at star-studded F1 bash
It was, for James Singleton, the crowning glory of an outstanding campaign, and as he ascended the stage to collect his trophy for clinching the 2011 Junior Max class honours in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) Championship at the glittering Autosport Awards, he thoroughly deserved to be there.
Seven victories from the opening ten rounds in FKS enabled James to wrap up the laurels one meeting early, and his peerless, runaway success secured the talented young North Wales speed demon an invite to the prestigious Autosport Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
During the course of what was truly a red carpet affair, the 16-year-old Conwy-based hotshot rubbed shoulders with the likes of reigning double F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, British hero Jenson Button, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, popular BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle, multiple IndyCar Series Champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and Anthony Hamilton, father of McLaren-Mercedes star Lewis.
“It was a fantastic evening, and not like anything I had been expecting at all,” James enthused. “I’ve not been to any awards ceremony as high-profile as that before, and I certainly hadn’t thought it would be as glitzy and glamorous as it was! Everyone who is anyone in the world of motorsport was there, and it was just such a good night!
“I met Christian Horner and Martin Brundle and spent some time chatting to them, and I spoke to Anthony Hamilton, too; he was talking about when to make the move up from karting into cars, and to make sure to get the timing right and go in with a solid plan. He has been through it all himself, of course, with Lewis, and he gave me some really useful career advice.”
The highly-rated Penmaenmawr ace confessed that he was ‘really nervous in the build-up to getting my award, but when I was called onto the main stage to receive it, it was definitely a special moment, especially in front of all those people’, and the ultra-cool, retro-style steering wheel that he was presented with marked the well-earned fruit of a year’s labours with Coles Racing.
Making a point of thanking FKS and its director Carolynn Hoy for organising such a brilliant championship and his sponsor Gwynedd Forklifts for its invaluable and unfailing support, James mused that aside from his superb title triumph, there were many other reasons to be cheerful in 2011, too, from victories in fellow national series Super 1 – in which he wound up an excellent fourth – to ‘O’ Plate success at Rowrah in Cumbria and a magnificent performance to rank third in the world in the hotly-contested Rotax World Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s just been an awesome year,” reflected the Ysgol Aberconwy pupil. “Obviously we had our downs along the way, with a really tough start to the season in Super 1, but other than that it has been pretty faultless and as the year went on, we just got stronger-and-stronger.
“The highlight was probably winning the ‘O’ Plate at Rowrah, Super 1 there as well and two FKS meetings all in a row back in early-summer. Finishing third in the Rotax World Finals was a massive result, too. We were so happy just to have the opportunity to go there in the first place, but to come away with a podium was absolutely amazing!
“We’re really pleased with the way it all ended; we definitely expected to be up at the front this season, but we could honestly never have anticipated being quite as successful as we have been. There’s no question that it has been my best year yet – by far.”
James is seeking sponsors to help support his burgeoning career; if you are interested in backing the new world number three, please contact his father Mark on 07795 297350 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org