior Team last year at Silverstone helped him to choose the team for him this season. “It was straight away clear that they were a very professional team and one that had the potential to fight for a championship.”
Palmer will be joined by Max Defourny, a racing driver from Belgian who last year became one of the youngest drivers to take a podium finish in the series. “Teaming up with Max Defourny, who was the top rookie in Formula Renault NEC last year, will be good as well, as hopefully we should push each other hard and help each other improve.”
Ahead of the first round of Renault 2.0 in Spain, Palmer feels it’s hard for him to set any real goals for his season adding. “As we’re yet to start any proper pre-season running which is normally a good opportunity to find out where you are compared to the competition and what you can achieve. That said, off the back off winning the 2015 BRDC F4 Championship, it would be great if I could fight for the championship in my first year in Europe.”
Every December the Autosport Awards are held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane, this is a unique award ceremony as winners are determined by votes from Autosport readers. Drivers across all different championships from around the world attend the ceremony. At the 2015 Autosport Awards, Palmer was recognised as British Club Driver of the Year, an award that is open to British drivers in any class of TOCA supports.
Palmer was pleased to be awarded Club Driver of the Year with it being particularly satisfying for him as it was determined by public votes. “It was great to see that the people watching had recognised my achievements and voted for me.”
Along with being awarded Club Driver of the Year, Palmer also won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, the award that aims to boost the prospects of young British racing talent. Scottish racing driver David Coulthard won the award in 1989 becoming the first ever recipient. Since then a total of twenty-six drivers have won the award, including 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, former Force India driver Paul di Resta, four time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, DTM aces Gary Paffett and Jamie Green and 2014 FIA World Endurance Champion Anthony Davidson.
For Palmer it was an amazing feeling to win the award and a moment that he will definitely never forget. “The whole evening at the Autosport Awards builds up to that final announcement, so for me there was a huge amount of tension before it. With such an incredible award package, including a McLaren F1 test, £100,000 and the prestige of being the winner, it makes a huge difference to any driver’s career and I hope it will do for me in the future.”
With winning the McLaren award, Palmer also received £100,000, a McLaren F1 test drive, full BRDC membership and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon helmet. He is currently waiting to test drive a McLaren F1 car, this is something that he is massively looking forward to as it will be his first time driving a F1 car.
“To do it with a team such as McLaren, which has so much history in the sport, at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, makes it even better. It will be a big challenge, as the car will be so much faster than anything I’ve driven before, but I’ll make sure to prepare as much as possible for it, but also to enjoy the experience rather than putting too much pressure on myself.”