When he made his debut in Indy Lights in 1999 with Team KOOL Green, Jonny Kane had no less than seven motorsports championships to his name. Before moving to America, Jonny made a name for himself on the race tracks of Europe. His career path so far is very similar to the same successful route followed by Dario Franchitti and David Coulthard to the highest levels of open-wheel racing.
Born in Comber, 14th May 1973, Jonny started racing in karts in Ireland in 1988 and in 1990 won the Irish 100 National Karting championship with 12 wins. He stepped up to race cars the following season and won the Irish Junior Formula Ford championship as well as one race in the British Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship.
Jonny went on to win the Irish Senior Formula Ford championship in 1992 and moved up to the highly competitive British Formula Ford championship for the next two seasons. He won the British Formula Ford title in 1994 with an incredible record of 13 wins, 11 poles and 12 fastest race laps. That same year Jonny also won the European Formula Ford Championship and the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series.
Paul Stewart Racing signed Jonny for the British Formula Vauxhall Championship in 1995 and he became the first rookie champion in the series history. That title, combined with a win in the European Formula Opel Championship, earned Jonny the prestigious BRDC McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award in 1995.
Jonny moved to the British Formula 3 championship with Stewart in 1996 and finished third in the series with three wins. The following season, he went on to win the British Formula 3 championship with three wins, five poles and four fastest race laps. He made four starts in a budget-limited Formula 3000 season in 1998 and decided to focus on the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship.
Jonny visited teams at the 1998 Toronto and Michigan races and established a relationship with Green that culminated with a contract for the 1999 season which continued into 2000. His only previous Indy Lights experience came in a one-off test with Brian Stewart Racing at Big Spring, Texas, at the end of the 1997 season.
- 1990: Irish 100 National Karting Champion
- 1990: 12 wins, 8 fastest laps
- 1991: Irish Ford - 4 wins, 5 poles, 5 fastest laps
- 1991: Irish Junior Formula Ford Champion
- 1992: British Ford - 1 win
- 1992: Irish Ford - 7 wins, 7 poles, 8 fastest laps
- 1992: Irish Senior Formula Ford Champion
- 1993: British Ford - 7th overall
- 1994: British Ford - 13 wins, 11 poles, 12 fastest laps
- 1994: European Ford - 3 wins, 4 poles, 5 fastest laps
- 1994: European Formula Ford Champion
- 1991: British Formula Vauxhall Junior - 1 win
- 1994: 3 wins, 3 pole positions, 3 fastest laps
- 1994: Formula Vauxhall Winter Series Champion
- 1995: European Formula Opel - 1 win, 1 pole, 1 fastest lap
- 1995: 5 wins, 6 pole positions, 5 fastest laps
- 1995: British Formula Vauxhall Champion
- 1996: 2nd overall Marlboro Masters of F3
- 1996: 3 wins, 5 pole positions, 5 fastest laps
- 1996: 3rd overall British Formula 3 Championship
- 1997: 3 wins, 4 pole positions, 4 fastest laps
- 1997 British Formula 3 Champion
- 1999: 1 win, 2 3rd places, 2 pole positions
- 1999: PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship Rookie of the Year
Information from David Cunliffe