We recently caught up with F4 racer Jak Crawford while he was performing a collective test at the famed Nurburgring in Germany. Jak was signed to the Red Bull Junior Team and Van Amersfoort Racing in November 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world just as Jak moved to Europe late in February to start his 2020 season. A couple weeks later and Jak would have been stuck in the United States, but Jak is presently living in Europe as he waits for the season to start late in July.
Jak, how has the experience been moving away from home and living in Europe? Where are you living and with who?
JC: I live near Amsterdam with a family and the dad works at Van Amersfoort Racing. They have two little girls. It is nice to have a family even if I am not at home in Texas. I am happy here.
What has it been like not being able to go home, or have your parents and friends visit from the United States?
JC: I have been in Europe since February, and I probably won’t make it home until December. My dad is saying that the borders to Europe may not open all year, but my family supports me in my goals that require me to be here. We talk on the phone every day.
How has the pandemic impacted your daily schedule, preparation and training?
JC: The races have been pushed back so it has created more time for sim racing, time in the workshop, and more schoolwork than I had planned. I cycle to the workshop, about 14 miles one way, from my home a couple of days a week, do some other cycling, run short distances and do some other physical training. I am not going to lie, I mostly sim a lot.
How busy do you think the next five months will be with a jam-packed schedule?
JC: There are some busy weeks coming up, but the season is two months longer. I’m not going to make it to SuperNationals in Las Vegas this year. First time in seven years.
Any complications with your race schedule due to the pandemic?
JC: I am racing both the Italy and Germany series, and there were no race conflicts before, but now there are conflicts on two weekends. It is a problem for sure.
What are your expectations and goals for the 2020 season as you enter a series and race at tracks that are all new to you?
JC: I have never raced at any of these tracks. I have more time testing in Germany than Italy. The Italian tracks should be more difficult for that reason. I want to win as many races as possible and see where I stand in the points after missing races, but the goal of pushing for championships has not changed.
What is the difference between car racing teams in the USA and Europe?
JC: I don’t think the very top kids are a lot more talented one place or another, but the on-track experiences are deeper here and they invest more into racing here. The VAR workshop is like a top IndyCar facility. Having my own engineer is a big difference. Teams and drivers test a lot more here.
What advice can you give up and coming racers who look to follow in your footsteps?
JC: Work on race craft and win big races in karting before moving up. It is too much if you don’t have the right kart experiences before you start.
For more information or future announcements, please contact Mike Maurini of RTD Media and Management via e-mail at Info@RaceTechDevelopment.com or 317.270.8723. Crawford’s social media platforms “JakCrawfordRacing” will provide updated information as well.