Jack Mitchell Jr. winning his first F1600 race with Brian Graham Racing at Mosport. (photo: BGR)
JOWT: Jack, Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for Junior Open Wheel Talent and its readers. How are you enjoying your 2012 season?
JM: Thank you for the opportunity and support. I am a big fan of Junior Open Wheel Talent and appreciate the exposure that you provide to junior racers.
The 2012 season has been very exciting for me. I have been able to travel to many great cities in North America representing the United States in both series. This has exposed me to great places and people. I am having so much fun traveling with my family and crew, and I am also engaging with other international junior racers. I am very pleased with my escalating success and consistency as well. This season has been a very beneficial and an enjoyable journey.
JOWT: You’ve recently been winning in both a Skip Barber formula car and the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in Canada. What do you attribute to the recent success?
Jack Mitchell Jr. (Photo Art)
JM: It is very hard to pinpoint one specific thing for my results. I only started driving two years ago at the age of 14. I had the goal to work hard, listen, and never make the same mistake twice! With the help of my management and coaching team of Exclusive Management , Kyle Marcelli, and my father I have been able to excel recently. I have learned that getting into the car is the last step of a very complicated process. My program has consisted of many off-track activities including: formal education on dynamics, psychology, exercise, pre-race review, and mental fitness. This process allows me to learn a new track quickly, and apply off track activities in a formal manner. I have applied this technique to obtain 14 podiums that includes 4 wins in 14 races in the Skip Barber Race Series and 3 straight podiums with the first Honda powered win ever in the Toyo Tires Ontario Formula Ford Series. My success has come from the realization that consistency and safety is key to win a championship and I plan to continue to drive with this theme for the remainder of my career.
JOWT: What has been the biggest challenge for you this season?
JM: The biggest challenge for me was changing my whole mental game going into this season. In 2011 I had good results, but I made more mistakes because I had my mind focused on the 1st place trophy at the end of the weekend, rather than the more important 1st place championship trophy at the end of the year. When I matured enough to realize that I should focus on consistency and just driving the car, rather than the results, is when the success really started to come.
JOWT: Can you describe the difference between your Skip Barber and F1600 car? How has Skip Barber helped prepare you for your move to F1600?
JM: The largest differences between the two cars is the off track adjustments and on track driving style. During F1600 weekends I go over data with my engineer and coach and make changes to the car depending on what we see. This fundamental understanding of how my driving and a car operate together has allowed me to become a better racer in any car that I drive. On track, the F1600 is faster, has more grip, and needs to be driven significantly smoother than the Skip Barber car. The brakes are also much more efficient, and operated with your left foot instead of your right. Skip Barber has helped me prepare for F1600 by teaching me race craft and car control, which made the jump to a more advanced car much easier. Without Skip Barber none of my success in a F1600 car would be possible.
JOWT: What are your goals for the remainder of the year?
JM: My main goal is to win both the Skip Barber and Ontario Formula Ford championships. I’m currently 1st overall in the Skip Barber Series, and 2nd overall in Ontario Formula Ford. I believe winning the two championships is a realistic goal. Also, I think it would be great to finish the Skip Barber Series with all 20 of my races on the podium and I hope to secure the Road to Indy scholarship with Skip Barber at the 2012 shootout.
JOWT: Looking ahead, …Are you working toward a specific program for 2013? Have you done any testing outside of F1600 this summer?
JM: I plan to continue up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder by competing in the USF2000 series in 2013. I have driven some closed wheel cars and Formula 2000 cars as well with success. I will be testing for USF2000 later this year. I am also working on sponsorship and business relationships for the future.
JOWT: How would you describe your life outside of the car? Do you have a specific fitness routine you follow?
JM: I like to work out, play soccer, and spend time with my friends and family. Much of my life is spent studying for my classes during the school year, but during the summer I train using iRacing frequently and do a lot of charity work. I run to stay in shape, go to the local gym, and do quite a bit of neck and core strengthening exercises for when I get into more advanced cars!
JOWT: Aside from racing, what are your hobbies?
JM: I’m currently trying out for my high-school varsity soccer team, and getting into running. Also, a Formula 1 Xbox showdown happens between my Dad, brother and me every weekend. My Dad is still the household champion!
JOWT: Is there anyone you’d like the opportunity to thank?
JM: I’d like to thank Exclusive Management, my Dad, my brother, Kyle Marcelli, Brian Graham Racing, Bell Helmets, California Scents, SMXOptics, Skip Barber Racing School, Art Rotondo, Urban TriGear, WSWH, IAA, Veyron Marketing, Toyo Tires, Honda, Piper, The Mazda Road to Indy, and all the Skip Barber and Brian Graham Racing Mechanics, Margret Johnston, Joe Champagna, and everyone else who supports me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.
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