The son of an Australian motorsport legend is making big waves as he starts to dominate international racing on a path towards Formula One glory.
Jack Doohan was racing about on two wheels from as early as he could remember.
As the son of Australian MotoGP legend Mick Doohan, it’s hardly surprising.
He had racing in his genes.
But it was a birthday party accident when he was young that changed Doohan’s course from following in his famous dad’s footsteps on two wheels to pursuing a racing career on four.
“From a young age I always liked two wheels but when I was five I had a crash at home on my fifth birthday and broke my leg,” Doohan said.
“I think that threw dad off it a bit seeing me get hurt at such a young age and also I think I scared myself quite a bit.
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“Then I did BMX for a couple of years …. then a couple of my mates from school started karting and I had always karted for fun at home because we had a track in our backyard which was very fortunate.
“When they started karting at that age you want to be doing what your mates are doing so I started to get back into it and just went from there and started to take it seriously about half a year later.”
Since then, Doohan hasn’t looked back.
Now on the official stepladder to Formula One, the son-of-a-gun is making a name for himself in international motorsport, racing in Formula 3.
Doohan last week became the first driver to win two F3 races on the same weekend when he scored two wins out of three races at a rain-drenched Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, securing a big points haul to bolster his standing in the championship.
With two rounds still to race, at Zandvoort this week and Austin, Doohan sits second in the Formula 3 standings, 25 points behind Norway’s championship leader Dennis Hauger.
The 18-year-old is now setting his sights on closing the championship gap.
“I had an opportunity to take crucial points for the championship and I was very happy to be able to maximise the weekend and get those two wins,” Doohan said.
“Without them I wouldn’t be as close as I am in the championship and keep things alive.
“In the remaining two rounds we will keep the approach the same and focus on it session by session. Hopefully, if we stay at the front and take maximum points every weekend then the championship will take care of itself.
“It was the first time anyone has won two races on an F3 weekend, so that’s cool and all, but until we win the championship or get to a position where we can be on the front footing then I need to stay very grounded and focus on the job at hand.”
Doohan, a Red Bull Junior Team driver, has based himself overseas since he was 13 to pursue his racing ambitions.
He is hoping to follow the same path as fellow young gun and Melbourne racer Oscar Piastri, who won last year’s Formula 3 title to progress to Formula 2 in 2021.
Piastri, who is managed by nine-time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber and is a member of the Alpine F1 Academy, leads the F2 championship with four rounds to go.
Doohan is in his second year in F3 and admitted he “struggled” in his first season, finishing 26th, but feels he has grown as a driver with his new team Trident this year.
“The team that I’m with now has helped me a lot. Last year I wasn’t in a good position in any way with the team and with learning, I struggled a lot,” Doohan said.
“I didn’t really have a good foundation to be able to extract my potential. The team has helped me to find my potential and find the skills that I needed to succeed in Formula 3.”
Clearly, Doohan’s ambition is to make it all the way to Formula 1.
“That is what I am here for and what I am trying to do and what we are all trying to do,” Doohan said.
“It would mean the world to me because that is what I want to do and where I want to be and to not make it would not feel like an accomplishment.”
Doohan has his dad, a five-time MotoGP winner, travelling with him to every race this year and said his support had been “everything” to him.
“None of this would be possible without him,” Doohan said.
“He’s been there and done it, obviously in a different discipline but the same characteristics apply.
“He always wants me to enjoy what I’m doing too and find what works best for me, especially recently to be able to extract my maximum potential.
“Dad has always been focusing on the mental side of things because, for us in motorsport, talent only gets you so far. All of us are good drivers to be where we are, to know how to drive a car very well, so it’s everything else that starts to count and that’s what he focuses on with me.”
Originally published as Formula One news: Jack Doohan escapes father Mick’s shadow with Formula 3 performances