9-YEAR OLD TAKES ON THE WORLD: Aqil Alibhai will compete against international kart racers in Kent, England, this weekend. Image: Werner Viet
Johannesburg - 9-year old South African kart ace Aqil Alibhai is headed to England for the opening round of the 2016 Formula Kart Stars series this weekend (April 9-10).
Johannesburg racer Alibhai, who competes in the 60cc primary school Maxterino class at home and lies a close second in the 2016 Northern Regions Karting championship after two rounds, travels to England following a tough but encouraging SA national opener in Cape Town earlier in April.
'Racing since the age 5'
Alibhai will race in the Formula Super Kart Cadet 60cc class for 8-10 year-old kids, where he will find himself competing with among the top primary school age group drivers in the world.
Young Alibhai said: “I am really excited to be part of this series. I’ve been racing since the age of five and now I have the privilege to compete internationally at 9 years old.
“Thanks to Uncle Elijah and my Dad for this opportunity to let South African talent shine!”
Supported by Bernie Ecclestone, Lewis Hamilton and several Formula 1 teams, the British-based Formula Kart Stars is considered to be a main road to F1 through racing and education.
Formula Kart Stars is widely regarded as the premier training grounds for aspiring single-seater and sports car drivers.
Young racers race in identical cars in Formula Kart Stars and have to manage tyres and fuel. Most significantly, all engines are powered by computer ballot that distributes power equally to all drivers, in order to reward pure driving talent.
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This hones the race craft in young drivers to best set a kart up on a perfectly level playing field.
The series - comprising four classes catering for drivers from 8 to 18 years old - kicks off at the Buckmore Park kart track in Kent this weekend.