McKenzy Cresswell

McKenzy Cresswell on karting in America and his European racing dream

17-year-old British driver McKenzy Cresswell was first introduced to the world of racing and Formula 1 when he was six years old through his dad, a long-time fan of motor racing. McKenzy was living in the United States when he first began watching Grands Prix and it was there, in Austin, Texas, where he set foot in a kart for the very first time.

McKenzy moved back across the Atlantic to compete in his home country, joining JHR Developments for the 2021 British Formula 4 season. Now, McKenzy is in his second season in the GB3 Championship, competing with Elite Motorsport, and has some FIA Formula 3 experience under his belt after joining PHM Racing for the Austrian and British Grands Prix rounds.

Silverstone caught up with McKenzy about his season so far in GB3, including taking his first win at the Home of British Motorsport, as well as his hopes for a full-time Formula 3 seat for 2024.

For McKenzy, karting was a hobby at first and he continued to return to the track because he enjoyed racing and initially never saw it as a potential career path for himself.

“The first year I did it, my parents and I just saw it as a fun thing to do, so we weren’t really taking it seriously at the start,” McKenzy says. “My main influence was my parents because they were always supportive of what I wanted to do.”


The very first time McKenzy drove anything was at an indoor circuit in America, and when he embarked on his journey in outdoor karting, he started out at Driveway Austin, which is actually a car circuit but a cut-through section made it resemble a kart circuit. The circuit was owned and ran by Scott Dollahite and his father.

“Scott was very experienced in motorsport and he helped me with those first few steps in racing,” he says. “He was an influence to me, him and his dad, who were giving me pointers at the start.”

McKenzy progressed throughout the ranks after beginning on his own. He competed at state level in the Texas Pro Kart Challenge and then into regional level. He returned to England eventually, and there is definitely a very different karting culture between the US and Europe.

“It was an open environment in America, whereas in Europe, there’s a lot more pressure and that’s why people go to Europe to compete,” McKenzy highlights. “Europe is where you make a name for yourself and it’s where the F1 teams are looking.

“The competition is much higher in Europe as well, so it’s what you need to do to make the next step into cars.”

In 2021, back in England, Mckenzy joined JHR Developments in the British F4 Championship for his rookie year in single seaters.

He ended a successful year in third in the Championship, but it could’ve been even better than P3 if a few more things went his way. However, racing is always unpredictable, especially in the lower categories.

“It built my initial experience for racing for wins and racing something with a little bit more power,” McKenzy says. “There was a lot to learn but it went really well and I had a really good team behind me so it was a smooth transition out of karts.

“It was very important to get that basis down when you get into a more powerful car with more downforce like the GB3 car. A lot of the things you learn in F4 go towards that.”


For the 2023 season, McKenzy has been competing in the GB3 Championship with Elite Motorsport, his second year in the category. At the beginning of the year, McKenzy had confidence in the car and hoped for a strong season, but some results haven’t gone his way. However, there’s still time to bounce back and end the season on a high. With two rounds remaining, McKenzy sits in the championship standings in P5, with 276 points.

“There’s still a long way to go and the pace we’ve shown is good,” he says. “We’ve definitely demonstrated that it’s possible to win races.

“The championship fight is not over yet and I could still make a bid for the title towards the end of the year.”

Finishing in the top three is one of McKenzy’s goals for the end of this year’s GB3 Championship campaign. He also had the goal of winning a race this season, and he achieved that in the fifth round of racing, at Silverstone.

“It was a big weight off my shoulders because it’s been a long time coming,” McKenzy says. “There have been opportunities to win at other circuits but it just didn’t quite materialise.

“It was a big relief to get that win under my belt and to prove to myself that I can do it, but also prove it to other people.”

McKenzy has also stepped up to the European motorsport scene this year, joining PHM Racing for the Austria and Silverstone rounds of the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

It was a very last minute opportunity, but due to having pre-existing connections with PHM through his GB3 engineer, McKenzy was offered the opportunity to jump in the F3 car for two rounds.

“It was a new car, at a new circuit [Red Bull Ring], so there was a lot on my plate to learn,” McKenzy says. “It was a good experience to challenge myself as a driver and throw myself in the deep end, which doesn’t happen very often.

“It’s sort of what you dream of as a driver, a late call up to drive a bigger car.”

Of course, Silverstone is a familiar circuit for McKenzy, with his previous British F4 and GB3 experience, as well as visiting with the BRDC, after securing a spot on their Rising Star programme after his 2021 British F4 campaign. So, racing at the Home of British Motorsport on the Formula 1 support calendar was an amazing opportunity for McKenzy.

“I’ve been to the British Grand Prix a couple of times as a spectator, so it was cool to be on the other side of it,” he says. “To race at a circuit that I’ve raced at so many times in GB3, in a new car and in a series I’ve been looking up to for a while, it was very cool.

“It was a dream come true, for sure.”


Looking ahead to 2024, a full-time race seat with a team in F3 is definitely at the top of McKenzy’s list, and being able to experience Formula 3 as a driver at Silverstone is a memory that has stuck with him.

“F3 is the next step, it’s where all the drivers at my level want to get to,” he says. “It’s where all the F1 teams are looking and it’s what you have to do to climb the ladder to F1 these days.”

Like many other drivers, Formula 1 is the ultimate goal for McKenzy and he hopes to reach the pinnacle of global motorsport one day. However, he has other racing categories which he would love to explore throughout his career, too, and has considered making the move back to America to join the IndyCar roster.

“Formula 1 is such a difficult sport to get into, so if I didn’t get into F1, IndyCar would be my top priority,” McKenzy says. “The Indy500 is arguably the biggest race in the world and it’s on the rise in popularity.

“It’s definitely something I would like to experience as well as F1.”