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By Jake Courtepatte
Still years away from earning his licence to drive on a public road, Nico Christodoulou is already an expert behind the wheel on a track.
The 13-year-old King City native is already experiencing a thrill that many of-age drivers have yet to have.
“Just feeling the power when you step on the pedal, and firing down the straight-away,” said Christodoulou to CBS Austin in January.
Christodoulou had the opportunity to work with a former Formula 1 driver turned development coach in Austin, site of the U.S. Grand Prix. Though just finishing Grade 7 at Villanova College in King, Christodoulou entered the track as no stranger to driving.
At the age of 11 in 2016, he put his name on the map in the competitive kart racing circuit in winning the Intrepid Kart scholarship at Goodwood Kartways, before also earning the titles of Pfaff Motorsports Junior Driver of the Day, Professional Racing Ontario's Most Improved Driver of the Year, and the Team FMR 2016 Rookie of the Year Award before the end of the calendar year.
It was in his second season of competitive kart racing when Christodoulou was scouted by the F1-affiliated coach, transitioning to the big leagues of car racing.
Christodoulou jumped ahead of the pack, in a sport where drivers usually get their start around the age of 18, though he was certainly capable. At the time, he was the number-one Briggs and Stratton Junior Lite driver in North America.
Starting his training last fall in a Star Mazda on Ontario tracks, it quickly became apparent that to really hone his skill, he needed to train in the United States.
“Currently, Nico goes to the USA for several days each month to train in his Formula 4 car,” said his mother, Shelley. “The Formula 4 Championship series are held in several countries around the world, but there is no F4 series yet in Canada.”
“Tracks here in Ontario are not only very few and far between, but are extremely cost prohibitive.”
Formula 4, a racing series intended for junior drivers, is quite comparable to the top-end Formula 1. Cars reach speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour.
“Driving an F4 car is exhilarating, but also physically taxing and drivers need to be in top physical form as well as mentally sharp and focused,” said Mrs. Christodoulou.
His rise to F1 stardom in the United States has been meteoric: he currently holds the fourth fastest lap time ever recorded at Harris Hill Raceway in Texas, not far off the record of seasoned F1 driver, Max Papis.
While preparing to make his official F4 debut next season in the U.S. or Mexico Championship Series, Christodoulou has been filling his trophy case, picking up a win and two poles at Virginia International Raceway earlier this month.
Excerpt: Still years away from earning his licence to drive on a public road, Nico Christodoulou is already an expert behind the wheel on a track. The 13-year-old King City native is already experiencing a thrill that many of-age drivers have yet to have. “Just feeling the power when you step on the pedal, and firing down the straight-away,” said Christodoulou to CBS Austin in January.
Post date: 2018-06-27 09:28:38
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