Being only 21 you've managed to fund your
own racing for several years. How do you manage such a tight budget,
but still perform at a high level?
First off I have been lucky enough to have help
from ALOT of people whom without I would no way be able to race.
My idea is to try and solve 1 problem in between
each meeting, for example if I think my overtaking is weak ill find
a way to learn how to improve it.
I have only done 4 meetings during 2008 but I maximize
every second on the track by remembering important details such
as revs on the exits of corners, but watching rivals is probably
my favourite way to learn and of course, its totally free!
At the TKM festival against 85 drivers
you were on pole by 4 tenths of a second in the wet conditions,
what techniques do you use in the wet to maximise your speed?
Driving in the wet is all about being on the limit
of the tyre’s grip without ever overstepping it, or else it
takes along time for the tyres to regain their traction. This means
braking very smoothly, steering only when the front wheels are able
to turn the kart and not breaking the traction, and balancing the
kart with the throttle. The throttle must of course be applied with
a great deal of feel and control. Also looking for the most grippy
parts of the circuit not only on turn in, but braking, mid corner
and exit is massively important.
"The main thing is to listen to
people you trust or who have proven themselves and understand fully
what they say"
Such a driving style is very fast, but doesn’t
generate as much heat in the tyres as a more ‘normal’
aggressive style, so you can only drive like this when the tyres
are up to temperature!
You travelled to the world championships
this year. What was the experience like, and what did you learn
I have been lucky enough to go 2 years in a row
now, and I can tell you its fantastic! There were fireworks during
the driver’s parade, full on restaurants at the circuits,
and the general facilities are amazing. The team’s awnings
are incredible, even the hospitality tents put the best UK teams
Driving wise these guys are incredible. It strikes
me that it is very similar to driving in the wet, never overstepping
the limit but getting as close as possible. Obviously the entry
speeds and cornering speeds are so much higher than the UK so the
shire speed of the karts is a great thing to see. The racing is
fantastic with very little contact, and drivers who are being overtaken
yield when they are beaten, unlike a lot of UK drivers.
Will testing KF1
Where do your ambitions lay? You seem to
have a tight budget but where do you want to be in the future?
My dream would be to be Karting World Champion
but obviously ambitions like that would mean I would have to work
very hard and continue improving in every single area as much as
possible. Obviously I would love to drive for a team, because with
such a pool of knowledge I could learn from and the fact I could
drive more than once every 2 months would mean I could improve a
You mention continually improving, what
are your current areas of improvement and how do you go about meeting
At the moment I am trying to improve my knowledge
of how to improve the chassis and engine setup. I will feel everything
that is happening with the kart but I am unable to to put into words
what they are, but I remember the feeling and when I learn certain
things I can then relate them back. So basically my communication
isn’t as good as it could be.
As a very basic example, a few years ago I remember
the kart feeling as if it were driving around on sponges and I was
getting no feel through the steering wheel and the kart had no grip,
then a few months later I found out what happens if you have too
high tyre pressures, and it matched the handling from that day,
now I can describe that feeling as the pressures being too high.
When I have a problem to solve (be it physical,
mental or with team or kart etc), I will have a long discussion
with certain people a few days or weeks later and find if they have
any ideas or understand what I mean. Depending on what the problem
is, I’ll also do a few runs on the simulator or maybe read
up in books to see if anything is mentioned.
You came to France with Karting1 earlier
this year. How was it, and what did you learn from this experience?
First off I learned to always look after your passport
in the airport!!! Going to France was honestly one of the best experiences
I’ve ever had in karting. To see some of your heroes walking
around was great, and to drive at such a brilliant track was great
fun. It was also great to meet Paul Woelfle again and have a good
chat with him over dinner where we heard some funny stories about
a few of his old drivers such as Heidfeld and Frentzen, and to hear
more about how the Aixro XR50 came about. We also met Andy Brunner,
who told us about Dakar when he rode for Suzuki, his son who races
back in Switzerland and the guy who flipped on grippy tyres because
he wasn’t used to driving them! It really was great fun and
I’d love to go again! We also saw Mika Hakkinen taking a sneaky
fag behind the garages!
Will in France this year driving the
awesome Aixro XR50/Swiss Hutless SLR Kart
Making the most out of everything you get
is very important as you say. How do you go about analysing all
of the testing and racing you do?
A good example would be the recent testing we have
done with data logging. We picked up data from a test day and discussed
and analysed it for a whole week. The next time we were on the circuit
we were lapping the same speed as the lap record 8kg overweight,
with a SNAPPED chassis and 3 day old tyres.
Of course thinking about and imagining corners
from lines on a computer and how u can drive the corners to match
this data next time you go to the track in a few weeks takes a huge
level of imagination! I also try and analyse what would be best
for that situation or corner. Driving becomes a mental thing almost.
So in a way, I get more testing than everyone else!
What tips would you give to budding racers
out there struggling for cash, but still wanting to improve themselves?
First off I would advise them to learn as MUCH
as possible at every opportunity, and never think they are driving
their kart to the maximum, because no one on Earth ever has, and
probably never will! Secondly I’d advise them to be smart
where they spend their money.
For example if a driver was given £600, don’t
buy a new engine, rent a proven one for 6 rounds of the British
champs and use the rest of the money on something else. Driver training
with Evenflow is probably the
best use of money to a cash strapped driver. Even though the £200
a day may seem extortionate, I guarantee you will learn more in
that day than 10 club races (costing £1000 in total) Its all
about balancing the cost of everything with the benefits, and mostly
non material things come out on top.
The main thing is to listen to people you trust
or who have proven themselves and understand fully what they say,
and try and incorporate it into your driving. Probably the MOST
important thing is to enjoy your racing, that way it reduces the
stress of the weekend and makes it all worth while, even if your
car does have a few dents on the roof afterwards!!!
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