York’s Best Aim for F1

Students move up a gear as motorsports competition heats up

Boyhood ambitions of speed, power and high-octane drama have moved closer to reality recently for two members of the University Karting Club. James Izzard and Richard Armitage last year laid down two of the fifty fastest times among hundreds racing at Selby’s Pro-AM circuit to progress through the regional first round of the nationwide F1 Driver’s Challenge.

For thousands of hopeful entrants, the inspiring prize at the end of the tunnel is the experience of racing in an F1 car in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship, an racing management contract, and the potential to gain entry to the glamourous and lucrative world of Formula One.

Is this dream inspiring enough to trigger “a sudden interest in fitness training”? Indeed it was for Izzard and Armitage, who will travel to Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire for the second round of competition, a gruelling fitness test on March 26.

Izzard has been preparing by running and lifting weights, while Armitage participates in the circuit training offered at the University sports centre.

Few details have been revealed about the specifics of the test, but Izzard has done his research and found out that last year’s fitness test included a short warm up followed by 70 slow push-ups, and finally competitors were instructed to hold their bodies off the ground in the press-up position for minutes at a time. “There were rumours of guys passing out last year,” stated Izzard.

However, a few hours of pain in the gym along with collective torture near Northampton is a small price to pay as only 25 percent of participants in the gruelling fitness test will be asked to return for the third round of competition, outdoor carting. After this third round assessed Karting Session at a National Circuit, subsequent rounds York’s drivers could be participating in include Saloon Cars, Single Seater racing, a National Racing License Test, Formula 3, F1 test, an International Racing License Test, followed by the eventual Formula One Showdown.

They’ll also need to look their best as TV stardom beckons, after Channel Five chose to cover last year’s competition in 2003’s ‘Be a Grand Prix Driver.’

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