Oliver Turvey is the latest young driver to join McLaren’s prestigious development programme, thereby moving as close as anyone ever comes to a guarantee of following Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton into Formula One.
Turvey, currently contesting the GP2 feeder series with Norfolk team iSport, came to the Woking outfit’s attention after winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award in 2006.
Part of his prize was an F1 test with the team which he took up in Spain in November during the dedicated young driver testing session held at the Circuito de Jerez.
Now Turvey, 23, who hails from Langwathby, near Penrith, will continue to work with engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre to hone his racing skills.
The Cambridge University graduate, who won the first ever Full Blue awarded for racing achievements, said: “McLaren have followed my progress since I won the award. The testing session in Spain was part of my prize but McLaren also wanted to test me.
“The test went well and they were impressed. I’m now working a bit more with them this season and they are trying to help me improve as a racing driver.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and it’s a dream come true. I have model McLaren cars at home from when I was five. They are a team I have always dreamed of racing for.
“When I’m not racing I’m at McLaren training twice a day, six days a week, or at the factory. I’ve been working with the simulator team as I am the only driver with an engineering degree.”
He said that his current drive in GP2 was another key part of his racing development.
“F1 teams look at GP2 for their next young drivers because the cars are so similar. The speed of a GP2 car on the straight is very similar to a F1 car. At the start of this year’s F1 season, there were 11 former GP2 drivers on the grid, which is nearly half the drivers.
“The top three GP2 drivers from last year’s championships are now in F1.”
It seems like Turvey can nuture serious hopes of following them.