2015 British Formula Kart Stars Junior Champion

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FKS Rounds 11 and 12 were held at the Glan Y Gors circuit in Wales. Tom had already clinched the title, and watched the racing from the commentary box. He then lead the Juniors out on the circuit on his lap of honour for the Finals. It was a very special moment for Tom, with Number One on his kart and proudly representing Donington Park.

Tom was introduced to the guest of honour, former Formula One World Champion and two time Indy 500 champion – Emmerson Fittipaldi, who congratulated Tom for his championship win. It was certainly a very special moment !

As Junior Champion, Tom is invited to attend the Autosport Awards at the Grosvenor Hotel in London in December. He wins a free entry to the Championship next year. He also wins an entry to the Ginetta Scholarship in October.

Tom will attend the Official prize presentation at the Autosports Show in January.

Tom commented ” I have really enjoyed FKS, and think it has been a brilliant Championship.  The television coverage by Sky Sport F1 is amazing, and the whole experience has been fantastic. The prizes are superb and I’d like to thank Carolynn Hoy and the whole team for their hard work, to make it a very special Championship.

I am delighted to have won  Formula Kart Stars , and I am so very proud to represent Donington Park. I’d like to thank Christopher Tate for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to dedicate my Championship win to Mr Tom Wheatcroft.”

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Super One Minimax round 8

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Photos courtesy of Kartpix.net

 

Round 8 was held at Whilton Mill near Daventry.

Toms weekend saw some brilliant results in his heats and Final 1, but disaster struck in the Final 2 !

Qualifying was difficult with Tom being unable to get a good clear lap, but was still 5th fastest, just 5ooths sec off pole.

Heat 1 After a good start and a hard battle throughout the 10 minute race, Tom finished a strong 2nd place.

In heat 2 Tom started P5 and by lap 3 had got into third place. After battling hard, Tom got to 2nd place on lap 5 behind his team mate, but another driver knocked him onto the grass, which caused Tom to drop to 7th. Clawing his way back, Tom finished 5th.

Final 1 Tom started Pole and got a good start off the line. It was another hard and at times ‘rough’ race. Tom dropped down the order at one stage, after getting pushed wide, then misjudging the driver breaking early in front, Tom tapped the back of him, causing him to go wide. Tom finished P3, but a 5 place penalty for his earlier error, dropped his Final grid position to P8.

Final 2  After leaving the grid for the warm up lap, Tom got to the first corner, where his engine cut out. After numerous attempts to re start, Tom was unable to participate in the race.

Toms comments ” I  felt very confident with the kart set up and had good pace this weekend. I had a good chance of a win, so it was very disappointing to suffer more mechanical issues, and see more valuable points lost.”

 

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Tom wins the FKS Championship still with two rounds to go !

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Photos courtsey of Kartpix.net

Rounds 9 and 10 were held at Rowrah in the beautiful Lake District.

Round 9

An unfortunate error meant that Tom was called in prematurely in qualifying and had to settle for P4.

Heat 1 was a rushed change to wet tyres  after it starting raining. Tom soon got to the lead, pulling a gap and taking the win.

Heat 2 Tom started pole, on a wet track and pushed away with another driver. On the last lap, and after a mistake he finished P2.

Heat 3 on a drying track, overtook to take the lead,but his tyres were getting worn, due to to a drying track. After getting run on to the grass, Tom came over the line in 3rd.

The Final was held on a dry track, and Tom lead the race pulling a gap, and Taking the chequered flag an incredible 8 seconds ahead of the field.

Round 10

Qualifying was held on a dry track on Sunday.  Tom had a problem with his starter motor, but after a hurried change, Tom went out and took pole after only putting in 4 laps. His kart felt really good and with almost fresh tyres he looked good for the heats.

Heat 1 Tom lead the race from start to finish, and after some brilliant defending on the last lap, took the win.

Heat 2  After the second place driver jumped the start, Tom was lying 2nd for 3 laps, then he overtook him and pulled away, winning by 0.790 secs.

In heat 3  Another jump start from the 2nd place driver off the line, dropped Tom to second, but Tom got past with 6 mins to go, and pulled away to take another win.

Final  Tom got into the lead by the end of the first lap, putting in consistently fast laps. By the end of the 20 mins race, he came over the line with an astounding 9.780 seconds lead and taking fastest lap.

Another remarkable double victory for Tom, and also gaining enough points to walk away Junior Champion and still with two rounds to go !!

