Oliver Westling had a breakthrough year during the 2023 season of Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas) competition. One of only four drivers to stand atop the podium this season, the Sweden-born racer twice took the top step with victories in Rounds 10 (New Jersey Motorsports Park) and 17 (Circuit of The Americas). Only sitting behind the wheel of a racecar for the first time in 2021, Westling embarked on an aggressive driver development plan with his JENSEN team, and led the organization to its very first Team Vice Champion title this season. In addition to driving the No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F3, Westling continues his studies as a business entrepreneurship major at Chico State University, where he’s currently enrolled as a junior.
Where are you from and what's your favorite thing about your hometown?
Oliver Westling (OW): “I live in Emerald Hills, Calif. It's a little town in the Bay Area. I love the little downtown area in Emerald Hills. There's a lot to do there—a lot of good restaurants—it’s just a fun area to have a good time.”
You were born in Sweden and still represent that country when you race. In fact, you didn’t move to the U.S. until you were eight years old. Tell me your favorite thing about where you lived in Sweden.
OW: “Sweden is another great place everyone should visit. The food is amazing, and the people have such a different vibe than the U.S. They're more energetic. There are more evening activities over there than here. It’s a really great place, and it was a lot of fun to grow up there.”
When and how did you decide that you wanted to drive race cars, and what was your path to get to where you are today?
OW: “It started back in Sweden. I used to go kart a lot there, and I just really liked driving. I liked driving ATVs—basically anything with a motor in it. When we got to the U.S., I had to learn a whole new language and start a new life, but I still really enjoyed driving. I started to research different race series, and I finally found my way into Formula 4 U.S. when I was in high school. It really just took off from there.”
Who is your racing idol and what made you look up to them?
OW: “My racing idol has to be Lewis Hamilton. His race craft, and his attitude toward the racetrack are far different than anyone I've seen. He's a good influencer, and he’s super motivating to listen to. I really respect him.”
If you could only drive one racetrack for the rest of your life, which track would you want it to be? Alternatively, what's the one racetrack that you most dream of racing on?
OW: “The one track that I've always wanted to race on is Monaco. That's my dream track. It's hard not to make mistakes there, but it's one track that I’m determined I will drive at in the future. It's a special place.”
Tell me about one race that sticks out to you, either as your best race or your favorite race.
OW: “It has to be COTA at the end of the 2022 season. I was just getting started in FR Americas and it was a pretty tough race from the beginning. Then it started raining heavily, but we came out with P2 and my first podium.”