Skip to content

Tom Williams

Date of birth: 4 December 1998

Place of birth: Oxford, UK

Rally debut: 2015

Hobbies: Music, Travel, Boxing and Design

Location: Reading, UK

PROFILE

In 2019, Tom Williams will, once again, be the youngest driver – and only British driver – in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

The 20-year old Englishman has come a long way in a short space of time, having made his rallying debut in the Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship just five years ago.

Having started his first rally at car number 112, Tom has been quietly gaining the skills required to be a fast rally driver – working hard on his physical and mental fitness, amassing mechanical skills by building and repairing his own car and fine-tuning his all-important pace notes systems. He also hasn’t returned to the same events year after year, but instead progressed to the FIA World Rally Championship – the pinnacle of the sport, where event experience is vital.

The sport’s aficionados might recognise this master plan, and it’s no coincidence that it has previously been employed with great success by Richard Burns. It was Tom’s father David who took Richard from the Under 17 Car Club to become the 2001 World Rally Champion, and David is naturally instrumental in his son’s career now. And in a nice twist that will forever keep the two English rally stars aligned, Tom is the Godson of the legend that will always be affectionately known as ‘Burnsie’.

Back in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, dad David was no mean driver himself, and was well known in British rallying for some spectacular exploits in cars such as a Nissan 240RS and Metro 6R4. More recently, David and his wife Sadie teamed up together to win the 2007 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge in a 1938 Chevrolet Fangio Coupe.

It was my no means obvious, however, that Tom would follow the family tradition and move into rallying. In fact, Tom was following in his father’s natural gift for art and design when, aged 16, he started to compete in the Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship. He finished sixth out of 23 drivers (thanks to three fourth-place finishes) in a Nissan Micra, with some impressive performances gaining him the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award, much to the delight of his friends at Shiplake College near Henley-on-Thames, who had previously witnessed Tom’s sporting prowess on the rugby pitch and rowing on the River Thames.

Having turned 17 in December of that year, Tom was too old to contest the 2016 F1000 Junior series. It was therefore the ideal opportunity to step away from airfield events and head into the forests for the first time, to gain experience of loose surface competition.

His first gravel rally wasn’t made any easier when torrential rain and low cloud descended on a very wet and muddy Red Kite Stages. Tom had only passed his driving test a few days before and everything was going well on the mid-Wales based rally until he hit a rock and span his Fiesta R2 off the road. Tom then drove a Fiesta R1 for much of the year, quietly gaining in confidence as his experience grew and regularly finishing inside the top three of the BTRDA Rally First category.

The year ended in style, with Tom becoming the British Rally Championship BRC5 Champion (thanks to a maximum points score on the Pirelli Rally) and making his FIA World Rally Championship debut, finishing 2nd in the RC4 class and 45th overall on Wales Rally GB, driving a Fiesta R2.

Selected World and British Rally Championship events in a Ford Fiesta R2 followed in 2017, together with MSA Academy AASE course studies at Loughborough College. Tom also made his overseas WRC debut that year at Rally Finland (finishing, but finding himself excluded after a technical infringement), followed by 14th in the RC2 class and 54th overall on Rally Germany. He also contested two events in Belgium, the Border Counties, Pirelli and Scottish rallies, and a number of other events designed to give him the maximum amount of experience in the shortest and most cost-effective space of time. The year once again finished with Wales Rally GB, where he finished 5th in the RC2 class and 48th overall.

It was time to step up a level and gain WRC experience, so for 2018 Tom committed himself to the FIA Junior World Rally Championship – and not just the five qualifying events, but all the physical, mental, pace note and route preparation that is required to compete with the world’s best young rally talent. Continuing the partnership with co-driver Phil Hall that had begun at the end of the previous season, Tom drove an M-Sport Poland prepared Fiesta R2T in the JWRC, twice finishing sixth (in Finland and Turkey) out of the 15 drivers – despite being, at 19-years old, the youngest and least experienced driver in the series.

Tom also did the recce for many other WRC events and contested Rally Mexico (but was forced to retire when the car stopped when a fuse malfunctioned), Rally Spain (finishing 9th in the RC4 and 40th overall after a roll) and Wales Rally GB (winning the WRC3 class and finishing 2nd in RC2 and a magnificent 28th overall).

He also drove an ex-Richard Burns Subaru Legacy RS and Impreza S7 WRC01 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, worked as a rally instructor at the both the Forest Rally Experience in Wales and the John Haugland Winter Rally School in Norway, tested a Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time and attended Formula Medicine training camps in Europe.

