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Can I make a career in karting?

When is it too late to start karting? It is a question as old as the sport itself. The truth is, there is no set timeline on when it is no longer acceptable to drive (excluding health conditions of course). Today’s current trend has shown that kids as young as 5 years old have been put in these machines in the hopes that they evolve into a professional driver. But truth be told, this is not a rule in any book, and anyone can drive a kart at any age. In fact, there are a few drivers that do not follow this norm and have still managed to carve a name for themselves. In this article, we will provide five cases wherein despite their age, these drivers have made an impact in the world of grassroot motorsports.

  

Late Bloomer: Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes

Source: KartSportNews

 

With the aforementioned norm of kids starting out in racing early, there are still a few outliers who manage to carve out a professional career despite their late entry into motorsports. Jake Hughes is one of them. Starting at the very late age of 16, Hughes wouldn’t pursue karting for too long, lasting only around three years. However, in that timespean, he has managed notable results such as a 4th place in the Super 1 National Championship, a karting championship in the UK.

 

Thereafter, he would jump straight into single-seaters. His breakout season would come in 2013 when he won the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in his first campaign. He beat out many notable drivers such as elite GT Driver Seb Morris, and current Indycar Driver Pietro Fittipaldi. As his career progressed, he would also garner a second place finish in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps, F3 Asian Championship, and pick up multiple podium finishes in Formula 3. Eventually, he would be hired by the Mercedes F1 Team as a simulator driver. While any chance of a pro racing career looked bleak, the NEOM McLaren Formula E team would see his potential and sign him to be paired alongside fellow Brit Sam Bird. He races for them to this day.

 

If there is anything we can learn from the story of Jake Hughes, it’s that the first step is to find a way to get on track. Once there, only then you will find the potential you may have within

 

Keeping Up With The Times: Tom Joyner

Tom Joyner

Source: TKart

 

Unlike Hughes, Tom Joyner got an earlier start in karting as he would compete in his first championship at the age of 8, finishing sixth place in the Super One Series in his very first year. As his career progressed, he would slowly work his way up. So much so that he would eventually find himself racing in prestigious championships such as the WSK Euro Series, and the CIK-FIA European Championship. Eventually he would commit to competing internationally full-time in 2012. Without a doubt, he has had an eventful career, accumulating multiple podiums and race victories.

 

However, it would be during 2013 where he would have the most challenging and competitive season of his career. In this stellar year, he would win the CIK-FIA Karting World Championship, beating tough competition. Included in this list is 3-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen. On top of this, he was occupied with his job as a postman, which he took after having a gap year prior to entering higher education.

After competing in his final year of racing in 2018, he now works as a technician for KR Motorsport. Joyner has shown us that if there is a will, there is a way. Even with a day job on the weekdays, he did not stop at anything to make sure he would be on track racing during the weekends.

 

Making A Living: Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper

Source: Canadian Karting News (CKN)

 

Competing in his first major championship at age 12, the Brit Ben Cooper has had a relatively late start to racing himself. This did not deter him however as he has carved many avenues of success for himself through the world of grassroots motorsports.

 

With regards to actual on track racing, he was able to become a 4-time Rotax World Champion and European champion. His name is all but synonymous with the Rotax brand at this point. Later in his life, he would also move from the UK to Canada. Around this time he would eventually decide to be an instructor. Fast forward to today, he now manages Ben Cooper Performance, with himself serving as a driver-coach for the next generation both on and off track, while also acknowledging the importance of mental health.

 

Norman Vincent Peale once said, “shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. This is the case for Ben Cooper. As even after an outstanding racing career, he has also carved out a path of his own beyond the race track. In fact, even with all this, he continues racing today. At the age of 32, Cooper continues to shine on track as well. Winning the Rotax Grand Finals, Rotax US Trophy, and finishing runner up in the SKUSA Supernationals all in just the last year !

 

Cultivating The Next Generation: David Sera

david sera

 

While we know him now as a top-tier coach and owner of the Kart Class, David Sera was without a doubt a top-tier driver in his early days. He would immediately make waves by winning the Australian National Sprint Kart championship on multiple occasions, officially cementing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Australian karting scene.

 

However, Sera did not limit himself to home soil as he would later in his career make leaps across the pond to compete with some of the best karting drivers. Proving his worth, he would stand amongst the greats, achieving notable accolades such as a runner up finish in the SKUSA Supernats senior category, as well as the Rotax Max Grand Finals.

 

But even with all this success, instead of continuing his already illustrious career, he would decide to instead guide and lead the generation of karters. This would lead to him starting Kart Class, an online training program to help drivers win and excel in karting. On top of this, this venture has also seen collaborations with drivers such as Danny Formal which help increase the value and amount of content that Kart Class offers. Sera’s story is truly inspiring. It teaches us to always give back to the karting community, and it serves as a reminder that we can be a source of growth and knowledge for those around us.

 

Returning Home: Oscar Piastri

Oscar Piastri

Source: EssentiallySports

 

Even as he has reached the pinnacle of motorsport, Oscar Piastri never forgot his roots, starting remote control car racing at first, before his karting career began at age 10. Piastri would go on to experience many wins at podiums at State & National level, before embarking on a European karting campaign with UK based team Ricky Flynn Motorsport.

 

Once Piastri stepped inside an open-wheel race car, that’s where his true talents shone. Championships in Formula 3, Formula 2, and now podiums in Formula 1, have this Melbourne based driver on his way to a long and distinguished career.

 

This is exactly why drivers often find their way back into karting. Its ease of use and accessibility makes it a go to option for drivers to keep their racing skills sharp and in tune.

 

CONCLUSION

In short, there is more to life than just Formula 1. While driving 300km/h+ and living a lavish lifestyle sounds fun, it is only possible to a select few. However, anything below that is not less of an achievement either. As we have seen, some distinguished karting drivers become coaches, some own race teams, and some find success in other categories. All of this is possible because of karting. Therefore, the first step is to just get your foot in the door. From there, let karting surprise you and take you on a journey like no other.

 

To elevate your go-kart racing career to the next level, Kart Class has your back! Under the tutelage of a multi-time race winner and Australian kart champion David Sera, a variety of training programs are in store for you. For beginners and champions alike, and even track guides on the most notorious race tracks out there, Kart Class will be sure to take you from the back of the pack and all the way to the winner’s circle!

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