From the classroom to the racetrack – Patrick Kibble Q&A
Patrick Kibble is currently combining studying for his GCSEs with forging a successful career in motorsport.
The 16-year-old from Kent competed in this year’s one-make Ginetta Junior Championship series with the Total Control racing team.
He finished off in style by achieving three podium finishes in the final round of races at Brand’s Hatch. So, what are his thoughts on the way his career has progressed thus far?
When and how did you first get into motorsport? Was it through karting?
I really got into motorsport when I was around five years old; this was after watching the Cars movie and a few F1 Grand Prix. I was hooked and I really wanted to try it out for myself, so we ended up going to an indoor kart track in Streatham. Then for the next nine years I was racing in competitive national and European karting championships.
How have your family supported your racing career?
I spent the majority of my karting career racing as a privateer, just my dad and I. However, as the level of competition got higher, we progressed into joining a team and racing at national and European level. From the beginning to now, racing in cars, my family have always been there to support me, attending each race over the years.
Competing in motorsport is always expensive – how are you funded?
This year, after the move up from karts to cars, I have had to acquire sponsorship to help fund the season. I have also made some deals with race wear companies for reduced costs on the necessary race items.
Do you have a mentor helping you to improve your driving and race craft?
The team I was part of this year had a driver coach who helped us drivers learn the new tracks and analysed our data to help us improve. I definitely don’t think I would have achieved what I have done this year without the help that I have received.
Who are your motorsport heroes?
Ever since I began to watch F1 in 2007, I have always admired the way Lewis Hamilton races. I really enjoy watching the way he battles and overtakes and try to implement some of the aspects I like into my own driving.
Is it tough trying to juggle school work with your racing commitments?
As I am in my GCSE year, it has become more difficult to balance schoolwork and racing equally; knowing that homework and revision becomes more frequent. Most test days before the race weekends occur on Fridays, therefore requiring time off school. However, as long as my school work is kept up to date, there are no problems.
Tell us a bit about the Ginetta Series that you’ve raced in this year…
The Ginetta Junior Championship is a support championship to the popular British Touring Cars. The championship spans over 10 weekends with either two or three rounds per weekend, 26 rounds over the whole year. In my rookie season, I finished 4th overall in the championship with one win and nine podiums; I finished as 2nd rookie with 20 rookie podiums (being the highest placed rookie not to have raced in 2017).
Are you pleased with your results and the progress you’ve made?
Overall, I am very proud of what I have achieved this year in my rookie season. Coming away with one overall win at round six (only three other drivers in the 10 previous seasons of the championship have had their maiden win in fewer races), nine overall podiums, five rookie wins and 20 rookie podiums. To be consistently challenging at the front at each round was a clear indication of my achievement.
Are your rivals mostly older, more experienced racers?
The Ginetta Junior Championship is for drivers aged 14-17, therefore my rivals are a mixture of older and younger ages. However, the majority of my rivals are more experienced with an extra year of car racing, usually meaning they are older.
What are your plans for next season – and beyond?
As of yet, I am not currently sure of what I will be racing in next year. I have just recently signed with the MB Partners management team, headed by former F1 driver Mark Blundell. They aim to promote me as a driver and I will be guided by them for the next and many seasons to come!
Is your aim to become a professional racing driver?
It has been a dream of mine for a very long time to become a professional racing driver. However, I still take my school work very seriously as there is no guarantee that a career in motorsport is a given.
F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport – is that your main goal?
I have always admired F1 and its drivers, considering that the majority of them can be argued to be the best in the world. I do have my eyes set on other forms of motorsport, for example, I am keen on GT racing and also endurance racing, therefore I like the idea of WEC (World Endurance Championship).
What has been the highlight of your racing career so far?
Obviously taking my maiden car racing win, at Thruxton, in my rookie season has to be one of the highlights so far. Although, just having the opportunity to race at the famous British race tracks like Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donington Park has been something I will never forget.