Introducing Group-A Racing’s Jackie Ding

Jackie Ding entering his Formula Lites machine. -- Photo by Mike Sirochman

Editor’s note: Last month, we interviewed our own Paul Charlsey about the brand new SCCA Pro Formula 4 US Championship series on The Cambered Corner. We followed up with an interview with Jonathan Scarallo, Team Manager for Group-A Racing who will be entering the new Formula 4 series as a compliment to their existing SCCA Pro Formula Lites program. During the 2016 season, one of Group-A Racing’s Formula Lites drivers, Jackie Ding, will be providing a driver’s blog for us, giving us insight into the junior formula scene.

Hi everyone! My name is Jackie Ding, I am an 18 years old high-schooler from China and, yes, also a racing driver for Group-A Racing in the SCCA Pirelli Formula Lites series. Weird, I know, so here’s a bit of back story. When I was a six years old Chinese boy, I fell in love with cars and racing thanks to two things: Michael Schumacher in a bright red Ferrari, and a black-and-white Toyota Corolla from something called Initial D. Despite my obsession, back then “racing cars” in China was still a very radical idea. Not many go-kart tracks, let alone racing circuits, were available back then, but my dad managed to find a track where I had my first drive in a go-kart. It remained my most terrifying and exhilarating experience, and after seeing Schumacher win the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix in the pouring rain from the grand stand, I knew this is what I want to do. Thanks to my parents’ immense support, I came to the US and began the chase starting with rental karts before jumping up to Skip Barber Racing School, meeting Jonathan Scarallo from Group-A, taking part in Formula Lites in 2015, getting a win at VIR, and, well, here we are.

Jackie Ding at the 2015 Formula Lite Series Weekend at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.  -- Photo by Ryan Arciero
Jackie Ding at the 2015 Formula Lite Series Weekend at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. — Photo by Ryan Arciero
Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.Going into 2016, there are certainly a lot of expectations. The cars themselves, revitalized with an engine upgrade, will be a brand-new challenge, along with more awesome venues like Road Atlanta and Homestead, and an even more competitive grid. To succeed, my plan is to build on what I had last year, which was single-lap pace, and improve what I lacked in race-long endurance and mental focus. The goal is very simple: go out and win the championship. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. But I fully believe that Group-A Racing, with our new engineer Ian Brown, can and will deliver a machine that is second to none. Therefore, the rest is up to me. The keys to my future in racing lie in my own hands, it’s just a matter of if I can unlock and open the right doors. Outside of racing, I had been overwhelmed with college application a while back, but thankfully University of Michigan Ann Arbor said yes to me, and that made me very, very happy. But for now, that is all the news and stories I have to share!

I’d like to thank my sponsors, Huawei USA, EVE Energy, and Zone District, and all of my supporters. For even more content and update, find me on Facebook (TeamJackieD Racing), Twitter (@Jackie_J_Ding), Instagram (@JackieJDing), and YouTube (Jackie Ding). 2016 is going to be a simply fantastic year, and I can’t wait to share my journey with you all!

You can also follow Group-A Racing through the following:

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