Talented Thomas wins scholarship to race in national championship

Talented driver Thomas King
Talented driver Thomas King

A talented driver from Battle has won a racing scholarship to compete in a national championship.

Thomas King is looking forward to a fully-funded season racing in the 2020 British Formula Ford Championship after winning the JMR Scholarship.

The season will consist of eight races at some of the best tracks in the UK, such as Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

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King, who works as a third party claims negotiator at Hastings Direct, will also drive in testing sessions at all of this year’s races and will race in three of them.

The competition started off on a racing simulator, from which the best drivers progressed to an actual driving stage at Silverstone in a BMW M3 car.

In terms of actual track driving in road cars, King had very limited experience compared to some of the other drivers he was up against.

Before the competition started, the 23-year-old had only done one track day around Brands Hatch in his road car. At the competition, he was up against many more experienced drivers.

One of his fellow competitors was a driving instructor at a race circuit, another had raced cars in Brazil and had flown over to the UK just for this competition, and someone else had competed in the Race of Champions and had raced against the likes of Sebastian Vettel.

King said: “All of which meant I was surprised and elated when I had beaten them!”

King has raced rental karts since the age of 11 and although he never had the money to race his own, he enjoyed quite a lot of success.

In 2007 he won the Buckmore Park Junior Championship and the circuit’s star pupil event, which was judged by professional racing drivers. In 2008 he was runner-up in the same championship and won the star pupil event again.

After that, King moved into adult kart racing at Buckmore Park. In his first year in adult kart racing, as a 14-year-old, he finished in fifth place.

King carried on racing at Buckmore Park for another 2/3 years and won another championship in that time, as well as finishing fifth in the Buckmore Park Elite Championship.

At the age of 18, while holding down a job as a gap year before attending university, King raced in the Club 100 National Championship. In his first year in the lightweight class, he finished in fifth place.

The following year, now at university, King moved up to the Club 100 Elite Championship and finished 14th place.

By this stage, however, it was getting harder to finance his hobby and King had to stop karting from his second year at university and hasn’t really been in a kart since.