The Australian underdogs looking for FRAC glory: “We have to aim to win”

Evans GP might only be in their second year of operations as a feeder series team, but after finishing as runners-up in their inaugural year in F3 Asia, the Australian outfit is looking to go one better and win the ongoing Formula Regional Asian Championship (FRAC).

By Tyler Foster

Starting your own team in motorsport is always a risky challenge, especially when you’re competing against the best right from the start. For Josh Evans, this is his reality. F1 Feeder Series spoke exclusively with the Aussie team principal before the first round of FRAC to discuss his ambitions for his Evans GP team.

“Every championship we enter, the aim has to be to win it,” says Evans. “It’s definitely going to be difficult with the great competition that there is: Prema, Hitech, R-ace GP, Mumbai Falcons, Pinnacle. The depth is quite remarkable. We have to aim to win and that’s what we have to push for.”

Prior to his founding of Evans GP, Josh was involved in operations at fellow FRAC team BlackArts Racing: “As soon as the inaugural season began in 2018, I was working with BlackArts running that operation. It’s been four years working in Formula Regional Asia.”

In their first year as a team, Evans GP finished second in the teams’ championship in the 2021 F3 Asian Championship. This was a massive achievement and set them on their way as a legitimate force to be reckoned with in the open-wheel scene.

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“After the season we had last year, we had a lot of driver managers getting in contact,” Evans confirms. “We felt that the first group of guys were quite good to deal with and straight forward. We could see the potential they had with their results. We showed that we’re a good option from last season and got quite a lot of interest. To be honest we could’ve signed another five guys.”

For this year’s FRAC series, which has just gotten underway, Evans GP have five drivers. These are F2 2022 rookie and Turkish cult hero Cem Bölükbaşı, British GB3 podium sitter Frederick Lubin, Italian FRECA driver Nicola Marinangeli, Hungarian FRECA rookie Levente Révész and American British F4 driver David Morales.

“We have a mixture of drivers at different levels of their development. For some this will be the first time they’re racing an F3-spec car, others have a bit more experience so it’s a good balance.”

“I think you have to let them race. They are pushing for themselves. They come to a team like us to progress their career. We’re going to stay out of interfering and teams’ orders as much as possible. My advice would be to race hard but cleanly and let the best man win.”

The Evans GP umbrella

While Evans GP have five drivers, they’re split between two separate teams. This is the result of the creation of Evans GP Academy. This new enterprise allows Evans GP to run two teams, one for the more experienced drivers looking to make the jump to Formula 3 and another for the younger drivers. By having two teams it also means they can run more cars in the championship under the Evans GP umbrella.

“The Academy is a separate business to Evans GP,” explains Evans. “It’s more of a focus on the F4 drivers with more coaching, providing them with services more tailored for drivers stepping up from either karting to F4 or F4 to Formula Regional.”

For a team that doesn’t currently compete in any other motorsport series other than the Formula Regional Asian Championship, Evans GP are certainly much smaller than those they’re competing with. In comparison, both Mumbai Falcons and Abu Dhabi Racing are supported by Prema and have entries from the Ferrari Driver Academy.

“This is our main programme, this is what our focus is; that would be the main difference”, Evans says, discussing the difference between his team and the others. “FRAC is a bit of an add-on for those teams.”

Evans wants to win but with the extent of quality within the 2022 FRAC grid, that will be a difficult challenge. Asked whether he felt the level of competition in FRAC had noticeably risen since last year, he agreed.

Credit: Evans GP

“Yes. Most definitely. It’s basically like racing in Europe now. The teams and drivers that are coming on board, the F1 junior programmes getting behind it. You’re basically racing a European championship in the Middle East. I think that’s fantastic.”

“There’s no point being the big fish in a small pond. We’d rather go where the other big fish are and take them on. We enjoy the competition and only see it as a positive.”

“It’s got more competitive with Mumbai Falcons being run by Prema, with a lot of the Ferrari juniors in there, and also R-ace GP joining with 3Y. Bringing race-winning drivers in from Europe, there’s more depth. It shows how healthy the championship is. It’s the place to be this time of year.”

People make the difference

With Evans GP still only being in their second season as a motorsport team, the achievements they’ve already seen are impressive. However, from this point onwards they’ve set their expectations fairly high in the ultra-competitive business that is motorsport. Evans emphasised that having the right people is most imperative to his team’s growth.

“People are the most important asset in any business but I find especially in a sporting team that travels around. We’re living in each other’s pockets for five weeks, so making sure you look after the people is the main thing I’ve taken away from the years I’ve run teams. Everyone basically has the same car, the same equipment; the difference is the people, whether that’s engineers, mechanics, drivers.”

“It’s the main focus. If you get that right, you keep good people, that sets up your team. From last season I’d say we’ve retained 85-90% of the people and we’ve brought more people on.”

While they’ve not made any attempts to join other motorsport series as of yet, Evans GP certainly have investigated the options. With so many regional Formula 4 championships available, Evans is making sure that he picks the right one for them.

“That’s still something we’re looking at. With F4, that will probably be the logical step for us. It’s still a little bit up in the air. Obviously, there’s the ones we all know: Italian F4, ADAC F4 and Spanish F4, but there are also some new F4 championships starting up. We really want to see with the new car just how competitive and healthy the grids are in each of those.”

It seems, then, that Evans GP will use this year as a scouting season to scope the various European F4 championships and that 2023 may see the Australian team make their decision. With regards to long-term goals, Evans GP aim to make the step up to Europe and become a front-running team in the future.

For 2022 however, the Formula Regional Asian Championship remains their primary focus and with five drivers, they hope to go one better than last year and win the teams’ championship. 

“The hard work that the crew has put in is showing that we’re a good environment and team to be placed with. With the drivers we’ve got and the crew I think we can continue that.”

Header photo credit: Evans GP

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