Getting Educated with Will Harvey
Back in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series this year is Will Harvey, driver of the No. 27 Mygale/Honda for Chastain Motorsports; who is ready to put in the work not only in the cockpit but in the classroom as well; and with being in the middle of his freshman year at MIT, Harvey is a busy guy, but shows no signs of letting off the throttle for the 21-race 2015 season.
Harvey’s origins in racing come from humble beginnings that are relatable to most.
“As a kid, I was always glued to the TV whenever racing was on, but the only local racing news came from the dirt track at the fairgrounds, so the idea of driving never really seemed feasible,” he said. “Luckily, my dad and I were invited out to I-44 Speedway in Oklahoma City by a friend of a friend in the summer of 2005, and within nine months we had a car and a lawnmower trailer, ready to go racing.”
With a background in oval dirt track, Harvey had to deal with the transition that comes with the move from dirt to asphalt.
“I raced a few different levels of mini sprint cars, finishing with the Outlaw 636cc class, on dirt for the first seven years of my racing career. I have learned a lot and kicked a few habits to get up to speed on the road courses, but balancing my previous skills with what I am doing now has been key,” Harvey continued.
“Driving throughout the Midwest and getting dirty at the racetrack was a weekly occurrence from March to October, so cutting my schedule down from 35 events a year to just eight or nine weekends also felt extremely odd. I know my Dad enjoyed the extra time at home, but it took me a little while to adjust to having free time on the weekends; I had forgotten that people did things other than go to the racetrack on Friday and Saturday.”
Harvey is also a freshman at MIT, studying mechanical engineering, meaning he has a full plate on his hands; having to balance his schoolwork as well as his racing. Harvey’s can do attitude however, could make anything seem possible.
“My time management has been critical, even as a freshman. Whenever I start something, whether it is an assignment or something off of my to-do list, I put all of my focus into the task at hand and do the best I can to complete it. If I know that I am doing the best that I can do, I avoid a lot of stress and can enjoy the unique personalities who are doing amazing things around me at MIT. Education should always come first because when all else fails, everyone's most valuable asset is their own knowledge. I have done a physics assignment while on the scales to balance the car though, so if all else fails, don't be surprised if I pull out a book while driving down the straightaway at Road Atlanta.”
Even with a seemingly airtight schedule Harvey still enjoys some hobbies that don’t include racing or studying.
“In my rare moments of free time between class and racing, I enjoy cycling, traveling (road trips of course), video games, and searching for coffee shops!” said Harvey
Harvey expects strong finishes in the 2015 season, and will be fighting for that top spot all season long; but also realizes that when it comes to racing, nothing is certain.
“I personally expect myself to be competing in the lead draft at the end of each race this year. A lot of last year's events ended with crazy finishes and passes on the last lap, so there are never any guarantees, but I will race for the top of the podium from the first lap at Road Atlanta to the last lap in Pittsburgh.”
Harvey’s rookie year had its triumphs, as well as its disappointments.
“In a nutshell, my 2014 season consisted of a lot of learning and some growing pains. We struggled to find consistency in the car throughout the year, which led to some great races and some forgettable runs. The season felt a lot like some of my first few years on dirt because racing with some of the rookies and veterans last year definitely pushed me to find my greatest improvements on the track.”
His weekend at Mid Ohio served as a, to put it in his own words, “a turning point in the season.”
“I became increasingly competitive over the weekend and finished at the lead of the second draft. Improving as a driver and learning how to handle the competition was a key piece of the puzzle this year, and that was the first weekend I really believe those objectives were met.”
Harvey also led at Pittsburg for a few laps in 2014; and is definitely someone to watch when the rubber hits the pavement for the start of the expanded 2015 season. The first weekend of the 21-race season takes place at Road Atlanta April 10-12.