Oliver Turvey is a British racing driver who currently competes in the FIA Formula E Championship for the sixth consecutive season. He made Formula E debut in 2015, waiting for his first and only podium until 2018.
Earlier in a career, he spent two seasons in the Japanese Super GT Series and raced with Jota Sport in endurance events, scoring LMP2 class victory at 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Successful start in karting
Born in April 1987 in Penrith, Cumbria, Oliver Jonathan Turvey started his racing career at the age eight in karting, after being taken to the event by his father, who was in the car industry.
Over the years, Turvey became more serious about his hobby and started to race at the regional level. After he has won many local championships, Turvey was told that he should think about a racing career.
In 1999, Oliver was a member of an English national team that won Inter-nations Championship. The following year, he won the Junior Yamaha National Championship and finally won the title in Junior Rotax class in 2002, his final year in karting.
Formula racing debut in 2003
He competed in the 2003 British Formula 3 Winter Series, which was a good preparation for the future. In 2004, Turvey debuted in Formula BMW UK, driving for SWR Team.
Oliver’s rookie season was a pretty good one as he scored his maiden victory before finishing 7th overall. The season of 2005 wasn’t so good because Turvey failed to win any race he entered but he had 8 podiums. He took the 8th place in the final standings.
In his last year in Formula BMW UK, Turvey finished as a runner-up. Driving for Team Loctite, he won 5 out of 14 races and had other 5 podiums and finished 95 points behind a champion Niall Breen. The important thing to know is that Oliver missed opening six races of the season due to lack of financial backing.
British Formula 3 vice-champion in 2008
In 2007, as a driver of Jenzer Motorsport, Turvey competed in Formula Renault but without too much success. In Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 he finished 8th overall, while in the Italian Formula Renault 2.0, Oliver was 9th. He failed to win a race in both competitions and left the series at the end of the season.
Turvey returned home to drive for Carlin Motorsport in the British Formula 3. This time he was much better and finished the season as a vice-champion. Four wins, a total of 13 podium finishes and the fact that he didn’t score only twice still weren’t enough for the title as he was 17 points behind a champion Jaime Alguersuari.
His driving was recognized by many and Turvey received McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, British Racing Drivers’ Club National Driver of the Year, Sports Personality of the Year award at the 2008 Cumbria Sports Awards, Daily Mirror Best British Driver in F3 Award, and the Dunhill Future Champion Award at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The following year Oliver stayed with Carlin, but this time competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. With one victory (Monza) and other three podiums, Turvey finished 4th overall and was the best of all rookie drivers.
Move to GP2 Series and McLaren-Honda test
The GP2 Series looked like a good opportunity for Turvey to get a step closer to Formula 1. Driving for iSport International team, he had a relatively good season. He didn’t score a win but after four podium finishes, he took the 6th place in the 2010 Drivers’ championship.
At the end of the year, he drove for McLaren in Formula 1 young drivers test in Abu Dhabi and had the second best time, while Daniel Ricciardo was the quickest.
However, the future wasn’t so bright after his financial backing by Racing Steps Foundation has expired and Turvey wasn't able to race in another GP2 Series season.
Endurance racing was a new opportunity
During 2011, the British racer competed in the selected events of the Blancpain Endurance Series, driving for CRS Racing team, while in 2012 Oliver was McLaren F1 team’s test driver alongside Gary Paffett.
Finally, in 2013 Turvey secured a full-time drive in European Le Mans Series with Jota Sport. He was driving in LMP2 class alongside Simon Dolan. The two had a very good season, they won the race at Silverstone and finished 3rd overall.
Victory at Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014
Turvey was doing fine in the endurance racing. He had a promising start and the situation seemed promising when he signed with Delta Motorsport to race in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class. Unfortunately, the team missed the season-opening round and soon they completely retired from the championship.
Luckily, Oliver was called by Jota Sport to jump into the seat for Le Mans 24 hours. Driving a Zytek-Nissan alongside Dolan and Harry Tincknell, he won the world’s most prestigious race in LMP2 class and earned his place in the history of motorsport.
Departure to Japan in 2015
Turvey returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2015 but failed to defend his crown. This time he shared a seat with Dolan and Mitch Evans in Jota Sport’s Gibson-Nissan and finished 2nd in LMP2 class.
The same year he competed in the Japanese Super GT Series, driving for Drago Modulo Honda Racing team but failed to impress and finished 12th in the championship, without a podium finish in any race.
Formula E regular since summer 2015
Probably the most important moment for Oliver that year was a debut in the FIA Formula E Championship. In June 2015, he raced in the final two races of the season with NextEV team and scored points in both. The following season he stayed with the team and finished 14th overall with 11 points on his account.
He then signed a contract extension for the 2016-2017 campaign, also continuing with his duties in the 2016 Super GT Series, participating in five races. After that, Formula E became his main competition and he finished 12th in the 2016-2017 season.
He stayed with the same team, which changed a name to NIO Formula E Team, in the season 2017-2018, scoring his maiden podium in March 2018 in Mexico City. Turvey stayed again with NIO in the 2018-2019 Formula E season, which saw the introduction of new Gen2 cars.