2017 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Champion Nick Rowe has reflected on his two and a half years in the category, as he embarks on the next chapter of his racing career.
Rowe was one of Australian Formula 4’s inaugural racers, appearing on the podium on his and the championship’s debut round at Townsville in 2015. Only competing a handful of rounds that season with AGI Sport, Rowe committed to a full season where he finished runner-up to Will Brown in 2016, before sealing the championship in his own right this season.
“I’ve been around the block once or twice now… It’s been a great year, well I’ve been around since the very first race. It’s been a lot of fun,” Rowe said.
“Last year we went into it hoping we could win it, and we really did. A lot of people thought ‘Browny’ (Will Brown) probably was the favourite, but I had a lot of self-confidence but at the end of the day he beat me fair and square… which is alright, we learnt a lot and we’ve changed a lot in the team.”
Alongside Rowe’s own development, he’s been impressed at how AGI Sport has also evolved as a team. The Sydney based team is led by former Williams F1 mechanic Adam Gotch and his support staff are also highly credentialed.
Rowe’s 2016 engineer Brandon Wong made a one-off return to the Gold Coast this year, after moving to British F4 this year to work with renowned open-wheel specialists Arden.
Wong’s substitute Timmi Unger was a suitable successor, arriving at AGI Sport with two seasons worth of experience in the ultra-competitive ADAC German Formula 4 Championship.
“The car’s been amazing all year. We’ve had a great year, I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done at AGI Sport,” Rowe said.
“We haven’t broken down all year, that’s a very rare occasion – usually I’ve smashed it. I remember when I smashed the fence at Winton… but Adam trusted that I wouldn’t put it in the fence anywhere else, which was lucky enough. Saved a bit of budget there which is good.
“The team’s grown a lot, the cars are mega quick now wherever we go all the time. It’s really satisfying from where we were… to be here now where we’ve won five rounds now so far, qualified the most on pole, the car’s been great all year.”
Australian Formula 4 has dominated Rowe’s most recent career, but other stints in the Australian GT Trophy Series, Formula Masters series in China and even in Speedway have characterised his career.
Circuit racing is the reigning champion’s clear focus going forward, with Rowe to also sample a Brad Jones Racing Supercar later this year as reward for claiming this year’s Formula 4 title.
“Hopefully we can do something with GT3 Cup Challenge or the Kumho V8 Series, who knows,” Rowe said.
Outside of Rowe’s racing development, the West Australian’s acknowledged his personal development outside of the track.
“Racing teaches you a lot of how to treat other people,” Rowe said.
“F4 by itself, the paddock gets along really well. I get along well with everyone, they’re all really good dudes. Since the beginning I’ve been friends with Jordan Lloyd, Thomas Randle, Luis Leeds, Zane Goddard, Harry Hayek… everyone, they’ve been there since the start.”
Despite Rowe’s relative youth at the age of 19, his advice to future up-and-coming racers is to enjoy the time in the sport.
“There’s a lot of politics in motor sport these days, but you get past that. You realise when you’re out there that you can’t take it serious all of the time,” Rowe said.
“But try and enjoy the lighter parts when you’re with your mates and having a laugh… don’t take it too crazy in a way, because at the end of the day you could do it for five, six years and it could all come to an end one day.
“You don’t want to look back at those years and say ‘Gee, I wish I did that, I wish I did this…’ Just make sure you have a lot of fun.
Claiming the 2017 title was the perfect ending to Rowe’s popular CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 campaign.
“We’ve been through a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but more highs than lows. I’ve had a lot of fun as well. Let’s see where the next chapter goes,” Rowe said.
“Hopefully you miss me.”