As one of just two drivers on the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship grid to hail from a pair of racing parents, Craig Willis is the only one that can boast running a family-built car! His father Keith and Uncle Ian of AIM Autosport fame designed and built the Aero2 a few years before he was born, and Craig now takes his turn at the wheel following some very famous others. It’s a car that helped launch a current IndyCar star. Which one? Read on…
How long have you been racing?
I started racing almost 10 years ago. I began karting at the age of 13 which is later compared to most ambitious racers, and quickly moved to a F1600 at 17.
How long have you raced F1600?
I’ve been racing F1600 for 6 years now. I competed full seasons in my first two years of racing in the Toyo Tires F1600 Series and partial seasons since then.
How many race cars have you owned?
None! Growing up in an all racer family, my parents and grandparents own the cars. My Father & Uncle built the 1990 & 1991 Aero2. My Mother and Grandfather own 2 Canadian built Ferret’s.
What is your # and why did you choose it?
My Racing number is 99. Many famous racers and athletes have contributed to the prestige of this number, like Greg Moore, Wayne Gretzky and previously on the Aero2 LP- Dumoulin.
What other classes have you raced?
During the summer, I have exclusively run in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship. In the winter, I race in the CASC-OR Minden Ice Race Series and have for 7 years. It is great experience for car control and racing in the rain!
What track raced has been your favourite?
My favourite track that I have run at to date is Calabogie Motorsport Park. In my first year of racing I was able to break the track record which still stands today. It was a very memorable experience and every year the racing there is exceptional.
What track would you love to race around?
That’s a difficult one… there are so many great tracks out there. Some that I really look forward to race at would be Mid Ohio, Laguna Sega, Suzuka Speedway, and Trial Mountain for those of you who know Grand Turismo.
What is your greatest racing memory?
It would have to be from this past season (2017) at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the VARAC event. The race was started after a torrential downpour and was still raining when I started from 3rd position. By corner two I was leading and putting laps together smoothly. I set the fasted lap of the race early and went on to win by 40 seconds. It was my first overall win in F1600.
Favourite driver from any generation?
Growing up in the racing scene and with my dad’s racing business (Aim Autosport) I was able to meet a lot of successful racers. There isn’t just one favourite but if I had to pick it would James Hinchcliffe who drove the Aero2 when he was 18. It has been very cool to see his racing career advance all the way to Indycar.
Do you plan to be on the grid in 2018?
Driver/Car Pictures by Richard Coburn