2019 promises to be another busy year, with a second full season in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship – this time driving the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2 – and gaining further experience of the WRC.

Career Highlights

2020
Selected rounds of the British and World Rally Championship
  • Competing in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5
  • 2020
    2019
    FIA Junior World Rally Championship
  • 8th JWRC / 40th o/a, Rally GB
  • 10th JWRC / 48th o/a, Rally Finland
  • DNF (retired after final stage with hole in sump), Rally Italy Sardinia
  • 5th JWRC / 31st o/a, Tour of Corsica
  • 4th JWRC / 33rd o/a, Rally Sweden
  • DNF Arctic Lapland Rally
  • 2019
    2018
  • Youngest, and only British, driver in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship (co-driven by Phil Hall in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T)
  • 6th JWRC / 25th o/a, Rally Turkey
  • 6th JWRC / 26th o/a, Rally Finland
  • 7th JWRC / 39th o/a, Rally Portugal
  • 11th JWRC / 36th o/a, Tour of Corsica
  • 10th JWRC / 49th o/a, Rally Sweden
  • Contested additional rounds of the WRC
  • 9th RC4 / 40th o/a, Rally Spain (after roll)
  • 1st WRC3 / 2nd RC2 / 28th o/a, Wales Rally GB
  • DNF, Rally Mexico (mechanical)
  • Drove an ex-Richard Burns Subaru Legacy RS and Impreza S7 WRC01 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Drove an ex-Richard Burns Subaru Legacy RS at Rallyday at Castle Combe DNF, Plains Rally
  • 2nd A5 / 28th o/a Sigdalrally (Norway)
  • Tested a Ford Fiesta R5
  • Attended Formula Medicine training camps in Europe
  • MSA Academy member
  • Rally Instructor at the Forest Rally Experience (gravel)
  • Rally Instructor at the John Haugland Rally School (snow/ice)
  • 2018
    2017
  • Selected World and British Rally Championship events in a Ford Fiesta R2 (co-driven by Phil Hall and Bryan Hull)
  • 5th RC2 / 48th o/a, Wales Rally GB
  • 14th RC2 / 54th o/a, Rally Germany
  • Overseas WRC debut, Rally Finland (DNF - engine failure on Shakedown stage)
  • 2nd GB Cadet / 5th GB 2WD / 14th BRC / 59th o/a, Ypres Rally (Belgium)
  • 1st Class B / 18th o/a Abingdon CAR-nival Stages
  • 2nd GB Cadet / 8th GB 2WD / 16th BRC / 17th o/a, Scottish Rally
  • 7th Class 3F / 49th o/a, Rally van de Montberg (Belgium)
  • 2nd GB Cadet / 8th GB 2WD / 17th BRC / 22nd o/a, Pirelli Rally
  • 4th Class 3rd, Rally North Wales National B
  • 4th GB Cadet / 13th GB 2WD / 23th BRC / 27th o/a, Border Counties Rally
  • 2017
    2016
  • Selected British Rally Championship events in a Ford Fiesta R1 and R2 (co-driven by Emma Morrison)
  • British BRC5 Champion
  • FIA World Rally Championship debut – 2nd RC4 / 45th o/a, Wales Rally GB
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 3rd BTRDA Rally First / 54th o/a, Trackrod Forest Stages
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 5th BTRDA Rally First / 79th o/a, Woodpecker Stages
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 3rd BTRDA Rally First / 65th o/a, Nicky Grist Stages
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 3rd BTRDA Rally First / 55th o/a, Carlisle Stages
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 4th BTRDA Rally First / 55th o/a, Plains Rally
  • 1st BRC5 / 25th BRC / 34th o/a, Pirelli Rally
  • 4th Class 2, Rally North Wales National B
  • 2nd FR1.6 / 6th BTRDA Rally First / 83rd o/a, Malcolm Wilson Rally
  • 2016
    2015
  • First season of rallying
  • Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship in a Nissan Micra (co-driven by Robert Gillam and Emma Morrison)
  • Formula 1000 Junior ‘Rookie of the Year’
  • 5th o/a, Cadwell Stages Junior Rally
  • 7th o/a, Glyn Memorial Junior Rally
  • 4th o/a, Peter Lloyd Junior Rally
  • 15th o/a, Solway Coast Junior Rally
  • 10th o/a, Midsummer Caerwent Junior Rally
  • 4th o/a, Keith Frecker Memorial Junior Rally
  • 5th o/a, Dale Junior Rally
  • 7th o/a, Lee Holland Memorial Junior Rally
  • 11th o/a, Roskirk Junior Rally
  • 2015