Growing up surrounded by motorcycles, you probably would have expected Jack Doohan to have fallen in love with two wheels rather than four. However, one fateful day changed the Virtuosi Racing driver’s life forever and set him on a path to be one of the rookie stars of the 2022 season.
Reflecting on the tremendous highs and frustrating lows, the Australian saw the parallels in the story of his career so far and reflected on the moments that shaped him into the racer he is today.
A CHALLENGING FIRST FORMULA 3 SEASON
“Obviously, there were quite a lot of difficulties around the situation, which made the season terrible. But also, if that didn’t happen in a way, then I don’t think I would have been able to possibly have the second campaign that I had last year. I had to learn a lot of hard lessons on my own and really just think and try everything.
“I didn’t really have much of a platform to learn off unfortunately, so it made it an extremely difficult year. It harshly outlined my weaknesses and my very few strengths, if any, at that point. It shaped me well for 2021 to be able to deliver last year.
“At the time, everything that could go wrong, was really going wrong. It gets to the point where you don’t really know what’s going on and if it’s me - if I have any talent at all, if I’m doing the right thing, if I’m wasting my parents’ time, money and their sacrifices, everything. It took a toll; it was definitely very difficult.
READ MORE: Thinking pink with a Red Bull influence: The story behind Liam Lawson’s F2 and FP1 debut helmets
“When I jumped into the Trident car two days after the final round in Mugello and then I went to pre-season testing, I was initially right back at the front from the first run after I hopped into that car. Luckily, that was able to restore some confidence and some good vibes. There was obviously a lot that I had to learn, which they were able to help a lot with and I was able to really grow.
“It was a big reality check in 2020 for me, I needed to get out of this hole that I was in. I learnt a lot and had a few very hard lessons that shaped me into who I am and where I am today.”
CLAIMING HIS MAIDEN F3 VICTORY
“My first win in Le Castellet. It was in the Feature Race, which was quite cool. There were really tricky conditions, similar to my first win in F2 actually, which was quite strange. I started both races from fourth in similar conditions using wet tyres on a drying track.
“It was quite surreal and an amazing feeling to get my first win in a way on the big stage. Also, for it to be on merit in the Feature Race, in tricky conditions and to really get me on page was really good and it got me into a good position in the Championship. That win really kickstarted my campaign last year.
READ MORE: Calan Williams: A race in my words
“It was an amazing feeling exiting out of the last corner knowing that I was going to be a Formula 3 race winner and being able to really not worry about that anymore, not have that kind of weight that all drivers have. At that point in time, like this year has been, it was not a question of if, but more when. So, it was good to get it off early and then I was able to focus on the rest of the season, taking the wins that came if they approached themselves.”
BREAKING HIS LEG
“For my third moment - obviously, I followed that win with two pole positions in F3 and my three poles in F2 this year were good, as well as my first win in the Championship. But I want to pick something that actually made me and was possibly the reason why I went into cars and who knows what could have been possible...
“When I was five years old, on my birthday, I was riding bikes around my home with a bunch of my mates going around the go-kart track and I broke my leg. At that point in time, it was always two wheels for me and that was where I wanted to go, so if I hadn’t broken my leg then I possibly never would have had that fear of bikes so young and maybe never would have put me in the trajectory of going over to four wheels. I might not have been here in the paddock today without it!
READ MORE: There’s no place like home for Richard Verschoor
“I guess it didn’t give me a fear of the adrenaline rush at all because I spent the next two years doing BMX and then karting and that could have only been a couple months after my accident, probably when my leg was healed. I think it was just the engine, maybe the noise, the speed of the bike and just relating the crash and that fear solely to the bike, which was the issue.
“By the time I grew up and really knew what was going on, I was already in four wheels, so it was kind of already set in stone.”