18-year-old Sunshine Coast racing driver Harri Jones will become the latest competitor to represent Australia on the world stage, when he lines up in the Indian and Middle Eastern-based MRF Challenge open-wheel category this summer.
Jones has already established a formidable reputation for adapting between different vehicles, having spent 2017 racing a diverse array of machinery. His season started in fine style when he won the GT4 Class at February’s Bathurst 12 Hour, after receiving a late call-up to drive with the international PROsport Performance team in a Porsche Cayman.
He also competed in the Australian Formula Ford Series, finishing eighth in the highly-competitive junior development category with a best result of third overall in the final round at Phillip Island, along with the Heritage Touring Car Series in a Group A BMW M3.
Jones said the MRF Challenge presents an opportunity to gain valuable seat time during the Australian off-season.
“There aren’t many chances to race in Australia over the summer, so the MRF Challenge is a good way of keeping myself sharp, while also developing my skills in a car that is heavily reliant on aerodynamics,” Jones said.
“The MRF deal came about after I tested a Radical with James Winslow at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier in the year – we were talking about potential options and James suggested MRF Challenge.
“The cars are very similar to Formula 3 cars and a lot of other drivers have used the series to gain track time as well, including Joey Mawson and Mick Schumacher, so it’s a series that has great pedigree.”
The MRF Challenge cars use a Dallara Formula 3 chassis powered by a 2.0 Litre Duratec engine, driven through a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox. To prepare himself, Jones will compete in the final round of the Australian Formula 3 Series at Wakefield Park, 21-22 October.
“Doing the last round of the F3 Series, on a track where I’ve raced before, will allow me to get comfortable in the car, and learn how the aero works,” Jones said.
The 2017-18 MRF Challenge consists of 16 races across four events; the series commences at Bahrain in November, where it will support the World Endurance Championship.
“I’m very excited at racing on some of the world’s most spectacular race tracks, and supporting one of the biggest international racing categories,” Jones concluded.