Former Australian Formula 4 Championship driver Jackson Walls will make the big leap to Europe in 2020, after signing with Arden Motorsport to compete in this year’s Formula Renault Eurocup season.
It’s been a busy few months for Walls after finishing fifth outright in last year’s Championship, with the 17-year-old stepping up and holding his own in the 2020 Toyota Racing Series earlier this year.
Following on from his solid season in the New Zealand series where he finished 10th outright after securing a race win and top 10 placings in all but five races, Walls was offered the one-year contract with the renowned open-wheel specialists.
It was a deserving reward for effort for Walls who heads to the UK this month to prepare for the season which begins in April.
“When I found out about the offer, it was more a sigh of relief. Not only for myself but for my dad also because of all the hard work he has put in supporting me,” Walls said.
“The deal was on the table for the past six weeks but it was just a matter of finalising everything and trying to get the seat. I really had to push myself for the results over in New Zealand.
“We did winter testing in Europe with two different teams but the Arden seat came through a mutual friend after. We got introduced at Barcelona, had a quick meeting about my plans and started more serious talks in January, when I was given the opportunity to prove myself in New Zealand.
“I wasn’t overly confident I would get the seat. I just knew I had to get the results and I needed to impress them because they were watching the whole Toyota Racing Series.
“It was quite a tough series to be hoenst and I didn’t do as good as I would have like, but it was good to get my first international win because I really worked hard for it.
“This new contract is the biggest sign of release I’ve ever had and now I am getting a chance to do what I love against some of the toughest young drivers in the world. I am really happy because it’s something I have always dreamed of.”
While Walls will enter the series with just one season of international racing under his belt, the New South Welshman is confident he can perform up to the standard, although he is not setting any unrealistic expectations on himself for his rookie year.
“I am not shooting any goals yet – I just want to get through the first two or three rounds and then get a really good target to push for,” Walls added.
“The Arden move may not be to a title winning seat but it’s a good start for my first season in Europe. They came third in the series last year out of eight teams.
“I am feeling quite confident and they put a lot of trust in me, so I think I can get the most out of the car and help them along the way, especially since I’ve driven it before, I know the tyres and what to expect.
“I have had two massive goals in my life. One was to win an international race, which I did earlier this year and the other was to race in European series, which I am now going to do in 2020, so I am really happy.”
Formula Renault has housed many Australian drivers in recent years, with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, Alex Peroni, Oscar Piastri, Luis Leeds and Zane Goddard to name a few.
The Formula Renault Eurocup begins in Monza on 18-19 April.