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Kart: unfinished business for James Wharton in Sarno
Reportagem: James Wharton

Karting at the highest level can be unforgiving, and Australian James Wharton proved this at the Naples International Circuit in Sarno. He came to prepare for the next stage of the FIA Karting European Championship in OK during the last round of the WSK Euro Series, and was able to gather as much information as possible in view of this next event, although he was unable to obtain the expected result.

Back from Germany with a magnificent 8th place in the European KZ2 Championship, out of a total of 95 drivers, James Wharton had to readapt to the OK category. "I don't really have a problem switching from a kart with or without a gearbox and with or without a front brake," said the Ferrari Driver Academy driver. "Every race is different and it's always exciting and motivating to challenge yourself. Of course, at Sarno I was hoping to be able to put in a high level of performance, but I had to deal with a chassis-engine-tyre package that was difficult to set up in the intense heat."

James Wharton already focused on the European Championship

During this busy year of competition, James Wharton has frequently had to switch between tyre brands depending on the races he has competed in. "In Sarno we went back to the Italian LeCont tyres, which offer a high level of grip. Unfortunately, this was not too favourable for us. Although I was still 11th in my group in Free Practice on Friday morning, I plunged to 21st place in Qualifying, which relegated me to 41st in the overall classification. It was not going to be a good weekend."

Despite this, James Wharton continued to work with the Parolin Motorsport team to improve his set-up and move up the order, but nothing was easy for the Australian driver at the foot of Vesuvius. "In the first race I made up a few places, but a penalty for an unclipped spoiler meant I lost places. In the second race it was the engine that gave me away. As I couldn't move back up as I wanted in the third heat, I knew that qualifying for the Final would be difficult. I managed to move up six places in the Prefinal, but I was too far back to hope to reverse the trend and make it to the Final. It's a shame..."

Nevertheless, this third and last race of the WSK Euro Series was not negative. James Wharton and the Parolin Motorsport team know which direction to work in view of the next round of the European OK Championship which will take place at the same circuit of Sarno from 8th to 11th July 2021. The young Australian will be back there more determined than ever.

About James Wharton

James Wharton is a 15-year-old Australian kart driver, currently competing in his first international season in the KZ2 class alongside the OK class, a dual programme with the official Parolin Motorsport team.

James started racing karting in Australia at the age of seven. He then shone in the most important single-brand world challenges before making his debut in FIA Karting competition. 13th in the World Junior Championship in his first season in 2018, he also won the KA 100 Junior class in Las Vegas at the SKUSA SuperNationals.

In 2019, in his first full season in OK-Junior, he achieved top results: 9th in the European Championship, 4th in the Italian Championship and 2nd in the legendary Winter Cup in Lonato. He was again victorious at the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas in the X30-Junior category.

An official driver for the Parolin Motorsport Srl team, James is involved in the development and tuning of the equipment thanks to a very good rapport with Albino and Marco Parolin. Despite a 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has rapidly progressed in the category hierarchy and is aiming for a season rich in results.

Thanks to his competitiveness and fighting qualities, James Wharton was selected to join the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy. Managed by All Road Management, Nicolas Todt's company, James Wharton will continue his career in karting in 2021, before taking the plunge into single-seater racing in the near future.


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