Motor On Line

Kart: objective / to finish the European Championship on a high note
Reportagem: James Wharton

The 2021 FIA Karting European Championship in the OK category is about to come to an end from 23rd to 25th July in Zuera, Spain. The organisation of a major international event on this same circuit, just one week before, represented a full-scale rehearsal that should not be missed. As usual, James Wharton worked hard with the Parolin Motorsport team to improve his kart and adapt to the difficult track conditions. His fighting spirit carried the Australian through to the Final of the second round of the Champions of Future series, although he was unable to make as much progress as he would have liked.

The 1,700 metre Zuera circuit in the Aragon region, close to the city of Zaragoza, was somewhat daunting for James Wharton at the start of the meeting. With its high average lap time and fast corners, it favours smaller drivers and did not allow the Ferrari Driver Academy driver to show his full potential. "Clearly, the meeting was not easy. With the team we were looking for performance throughout Free Practice and the races," said James.

Another place in the Final for James Wharton

Fortunately, the young Australian has a warrior's mentality and never admits to being beaten in advance. After setting the 38th time in the official Qualifying Practice (out of a total of 54 drivers), he studiously applied himself to progress in the hierarchy during the Qualifying Heats. "I'm starting to get some experience of the big international events and I know that I can move up the order by being consistent and strong in the battles. Of course, when you're racing in the middle of a field of the world's best drivers, gaining places often becomes a tricky mission, but I was keen to take on this challenge with plenty of motivation."

In the first race, James Wharton gained four places after a hard-fought battle. In the final laps of the second heat, he gained a place from his starting position, despite his still poor performance. In the third and last heat, he made another excellent start: a kind of habit for the Australian... After some more good overtaking, he improved by seven positions and just won his place for the Final phase, without going through the Repechage. Unfortunately, he could not improve on his 30th place on the Prefinal grid due to an early retirement. In the Final, he crossed the finish line in 27th position, after a more difficult race than expected.

"During the entire meeting we tried different technical solutions in preparation for the European Championship, which is still a positive point. I didn't have much to gain in this Champions of the Future series, but I still tried to get the best result possible to thank all the people who support me. Driving my Parolin-TM Racing-MG Tires kart, I have the opportunity to be part of the All Road Management structure and to wear the colours of the Ferrari Driver Academy, which pushes me to do my best. I hope to be able to do well in the fourth and final round of the European OK Championship, even though the Zuera circuit is not really favourable to me. The weather this week is still looking very dry and even hotter, so that will be an extra factor to deal with."

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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