Late starter William is making up for lost time

Leiston racing driver William Smith (centre) has won the opening three rounds of the Caterham Academ

Leiston racing driver William Smith (centre) has won the opening three rounds of the Caterham Academy series - Credit: Archant

William Smith may have been a late starter in motorsport, but he’s certainly making up for lost time.

The car mechanic from Leiston only took up karting as a 17-year-old and treated it very much as a hobby for a number of years.

However, winning the EasyKart British Championship last year persuaded him to give car racing a shot and he is currently taking the Caterham Academy Series by storm in his debut campaign.

Having won all three of the opening sprint rounds at Aintree, Snetterton and Blyton, the 26-year-old is confident that he can carry his impressive form into the regular race events.

The Caterham Academy Series was designed to provide an affordable route into racing for the amateur enthusiast, with entrants able to build their own car from a kit and compete at the likes of Brands Hatch and Silverstone.

And it’s not unknown for drivers to use it as a springboard into professional racing, with 2007 competitor Ollie Jackson having gone on to race in the British Touring Car Championships.

“I’m under no illusions that progression into professional motorsport doesn’t generally happen for people once they hit their mid-20s,” said Smith.

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“I’m just enjoying it at the moment, will keep knocking on the door and then you never know what could happen.

“The single-seater route is unlikely for me, but British Touring Cars or Le Mans may not be out of reach because those guys race well into their 40s.”

Reflecting on his journey so far, Smith said: “I only took up karting just before my 17th birthday and it was very much a hobby that came and went to start with.

“Then I won the EasyKart Championship last year and thought I’d try the step up to car racing. It was a bit of a last minute thing and I ended up getting the last place out of 56 – it seemed a little bit like fate!

“If I can win the championship this year then I’ll probably look to skip two rungs of the Caterham classes and go in at one below the Premier Class next year, then we’ll see how we go from there.

“Much will come down to finances because, although this is designed as a more affordable route into racing, it still isn’t cheap. I have to thank my sponsors, Ryan Insurance Brokers in Ipswich, for their backing and support.”

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