Night of the Champions
“I told the kids: ‘If you can win, and are fast at Whilton Mill, the car tracks will hold no surprises for you’ And I meant it.”
Bold statement - but accurate. How so? Here’s how:
Watch a grid of Senior X30 on an opening lap at t’Mill - and you, literally will not know where to look. Sh*t will be going down too fast for your brain to compute - in fact it would be less frenzied to be sitting in one of the karts.
I’ve been coaching at the Mill for the last few years, with Protrain racing. I see these kids week in, week out. Testing - testing - testing. Watch the front runners at work - it will make your eyes water.
Occasionally, especially when I have a classic car race or test in prospect, I will join them. I can tell you, this is simply NO place for an old man. First off, the Rotax I drive has 31PS - and a savage power band. Hot, the tyres can generate 2.2g on the kerbs at Whilton Mill. This is enough to make someone as ‘classic’, ( - and ballast-laden), as me crack a rib over the kerbs - which you have to ride - if you want to be remotely quick in a kart, which I am not. Realistically, if I break into the 47′s I will be going quickly. The kids on the same rubber will do 45′s. I am the karting equivalent of a diesel SUV … 🤣
But I do it ANYWAY, because it is the best prep. for racing … well, anything really.
The kids we presented trophies to at the FAST-R Whilton Mill Kart Club, are, by and large, ‘quick enough’. WM is fast, technical - and easy to drive defensively. We used it to evaluate the kids on that first ever series of GT Academy, and I use it today to gauge the quality of driver we might test with Enigma Motorsport, our Formula Ford team.
Not everyone transitions easily from karts to cars - entry level single-seaters are, by comparison, soft, slow and imprecise. But those that do - they have racecraft that’s likely to leave those that haven’t - karted - before starting car racing, wondering which way they went … EVERY contemporary F1 driver came up through the karting route. It’s essential.
Try one sometime. It will blow your mind. And crack your ribs.
And I will meet these kids down the line. For sure.
They will be winning in cars 👌🏁