Lando Norris signed off from his glittering karting career in the best possible way – by making history as the youngest World Championship winner.The 14-year-old ADD Motorsports driver followed up his win in last season’s junior class with the title in his debut season at senior level as well. Despite competing against drivers several years older and more experienced, he expertly took the CIK FIA KF crown at Essay in France this weekend to become its youngest ever champion.
And with his focus set to be firmly on cars from next season, it was the perfect way to bow out.
He said: “It was amazing and a big achievement in my last kart race. “There may be the odd race after this, but I’ll be concentrating on other things next season so it’s brilliant to finish on a high.
“I haven’t had a great season in terms of winning things, so it’s made the season all the better.
“The team did brilliantly, winning the junior class and finishing first and third in the seniors.
“I raced well and was really fast, it was a really great weekend.”
Lando was pacey from the word go and followed up quick times in practice with a qualifier that saw him first in his group but second overall. It meant he started three of the heats in first place and one in second.
Heat One saw him get a bit of a gap from pole early on and keep it all the way to finish first. Heat Two saw the driver start in second, get pushed down to eighth but come through to fifth. The third heat saw Lando start in first, get overtaken and spend the whole race in second, and Heat Four saw him get off to a good start from pole, get a gap on the rest and take first by a couple of tenths - which left him second overall for the pre-final.
It was wet for the pre-final and as he went round the first corner, a driver in front clipped another, spinning just in front of him. Lando avoided the collision but lost valuable time and came out of it in fifth. Within a few laps he had got back into second, but although the pace was really good he couldn’t catch the leader.
The final was dry and Lando got off to another good start that saw him in fourth from the outside. Going into the second corner, the racer in second place tried to go on the inside of the leader and went into him – which gave Lando the opportunity to get in front and into second himself. He was forced to defend the next few corners which gave the leader the chance to extend his position. But Lando slowly closed the gap. On lap 10, the Glastonbury teen made a move and got in front before pulling away and winning by two and a half seconds.
It capped a remarkable three years that saw Lando crowned champion in the Formula Kart Stars series and runner-up in the MSA Super One British Championship in 2012, and finish first in the World Championships in Bahrain last year – as well as winning the WSK Euro Series, and crowned CIK FIA European Champion and CIK FIA Supercup Champion.
But the racer has his feet firmly on the ground and knows he can’t afford to celebrate the win just yet – with an important race this weekend in the Ginetta Junior Championship. Lando, in his first season in cars, is currently third and with two races left has his sights firmly on second place.
He added: “I want to thank everyone for all their work and support in helping me with this win.
“But I have a big race this weekend on a track I’ve never raced at, so I need to stay focused to make sure I give myself the best possible chance.
“It’s been a brilliant weekend, but I have to carry on working hard until the end and see where it gets me.”