Karting – it’s an absolute classic. Most blokes will have a thrash around the track for a stag do or a birthday, but what about the pros? We chatted with up-and-coming karting champion, Matty Graham, to get the lowdown on the world of professional karting.
King of the Karts, Matty Graham
All blokes think they’re great at karting, but what is the difference between Arrive & Drive and professional racing? It's like the difference between Premier League football and 5-a-side football, for example. Everyone has the general idea of the sport, but it’s the small things, the
skills and the sheer amount of time you devote to it that add up to make the difference.
When did you start? I started when I was eight after Dad bought me a couple of karts for Christmas. We took them down to a local track and I instantly loved it.
You’ve won some awards, which are you most proud of? The World Championship. I was up against some really talented drivers at some tracks I had never been to before, like Bahrain, then the FIA awards were held in New Dehli and I got to meet some very important people like Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber. I was 15 at the time and had some incredible experiences during that year.
What does it take to become a pro? A lot of hard work and a lot of support! You have to look after yourself and keep fit and healthy to be able to race. There is also a lot of work to do
away from the track too, like finding sponsors and working with them to make sure they get the most out of working with me.
Fix up look sharp
Can you give us any driving tips? It’s hard to give driving tip as there are so many, but the main mistake people make when they first drive a kart is breaking and turning at the same time.
This causes them to spin, so all the breaking needs to be in a straight line.
What are some of the best tracks you’ve raced on? Silverstone is a longtime favorite. It's fast and flowing and I've had some good results around there. The Circuit De Catalunya in Barcelona is a good one,
but I really like Spa Francorchamps in Belgium is the best. It's a proper track with some seriously challenging corners and it’s so fast. I raced there
twice last year and it was something else!
Are you a good driver in ‘real life’? Yes. I stick to all the speed limits and sensible at all times … but I do get shouted at by my family as they think differently!
Any hobbies outside of the track? I really enjoy football. I play with my mates and I go to watch Newcastle whenever I can. I have got to know a few of the players there and they're a good
bunch. I’d love to be able to have a drive of some of their cars!
You could race against Matty on the track
Where do you hope you’ll end up in the future? I want to have a long, successful career. The ultimate aim is Formula 1, but there are other series out there, like DTM, Le Mans or Indycar.
Wherever I go, I want to race in front of big crowds and to be a driver that they like and support because I entertain them on track and am accessible off
LNOF are putting together a racing package for our stags to race you, will you be taking it seriously and be determined to win? On a stag do they are there to have fun so I want to join in the fun too and make it a day to remember. Of course, if the times get close I will have to
push a bit harder as I wouldn’t like to lose at my own sport!