British F3 - California, Japan, Oxford and leaving a mark: getting to know you with Reece Ushijima

Next Event:
Silverstone GP
26 / 27 June

Next Event:
Silverstone GP
26 / 27 June

California, Japan, Oxford and leaving a mark: getting to know you with Reece Ushijima

California, Japan, Oxford and leaving a mark: getting to know you with Reece Ushijima

Monday 7 June 2021

Hitech GP’s Reece Ushijima is back in BRDC British F3 for a second season, and started his year in strong form with a podium at Brands Hatch and sits third in the standings.

So we already know he’s going to be one to watch on track this year, but away from racing, did you know that he’s spent most of his years living in either California or Japan, has plans to study in Oxford and only started racing of any sort at the age of 13?

He’s very much catching up with his rivals though, and we catch up with him below. Over to Reece…

Where is your hometown and can you tell us anything interesting about where you’re from?

I spent a lot of my childhood moving back and forth between California and Japan, but I consider my real hometown to be Fukuoka, Japan. It’s on the south-side of Japan so it’s near-enough tropical, and it’s also on the seaside so it’s always been cool. The most interesting thing I think about from my hometown is probably the baseball team and that’s about it!

Will you be travelling from your home country to race in British F3 or have you moved to live in the UK? If so, where in the UK will you be living?

I have been living in the UK for the past three years racing nationally and throughout Europe in karts, so I have been here for quite a while. I’ve been studying at boarding school in Northampton and will be going to university in Oxford later this year.

How did you first become interested in motorsport?

I didn’t get into motorsport until I was quite late! It all started with an interest in cars when I was about 13 and wanted to drive something (but couldn’t obviously), so I got into corporate karts and it over time become more and more serious. With that being said, I’ve been super lucky to have the support of my parents ever since I started to be able to get this far!

Who has been your biggest career influence so far?

As I started racing quite late, I didn’t really grow up looking up to anyone from racing so I don’t have a “racing hero”. I’ve always looked up to and drawn inspiration from Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, mainly from their work ethic and their mind-sets to being the best athletes they can be. But above all, I look up to my mom and dad (who were both athletes), and their constant support is what has influenced me the most to get to the position I am in today.

Tell us about your career so far and how it has got you to this position in British F3 now?

As previously mentioned, I only started racing when I was 13 so my whole career has been me playing “catch up”. After four years of karting throughout Europe and Asia, I stepped into my first year of car racing in British F3, where I learned a lot and grew as a racing driver. I feel that I still haven’t reached my potential as a racing driver with some of the areas I lack experience in, so looking forward to the future, and this season, I’m looking on improving those aspects of me.

Which circuit are you most looking forward to racing on?

I’d have to say Spa. As we raced on all of the tracks in the UK last year, going to a new track will be a great experience. On top of that, it is Spa, so it has so much history and depth in the track, and I can’t wait to be racing on it. I think every driver dreams of driving around there, so I will definitely be able to tick one thing off my bucket list after we go!

What is your aim for the 2021 British F3 season?

My aim for this season is to be consistently at the front and competing for wins. Last year, being my rookie year, I had time to learn and get up to speed with the car and tracks, and build confidence in myself driving a F3 car. Over the winter the team and I put a lot of work in knowing our new expectations coming into this season, and although we had a difficult first round, we learn from that and bounce back. Above all, I’m just living one race at a time, learning all I can, and ticking all the boxes on my side to be the best I can be.

What is your biggest hidden talent?

Ever since I started racing I haven’t really had time to focus on anything else so I can’t comment on whether I have any hidden talents! Before racing, I played a lot of different sports like baseball, football (soccer for us Americans), basketball, and a lot of video games, which is probably what I’m second best at!

What are your ultimate career ambitions?

Like any driver, my goal is Formula 1. I understand it’s a difficult road to that goal, with a lot of factors needing to fall in place. With the help of some important mentors in my life, I have been learning to focus on doing everything I personally can, and if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I, along with the people who support me, are putting our maximum effort in daily to do everything we can. Apart from that, I would love to return back to America and race in Indycar, IMSA, or race around the globe in sportscars or other higher formula categories. Above all, I want to leave a positive impact on everything that I do in my life, so in terms of ultimate career ambitions, I would just like to leave a mark on whatever I do.

A few topshots from the family album:

Young Reece and his dad

Before racing was a thing!

Me and Piers Sexton, my current manager and team boss in karting. One of my most influential and important mentors! (Photo from 2018, when I first came over to the UK).

Pre-race prep before IAME World Championships in 2019.

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