Jimmy Eriksson is the first Swedish driver ever to have won the acclaimed German F3 title. After an impressively executed season with Team Lotus, Eriksson managed to secure the crown in the season finale at Hockenheim. This success marks the most high-profile achievement in the career of the 21-year old so far and comes in his third year of Formula 3 racing - all of them loyally spent within the Motopark Academy that now races under the name Lotus.
Born and raised in the small Swedish town of Tomelilla a short drive from Malmö, motor racing was far from a given career path for Eriksson. His first experience of the sport came in a series of ploy karting outings at father Arne’s carrier company grounds, but it was only when the owner of the local karting track discovered Jimmy’s natural ability that the wheels started to turn - a fitting and literal expression.
The year 2005 had seen Eriksson enter his first Formula Yamaha karting race and begin a journey that would eventually make him one of Sweden’s brightest prospects on the road to international motor racing. Despite starting out in the sport later than most of his rivals - at the age of 14 - Eriksson quickly demonstrated promising skills that saw him win his first race after just one year of trying. By 2008 he completely dominated the Swedish karting scene, claiming no less than three titles - including the Swedish Championship - as he began to nurture thoughts of a move into single-seaters for the following campaign.
With his father and family having no previous experience of motorsport, taking the step onto the single-seater arena wasn’t going to happen without the benefit of advice from someone who knew the business. Finland’s Kimmo Liimatainen - a former Formula 3 driver - facilitated contact between the fledgling Swedes and Motopark Academy Team Principal Timo Rumpfkeil and it was immediate affection from both sides. “I’m convinced that Jimmy will have a successful career in single-seater racing,” Rumpfkeil says today. “Everybody can see that he’s got the pace to do so.”
2009 duly saw Eriksson make the move into car racing with the Oschersleben-based team for a season in Formula Renault NEC. After winning at Alastaro and ending up 15th overall in his first-ever campaign outside the karting sphere, team and driver decided to advance to Formula 3 - or, more precisely, to the ATS Formula 3 Cup - in 2010. Eriksson again proved capable of making a successful switch of category, taking to the top step of the podium with a strong drive at a wet/dry EuroSpeedway Lausitz - where he led home fellow countryman Felix Rosenqvist in the first Swedish Formula 3 1-2 in decades.
Following a one-year stint in the Formula 3 Euro Series, in 2011, Motopark Academy opted for joining forces with British sports car manufacturer Lotus, in 2012, for another attempt to win the ATS Formula 3 Cup title in 2012 - with Jimmy Eriksson and Japan’s Kimiya Sato representing the team’s lead drivers. The influence of Lotus has been felt throughout the paddock, and after an exceptional year that began with victory already in the opening race of the campaign at Zandvoort, Eriksson came out on top to finally deliver championship glory to Rumpfkeil’s F3 operation.
“I think Jimmy has done exactly what was expected of him this year, and he has done it well,” says Eriksson’s Press Manager Mattias Persson. “He’s a good guy to be around and he really has deserved this title.”
Jimmy Eriksson displayed a steep learning curve. He certainly is one of thee top trained Formula 3 drivers with a lot of experience under his belt. Painstaking data analysis, professional and productive communication with his engineer and his matured approach are just some of the features that make him so special. “No doubt, Jimmy also made his mistakes,” reveals Timo Rumpfkeil. “He often wanted too much too quickly. But now he has learned to settle for finishing third if trying to work his way further up would be too risky.”
In addition to pursuing his motor-racing career, the 21-year old Swede also works for his father’s carrier company and even acts as truck driver, every now and then. Nonetheless, the cockpit of a racing car offers him better opportunities to make full use of his potential.
“It’s also good for Sweden to have an international F3 champion again,” adds Persson who hopes that his driver will continue his way up the single-seater ladder. “After all, the category still is popular back home in Sweden, after the Ronnie Peterson and Reine Wisell days.”