Tom commented ” I am absolutely delighted to have won the Junior title, and still with two rounds left. A huge thank you to Piers Sexton (PSR) who has done a fantastic job running me in FKS. I am incredibly proud  for my sponsor Donington Park, and that I have had the opportunity to compete in a Championship with close links to Formula One.”

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Total domination in FKS Rounds 7 & 8 for Team Donington Park

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Photos by Chris walker @Kartpix.net

FKS Rounds 7 & 8 were held at Wigan at the weekend.

Tom had not been to the track for a few years, and was looking forward to racing at the Three Sisters circuit again.

Round 7  (Saturday)

Tom qualified P2, just 0.05secs off pole.

In heat one, starting on the outside, he made a great start, slotting into 3rd. On lap two, he was pushed down to 5th, but then soon made up a place, and pushed the driver in front, to catch the two leaders. With 3 laps to go, he made his move and took the lead, pulling a gap to take the win, by over two seconds.

In heat two, after a brilliant start from pole, Tom was able to pull a gap,  and drove the whole race with a comfortable lead, to take another win.

Heat 3  again starting  from pole,Tom pulled a gap at the start, but with two drivers behind working together, he was soon caught up the long straight, getting in his slipstream. Tom drove well, and after taking back the lead, with a swap of positions, managed to pull a gap, to take his third win of the day.

Final: Starting pole, Tom got a gap at the start, but quickly got caught on the straight.    They were joined by a train of three drivers and Tom dropped to 2nd.  He pushed the leader for 5 laps, before, getting shuffled back to 3rd. With 6 laps remaining, Tom made a move for 2nd and with the leader going wide, he took the lead. After defending well on the last lap, Tom took a well deserved victory. A clean sweep !

Round 8  (Sunday)

Tom did an awesome job, qualifying P1, putting in the quickest lap, with the least amount of laps in the 30 mins of qualifying.

In heat 1, Tom started P1, pulling a comfortable gap.  After consistently fast laps, the chasing group were unable to catch him and  Tom took the win.

Heat 2, from pole, Tom pulled a gap, but at one point the chasing group looked to be catching. Tom managed to maintain his lead, and took the win.

In heat 3, Tom dropped to 2nd at the start, but by lap 3, took back the lead. He couldn’t quite shake off the chasing driver, who was able to catch up in his slipstream. Defending well, on the last lap, Tom took the third win of the day.

Final, Starting from pole, he made a good start, and lead for two laps. He was then shuffled back to 5th.  With 8 drivers at the front there were continual changes of lead as everyone tried to unsuccessfully to break away.  With 3 laps to go, Tom made his move into 2nd and with the leader defending, Tom was hit hard from behind and did well to stay on track. This caused the leader to go wide and narrowly avoiding disaster, Tom made his move to take the lead.  He pulled a gap and drove brilliantly for the remaining two laps to take the chequered flag and victory !

Tom totally dominated the weekend, with 8 out of 8 wins. A superb display of quality racing. Tom said ” What an amazing weekend ! The kart felt fantastic, thanks to Piers Sexton. He has been terrific, and I couldn’t have done it without him. Sundays final was especially tough, but I’m so happy to have won both rounds. ”

Tom was also won the Bernie Ecclestone ‘Driver of the Day’ Award for outstanding results in Round 5 at Nutts Corner. Another amazing achievement.

Tom leads the Junior Championship:  Junior Standings

 

 

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Super One Rissington

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Photos courtesy of Chris Walker @ Kartpix.net

Tom travelled to the Cotswolds, for the 5th round of the Minimax Super One championships at the Rissington circuit.

Tom was in high spirits, and looking forward to racing at the track, where he had claimed 2nd place, in last years Super One Iame Cadet.

He was 5th fastest in timed qualifying, but was unhappy with the handling of the kart, and a few changes were made to the set up.

In heat 1, Tom made a good start and stayed 5th, but lack of pace, and an unsettled kart meant he was unable to stay with the leaders. After dropping to 8th at one point he battled hard to stay 6th, then in the closing stages took 5th over the line.

Heat 2 was much of the same, with lack of pace, and grip. After slotting into second place at the start, he slid down the order, and battled to stay 6th over the line.

From starting P6 in Final 1, he held his position, but the same problems meant he dropped back down the order to finish 11th. Disappointingly, after a technical infringement, he was unfortunately excluded from the race.

Tom was keeping positive, and started P24 for  Final 2. After a fantastic start, he gained 5 positions on the first lap. Tom was lying 9th, with 5 laps to go, but the lead group ahead had too big a gap to close. But still a superb drive from Tom.

Tom commented “We have had problems all weekend,which we have tried to get on top of, and although the kart felt better in the Final, we were not quick enough to win. We think it may have been due to the tyres. I hope I  can recover some lost points in the next round.”

