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Behind Will Brown’s laid-back exterior is a strong will to win, if you’ll excuse the pun. The 23-year-old has tasted plenty of success in his young career, with Toyota 86 Racing Series and Formula 4 championship wins in the same year and the inaugural TCR Australia title in 2019.
On paper, that’s plenty to boast about, but tellingly, when we ask Brown what he’s most proud of, he instead focuses on the one that got away.
“I think the most disappointed I have been was not winning the Formula Ford championship [in 2016]. I know that much” he says.
“Most proud? I’m not too sure. I don’t really get too caught up in it. I think winning the Toyota 86 Series in its first year was great. But I always wanted to win Formula Ford.”
While it’s remarkable that the current Erebus Motorsport driver won both the Toyota 86 and Australian Formula 4 championships in 2016, he very nearly won three major national titles that season.
“Well, actually, a lot of people don’t know the reason I lost the Formula Ford championship was because Formula 4 and Formula Ford were on the same weekend for their first round” he says.
“So I had to miss Formula Ford and I was 58 points down after the first round. We didn’t lose it by many points.
“Formula Ford was the one I really wanted to win that year. If you look at the pedigree of drivers that have won it, and it went down to the final race after missing a round. I worked hard to try and get back, and we won several races in a row in that championship. I believe we still had an awesome year in Formula Ford; it’s just we missed the first round.”
Brown progressed to the Dunlop Super2 Series with Eggleston Motorsport in 2017 and finished ninth in the championship, even after a mechanical failure denied him a maiden win in Newcastle. It was the sort of luck that seemed to cruel his Super2 campaigns.
“In my second year I came sixth in the championship; we were going great” he recalls.
“I was thinking of one more year of Super2 and then hopefully I was going to get a drive in the main game. But with the third year things didn’t go to plan at Eggleston. We just didn’t have the year we wanted between all of the cars. I fell back to 12th in that year.”
Despite the championship success in other categories, Brown’s struggles to make inroads in Super2, prior to his runner-up finish with Erebus Motorsport-affiliated Image Racing in 2020, was clearly a frustration.
“I don’t know how to say it really. Each year the enduros saved me pretty much” he says.
“At the end of every year, when I jumped in the Erebus car, in a really good car, I was able to be one of the top co-drivers and do standout drives like Gold Coast and Sandown, which sort of saved my career.
“At the end of 2018, Erebus signed me straight at the end of Gold Coast. We literally had a five-minute chat, me and Barry [Ryan], and he signed me. And, then at the end of 2019 it was the same. Betty Klimenko and Barry sat me down. We pretty much did that deal for me to be a 2021 driver for them”¦ and that plan has gone ahead.
“Betty and Barry have placed a lot of faith in me. That deal doesn’t happen very often in Supercars and you don’t see it happen often at all, a guaranteed seat in a year’s time. So it was pretty cool to do that deal.”
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