Andy King prepares to get 2012 season underway in Spain

* Rotax Winter Cup to act as curtain raiser for Senior Max star.

* Strawberry Racing driver named by Motorsport News as ‘One to Watch’ in 2012.

While many of Britain’s top-flight Kart racers enjoyed a well earned break during the traditional off-season in January there was no such opportunity for Littleborough’s Andy King to relax as his preparations for the 2012 season continued apace on and off the track. 

The 17 year-old Senior Rotax driver, currently based in Conwy and studying for a National Diploma in Motorsport at Myerscough College, is coming off a career-best year in 2011 in which he finished third in the British Super One Senior Rotax Championship and tenth in the Rotax World Finals.

Entering his first full season with multiple British and European Championship winning team Strawberry Racing Andy is preparing for a duel assault on the British Super One and Rotax Euro Challenge championships and his potential has been realised by leading British Motorsport weekly paper Motorsport News, who put him second on their annual list of 50 young racing drivers to look out for in 2012. “I’m really looking forward to the new year,” beamed Andy, who is aiming to emulate outgoing Super One Champion Ed Brand, who sealed the title with Strawberry in 2011. “I’m one hundred per cent confident in my team and equipment and I know that we have the package to achieve what we all expect. It won’t be easy but preparations have started really well. This time last year I was testing and trying to beat the Strawberry team, now I’m with them!”

Andy began the month of January with the official Super One presentation at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, where he was also invited to compete alongside the likes of Le Mans 24 Hour winner David Brabham in the annual Autosport Charity kart race to help raise money for Race 2 Recovery.

“It was nice to be able to unwind with the whole team and to see everyone rewarded for their efforts last year. Strawberry Racing had a great year in 2011 in Mini Max, Junior Max and Senior Max and it sets a high standard for this year’s drivers to match.”

Although the result of the Charity Kart race did go the way of Andy and his co-drivers in the Racing for Charity team Andy knew that the result was one thing that wasn’t important on this occasion.

“It was for a great cause and it was a lot of fun. Some people took it a bit too seriously but the whole event was a lot of fun and it was an honour to be asked to drive for the defending champions and help raise a lot of money.”

No sooner had the fun ended it was time to get back to business as Andy and his mechanic David ‘Dodge’ Gregory began testing for the first major event of the new season, the annual Rotax Winter Cup at Campillos near Malaga. Although the frigid surroundings of Paul Fletcher International in Lincolnshire and Whilton Mill in Daventry are somewhat different to what Andy can expect later this month in Southern Spain Andy had to familiarise himself with the front braking system used in Europe but not in the UK.

“I’ve only driven with front brakes once before so it was a great help to get back in the kart and have a couple of days to get used to them,” continued King, who enters the Spanish event with confidence having experienced the rigours of international competition in last years World Finals. “I’m hungry for victory. I’m going to be able to hit the ground running. I was able to get comfortable with Strawberry last year and now I’m settled in the new environment and I’m setting out to bring home a trophy.”

“The Winter Cup is a good race to set the season in motion,” added Gregory. “It will be a strong field and it’s a great way to see what you’re up against for the rest of the year. I’m confident that Andy will stay relaxed and do very well.”