Nigel Melker is a racing driver from the Netherlands who competed few seasons in single-seater competitions which were one step from F1, such were GP2 Series or Formula Renault 3.5 Series, but never had a chance to race in Formula One. His biggest success is a championship title in the FA1 (Formula Acceleration 1) Series in 2014.
The young Nigel was successful in karting competitions
Born in January 1991 in Rotterdam, Nigel Melker started his racing career at the age 10, entering national karting competitions. He was pretty successful, winning some national titles in Netherland and Germany and finishing second in the European Junior Championship in 2005.
Melker closed his karting career at the end of 2006. He was out of racing in 2007 and then entered the Formula Renault in 2008 with Van Amersfoort Racing.
Two seasons in the Formula Renault 2.0
In2008, Melker competed both in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup and Italian Formula Renault, not scoring wins or podiums in his rookie season.
For the 2009 Formula Renault season, he joined MP Motorsport to compete in the Northern European Cup and Eurocup. He was again without wins or podiums.
Progressing to GP3 Series in 2010
In 2010, Melker joined RSC Mücke Motorsport for the GP3 Series season. He started the season by taking a pole position in the opening round at Barcelona. In the race, he retired after an accident.
He took another pole in Turkey but again failed to score points. He earned points only in the final round at Monza, finishing 23rd in the standings.
Nigel Melker in 2011
Double programme and five wins in 2011
Melker remained with Mücke Motorsport in the 2011 GP3 Series season, significantly improving his performance. He won the season-opening race at Istanbul Park and added four more podiums later in the season, finishing third in the final standings behind Valtteri Bottas and James Calado.
Parallel to GP3 commitments, Melker was driving for Mücke Motorsport in the Formula 3 Euro Series, also being very successful. He was a race winner four times in 24 attempts, finishing fourth in the final standings, better than all his teammates.
In 2012, Melker was driving for Ocean Racing in GP2 Series
2012 – a season in the GP2 Series
At the end of the season 2011, Melker participated in the non-championship GP2 Final round at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit, driving for DAMS. He joined Portuguese team Ocean Racing Technology for the full season in the 2012 GP2 Series.
His best result was the fourth place at Silverstone. He was among the point-scorers four times, finishing 19th in the final standings.
Nigel Melker in 2013
2013 – a season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series
In August 2012, Melker made a one-off attempt in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Lotus, taking a podium at Silverstone. For the 2013 FR 3.5 Series season, he made a deal with team champions Tech 1 Racing to drive a full season in the #2 car alongside series veteran Mikhail Aleshin.
Melker reached podiums four times, finishing in the third place two times (Spa and Moscow Raceway) and in the second place in both races at Red Bull Ring. He finished sixth in the points, six positions ahead of his teammate Aleshin.
Nigel Melker in his FA1 Lola-Zytek race car
Formula Acceleration 1 champion in 2014
Unable to find a drive in Formula Renault 3.5 Series or to make a progress to another ladder series, Melker agreed to drive for Azerti Motorsport/Team Netherlands in the inaugural Formula Acceleration 1 series. Old Lola-Zytek cars were used, known from A1 Grand Prix Series between 2005 and 2008.
In eight races at four tracks, Melker was fighting for the championship title against Mirko Bortolotti, with three wins for each. Bortolotti missed season's finale at Assen, Melker won both races and captured a championship title.
It was Melker's last full season in a competition so far. In the following years, he was doing some tests in World Series by Renault and returned to racing few times in various competitions, such are Supercar Challenge, FARA series or Dutch Endurance Championship.