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Nine-year-old racer seals major deal

TEARING UP THE TRACK: Lewis competing in karts

KARTING IS renowned as a sport that can cost up to six-figures to compete in but a
leading international equity group are throwing their finacial weight behind promising racer Lewis Appiagyei.

The nine-year-old from Camden, north London will receive sponsorship from private equity company Bridgepoint for a full season after he impressed them by winning in his first year as a rookie cadet in junior karting at the opening junior round of 2013 for the Kart Shop Team in his 250cc project one kart.

Showing their belief in Lewis, whose ambition is to not only race in Formula One but to be a world champion, James Murray – a partner at Bridgepoint – told the Voice of Sport: “We’ll be proud to be Lewis’ first ever sponsor and hope to be able to say that when he is the F1 world champion.”

The youngster of Ghanaian heritage is now preparing to enter the Honda Cadet series and hopes to become a Formula Kart Star competitor, which is dubbed as ‘the road to Formula One’.

Former world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is Lewis’s idol, and fellow Formula One racer Paul di Resta previously won the championship as youths and Hamilton’s dad Anthony and Formula One figurehead Bernie Ecclestone support the competition.

Young Lewis’s father Anthony feels that his son will now be able to maximise his abilities as a result of the sponsorship deal.

“It’s [the sponsorship] going to cover one season in the cadets and his equipment has been taking care of as well so that burden has been taken away,” said Anthony.


TRIUMPHANT: Lewis displays his silverware

“It gives him the opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing. The more meets he can have to prove his potential, the further he’s going to get down the line. There are good drivers out there but they fall short when it comes to the financial side of things.”

Lewis first developed an interest in racing as a three-year-old when he started playing racing games on his dad’s PSP.

He would go on to set the world’s fastest time on the driving simulator computer game Gran Turismo 5 in a Red Bull X1 car at the Circuit de Monaco.

Impressed by the feat, Red Bull racing sent Lewis a congratulatory letter that contained autographed photos of three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and his team-mate Mark Webber.

But as for real-life racing, having first got into a cockpit of a kart aged seven, Anthony is thrilled at the progress that his son has made in such a short period of time.

“It’s been quite a short time since he started racing and what he’s achieved is quite something. People always say he’s got a lot of natural talent and with that you need to have focus,” he explained.

“He’s totally focussed on what he wants to achieve and that’s why I’m quite confident that he’s going to reach his goal.

“He reads a lot about the science of driving and it’s something that I don’t force him to do. He does it off his own back.

“I thought two years down the line he’d have lost interest but he’s actually grown stronger, he’s winning trophies.”

Anthony added: “Potentially he can go as far as he wants to.

“His goal is F1 and it might sound pretentious but I think he will end up there.”

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