Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton; the list goes on for the number of F1 drivers who started out in karts. In fact the list includes the entire grid of F1’s current drivers, because every single one of them first cut their teeth on the kart track. It’s no surprise then that thousands of aspiring racers flock to tracks across the globe all year long, thrashing these simple machines around miniature race-tracks in the hopes of being noticed as an upcoming talent. But unfortunately for them it’s not so simple; talent is only a small part of what junior car racing teams require from a top-level karter. Instead it seems for many there is a bigger, more foreboding requirement that dictates their jump into cars - Money.
Something that no doubt had already played a major part in their careers as karters, entering car racing often requires such large sums of money, that racing drivers have to give up on the dream before they’d even got started. Even the very best can fall at this cash hurdle; take a British Champion for example. At just 19 years of age, Will van Es, the 2013 TKM Extreme Champion, only finished off the podium of one of the UK’s premier karting classes twice during the whole year, with poles, fastest laps and dominant wins gifting him a season not too dissimilar to that of a certain German F1 driver. A display of such skill and talent would surely provide him with a CV weighted enough to draw in the scouts of racing car teams, and open the doors to a long, illustrious professional racing career. But instead of sprinting up the ladder towards the world of high performance single seaters, Will has chosen to stay put in karts.