 

 

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British Kartmasters 2015 – Junior X30 Champion !

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Special thanks to Chris Walker @ Kartpix.net for the fantastic photos

The 2015 MSA British Kartmasters Grand Prix, held over 4 days at PFI was a truly impressive event, with bumper grids in the X30 classes.

With a grid of 47 drivers in the X30 Junior class, Tom was up against some very experienced drivers some having raced in this class for two years.

Representing RL Racing Department, Tom was hoping for some good results in his heats, to be at the front of the grid for Sundays Grand Prix.

Tom qualified 3rd in his group, P5 overall.

Toms first heat was a baptism of fire, getting loaded several times and ending up on the grass. After recovering well from dropping to 7th, he made a move on two drivers at the 1st hairpin taking 5th. With two laps to go he made a move at the first hairpin, and pulled a gap, to finish 4th.

In his second heat, he got to 3rd , after a good start, before getting shuffled back to 6th. After changes of positions throughout the race, he got back up to 3rd. With two laps to go, he made a move going over the bridge, taking the lead, and pulling a gap, crossing the line winning by 3.45 seconds.

Timed qualifying, Tom was P1 in group, P2 overall.

Heat 3 Tom dropped to 4th on the first corner, but by lap 5 he had taken the lead. Heading the field on and off for 3 laps, he got demoted back to 6th, after a mistake, and bounced over the grass. He held 6th over the line.

In his 4th heat, Tom took the lead at the first corner and lead for a couple of laps.There were changes of lead with him, and at one stage was pushed wide onto the grass. Recovering well, he fought hard to finish 3rd.

Pre Final Tom started a well earned P2. He was pushed onto the grass at the start but managed to hold 4th. He then progressed up to the lead. After heading the field for 5 laps, he was then lunged and pushed off onto the grass. It took a couple laps to clear his tyres and be able to start coming back. Unable to make more places in the closing stages, Tom came home in 8th, but after a penalty to another driver, moved Tom to 7th.

Grand Prix Starting from P7 Tom was loaded, but managed to maintain his position. Moving up to 5th Tom tried a move on the defending drivers, but lost a lot of places dropping to 11th, and lost 3 seconds on the lead group on lap 4. Tom went past two drivers who had crashed and started to reel the leaders in.Catching the front group and with 3 laps to go he made a move for 2nd, and left the group behind squabbling for 3rd. There were 2 laps  remaining and 8 tenths of a second gap to close. On the 16th and final lap,( Tom being fastest on track) and with two corners to go, he caught the leader and then got a brilliant cut back to pull clear and take victory. What a drive !! A truly awesome show of talent.

Tom’s comments ” I’m absolutely delighted to be the Junior X30 Kartmasters Champion and to also have been awarded the very special ‘Driver of the day’ award. It was a tough race, but all the hard work paid off. It was such an emotional moment for me, crossing the line to take the victory.  I couldn’t have achieved the result without Steve Armstrong, RL Racing Department, my mechanic dad, and Kartune Motorsport. I’d like to thank everyone for the awesome support they showed me. A special thank you to Chris Walker at Kartpix for his brilliant photos. ”

 

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FKS Double podium in Ireland

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The Nutts Corner circuit in Ireland hosted  Formula Kart Stars rounds 5 & 6 at the weekend.

Competitors had two practice days to learn the circuit. Tom had raced as a young cadet driver at the track in 2012, so was familiar with the track lay out, and was looking forward to racing the X30 around the fast and technical circuit.

Round 5

Timed qualifying went well, Tom taking P3,  with the two Irish guest drivers  taking pole and P2, being their local track.

In heat one Tom had a good start and slotted into second place, pushing away with Sam McDonnell a guest driver. Half way through the race, Daniel Harper the other guest driver caught and passed them both. Toms lap times were getting nearer to the fastest, and he finished 3rd.

In heat two he had a bad start from P3, with loading from behind. Another kart got caught on Toms back bumper and he dropped to 5th.He worked his way back into 3rd, but was unable to close the gap, so finished P3.

Heat three Tom didn’t get a great start and got shuffled into 4th, but the leaders were battling, and Tom was able to catch them. He took the lead, but in the closing stages Daniel Harper caught and passed, with Tom claiming P2 over the line.

Final  Starting from P3, Tom made a good start. The two guest drivers pulled a gap, but with Tom being consistent, he managed to catch and pass Sam McDonnell to finish a brilliant 2nd place.

Round 6

Qualifying was very wet, and although Tom was fast, he was disappointed with P6.

