A KIND-HEARTED young go-karting prodigy who came up with the idea for a star-studded Grand Prix in aid of Ukraine has become the talk of the Formula One scene.
Inspirational eight-year-old Jarlath Sayer had the idea of putting on a karting event to raise money for the refugees of Ukraine.
After he put the wheels in motion, he appeared on national TV and in the press – and now his idea has attracted the support of the Mercedes F1 Team, race driver Lando Norris, and the cast of forthcoming documentary Sons of Speed.
Jarlath, who lives in Clay Coton near Lilbourne, came up with the idea after being upset seeing children and families on TV having to flee their country.
The Bilton Grange pupil told The Observer: “I saw the news and felt sorry for all the people in Ukraine. I thought they did nothing wrong, and I imagined how I would feel if I was in that situation, and how I would have to leave my country, my house and my hobby.
“As I love go-karting, I thought I could do a race to help raise money.
“It makes me very happy and proud to be doing something to help other people.”
Mum Stephanie McCann is equally proud.
She said: “He’s a cheeky little chappie and he’s got a very kind heart – he always has, even from a young age.
“He talked about the poor children and how upset it made him feel.”
Jarlath, who is currently racing in the British Karting Championship for the Jamie Green Racing team, got his first go-kart when he was just five years old – and already has a room full of trophies.
He said: “I like the intensity and speed and I love racing, especially throwing my kart in for overtaking.”
He is a boy with big ambitions.
“I want to be an F1 driver and beat Lewis Hamilton’s world record,” he said. “I want to keep racing and trying my best. I really want to race well and do myself and my team proud.”
Jarlath marketed the event himself by creating a website, and approached Lewis Hamilton’s old track, Rye House Raceway in Hertfordshire, to host the race.
With the help of family friend and event organiser Mark Garrett, the idea accelerated further after Jarlath made it into the national press.
He received a personal message of support from Mercedes F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff, who offered prizes for the event and invited him on a personal tour of the team’s headquarters.
F1 driver Lando Norris will also attend the event, setting a lap time on a racing simulator for visitors to try and beat.
And Freddie Hunt and Mathias Lauda – the sons of legendary 70s F1 rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda – will race at the event, and screen preview clips of their Sons of Speed documentary.
The 2022 Support Ukraine Karting Grand Prix takes place on June 28, and will be part of the build-up to the 2022 British Grand Prix.
A total of 26 teams will race in a ‘Le Mans’ style event. Seats can be secured for £599 for each team of three to six drivers.