Dubai: A Dubai-based British expat has made the city proud by becoming the best finishing rookie in his debut at the Indianapolis 500 - regarded as the greatest spectacle in automobile racing.
Edward ‘Ed’ Jones, 22, drove 1,343 km at an average speed of 375 km/h to finish an impressive third at the event - his best career IndyCar finish to date and his first career podium in the series.
“It was the longest race I’ve ever been in and it had many ups and downs,” said Jones, who drove a 720bhp Dallara-Honda single seater assisted by Dale Coyne.
Born and raised in the UAE, Jones made a foray into the exhilarating world of racing when he set foot on the Jebel Ali Karting track at the age of four. He hasn’t looked back since. “I always dreamt of racing at the Indy 500 or F1. But it wasn’t until I was about 13 years old when I realised I had the potential to live up my dreams,” said Jones, who clinched the United Arab Emirates karting championship title in 2005.
What makes Indy more difficult than F1 is that it doesn’t allow the use of power steering and puts an insane amount of stress on a driver’s wrists, arms and shoulders. “Driving these cars requires a lot of upper body strength and I do a mix of cardio, boxing and weights as part of the preparations,” he said.
Jones studied at Dubai English Speaking School before completing his bachelors from Dubai College. “Both institutions played a key role in my formative years. I often missed classes because of racing but my teachers and friends always helped me catch up,” he said.
So what’s his next big goal?
“Winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix so that I can give something back to the UAE that has given me so much,” Jones said.