After making some changes to the set up, Tom started Heat one from P6. Starting on the outside he got pushed wide and dropped to 7th. He then hacked back through the field to finish 4th.

Heat two Again starting from P4 on the outside, he was pushed wide and dropped to 7th on the first corner. After another outstanding drive in the wet conditions, he clawed his way back, to take a valiant 3rd over the line.

Heat three Tom got off the line really well and slotted into 2nd, pulling clear of the chasing pack. Sam McDonnell pulled a gap and Tom was unable to catch him. A brilliant drive from Tom taking P2 in worsening track conditions.

Final He got a brilliant start off the line, and was in 2nd, with Sam McDonnell ahead. They pulled a gap from the field, but Tom couldn’t match his pace. Half way through the 17 min  race, Daniel Harper caught and got past Tom, but with a huge gap back to the rest of the field, Tom crossed the line in torrential rain, to take his sixth superb podium of the championship.

Commenting after the race “I love this track and have enjoyed the weekend immensely. The two local drivers know the track well, and I think I put up a good fight. I’m really enjoying  FKS and it’s brilliant that Sky Sports F1 have been here filming  again. I’m so happy to represent Donington Park and also stretching my lead in the Championship. A special thank you to Piers Sexton for helping me to achieve such great results. ”

 

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Super One Glan Y Gors

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Photos courtesy of Kartpix.net

 

The Glan Y Gors circuit in Wales hosted the 4th Round of the British Minimax Championship at the weekend.

Tom was  looking to score good points in the heats and finals, to maintain his overall 3rd place in the Championship and gain points on the leaders.

On Saturday, Tom qualified P5 where he started heat 1. After losing a place on the first lap, he settled into the race, putting in consistently fast laps and worked his way through the field. By the last lap he was battling for the lead, but had to defend his position from the driver behind and he crossed the line 0.15 behind the winner, also gaining fastest lap.

In heat 2 Tom got off the line well, and stayed P5 for two laps, then after a mistake challenging for 4th, he dropped  to 8th. Tom then caught and passed,and climbed to third place, with a gap to close to 2nd. On the last lap, after chasing him down, got past  and crossed the line to finish in 2nd place… again being the fastest on track.

With rain overnight, the paddock woke up to  heavy drizzle on Sunday, and the wet tyres were used in the morning practice. It was a hard call for tyre choice for Final 1, with a wet but drying track. Some drivers opted to use their wet tyres, but Tom and the majority of the grid went out on slicks, to conserve their wets, if needed for the second of the finals, later in the day.Tom started P2, and got off the line well, heading the field for two laps, but the kart set up made it difficult in the tricky conditions, and he was caught and passed, some of the drivers on wet tyres, and he dropped to eighth. With the track rapidly drying, and finding more grip, Tom was able to close the gap and then pass on the last lap to take P7. A brilliant drive from Tom.

The start of Final 2 was questionable, with some drivers jumping the start, and Tom found himself in 10th, rather than P7, with the leader a long way ahead on the first lap. Tom started to close the gap, and looking very fast. After starting to pass another driver he was hit from behind, and went off onto the grass. Now back in 12th, Tom had a lot of work to do, but was once again the fastest on track. In the closing stages  of the 15 min race, Tom was in 6th, and was on the back of two drivers, on the last lap. He tried a move, but was backed up, with them defending, and lost a place over the line, finishing P7. After 2 drivers were given penalties for jumping the start, Tom was promoted to 5th. Not the result he hoped for, but has gained more valuable points in the Championship. He also took fastest lap again.

Tom said after the race “It’s been a mixed weekend for me, but I’ve really enjoyed racing here in Wales. I’ve been very fast all weekend, and looking forward to coming back here again soon “.

 

 

 

 

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Super One Podium at Buckmore Park

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Photos by Chris Walker @ Kartpix.net

Buckmore Park in Kent hosted Round 3 of the Super One Minimax Championship at the weekend.

Tom was looking to have a good result here, and during Fridays practice, worked hard with getting the best set up for the weekend.

Qualifying didn’t go to plan. Although his fastest lap looked like a P1, going purple mid sector, a slight mistake lost him time and he had to settle for P11, with a time of 40.78, the fastest being 40.58secs.

Heat 1 starting from P11, Tom made three places on the first lap, but had trouble getting the kart turning in on the corners. This gave the chasing group the opportunity to get past and Tom dropped to 15th. He fought back and climbed to 12th, before he was pushed down the order to finish 15th.

After making some changes, Tom felt confident he had a better set up for Heat 2. Starting from P11 he got to 8th in the first couple of laps. He was then shuffled back to 11th. With three laps to go, Tom was lying tenth, and looking really fast. He caught the pack ahead and gained two places. In the closing stages, two drivers collided, which  gained him another place. He finished 7th place, and was second fastest on track.

Tom started P11 for Final 1 and climbed to 9th on the first lap. Tom was really flying and was in the lead with 5mins left on the clock. He was then shuffled back to 4th. Closing the gap on the leaders, and with 2mins to go, Tom was hit and half spun, dropping him to 7th. After the race, two drivers were given a penalties. This promoted him to 5th place.

Tom lined up on the grid P5 for Final 2. He made a great start off the line, and was in the lead group on the first lap of the 15 minute race. Tom was in 3rd by the fourth lap. He then passed and took the lead, with 10 mins to go. He was then pushed back to 3rd slot, but had a gap to the battle for 4th place behind. With 5 mins left, the time was shortened due to a stricken kart and driver, at the side of the track. Tom took 2nd place, and looked on for the win. A yellow flag at the penultimate corner, meant he was unable to challenge for the lead, and  although a very close finish, 0.08secs off the win, he finished a superb P2.

Tom said after the race ” I’ve had a good weekend overall. I’ve moved into 3rd place overall in the Championship. Buckmore Park has been challenging, and I’m really happy with my pace. Piers Sexton (standing in for Steve Armstrong) did a great job.”

 

 

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Another Victory in FKS at Silverstone!

 

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Tom  continued his superb run of form in the 2015 Formula Kart Stars series, with another win and a string of podium finishes.

Following up his victory in round one of Formula Kart Stars at Whilton Mill last month,  Donington Park-backed Tom headed to Silverstone optimistic of more podium finishes, and he delivered that in fine style with victory in Saturday’s round three. Starting from eighth on the grid, he carved his way through the field to take another brilliant win in the F1-backed kart series, which counts support from the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton.

He started his weekend strongly with constant progress in pre-event testing, eventually finishing up fourth and just 0.070s off the top spot. He carried that form over to Saturday morning, setting the fastest time in the warm up session before cementing a slot on the front row of the grid with the second fastest time for Heat One.

The first race was to prove controversial. Tom crossed the line to finish the race as the winner after a battling drive including gaining three places in one lap, but was then excluded from the results, due to a technical non-compliance.

Putting the disappointment behind him, he claimed a strong fourth place in Heat Two from 11th on the grid, fighting his way up through the field.

In Heat Three he again demonstrated his overtaking abilities, to claim his first podium of the weekend in third place. Starting from fourth, he dropped to seventh on lap one, but fought his way up to as high as second place, including a three place gain on lap nine, before dropping to third on the final lap.

Heading into the all-important final in strong form, Tom once more showed his fighting qualities to climb three places on lap two, and then four places in the next four laps to hit the front on lap six. He then proceeded to lead the majority of the remainder of the race, emerging on top of battles with Jac Maybin and Dean MacDonald to take another victory, after making a decisive move on MacDonald on the penultimate lap of the 24 lap contest.

Heading into Sunday’s round four, he again showed his intentions with the second fastest time in qualifying, just 0.020s off the best time of Saul Robinson. He followed that up with another podium finish in the first heat of the day, taking third place in a race with numerous changes of position, finishing just 0.320s behind winner Robinson in a very close finish.

Another podium followed in Heat Two. He led the first half of the race until he was overtaken by Robinson and MacDonald on lap eight. Tom then battled hard with Robinson before taking third place.

Tom returned to the top step of the podium in Heat Three, which he dominated. Starting from fourth, he climbed up to third on lap one and then passed Robinson and Ethan Hawkey on lap four to take the lead, which he held for the rest of the 13 lap race.

With strong performances all weekend, Tom was clearly one to watch in the round four final, and he again delivered another excellent performance to end his weekend on the podium once more with second place, well clear of the rest of the pack, with the next driver over seven seconds behind. Tom’s performance was all the more impressive when it was discovered post-race that he was racing with a snapped chassis.

Speaking at the end of the weekend, Tom commented: “It’s been a fantastic weekend at a brilliant venue. It was great to have Christopher Tate there to support me and it was a very special moment to stand on the top step representing Donington Park. FKS is a great Championship, and I’m looking forward to the next two rounds in Northern Ireland.”

Tom is back in Formula Kart Stars action at the end of July, with races at the Nutts Corner circuit in Northern Ireland on 25-26 July.  For more information on events at Donington Park visit www.donington-park.co.uk.

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