Teenaged karting star, Luca Kane Houghton, left for Cremona, Italy, this morning to participate in the second round of the 2022 FIA Karting Academy Trophy’s second-round.
Luca, 13, who was born in the kingdom to Cindy Kramer, who is Dutch, and Kane Houghton, an Australian, is representing Bahrain – as he always has since he first started racing five years ago at the age of eight.
“I am aiming to win this race,” Luca told the GDN last night. “If I win this second-round race, I could take the lead in the championship.”
The teenager currently occupies fourth position, with 18 points, in the championship table after the first-round race in Genk, Belgium, last month. A win in Cremona, where the three-day round will begin on Thursday, would propel him to the top of the table. That would stand him in good stead for the third and final round scheduled to be held in Le Mans, France, at the beginning of September.
The FIA Karting Academy Trophy’s 2022 edition features 54 contestants – all aged between 12 and 14 – from around the world. The event was first held in 2010 and current F1 drivers Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Esteban Ocon are past participants. Leclerc, in fact, won the championship in 2011.
“I was in Cremona last week with my coach and mechanic to get a feel for the conditions,” Luca revealed. “It’s a good track – a bit different from the one in Genk. This one’s got a lot more grip and it’s more technical, a bit shorter, a bit harder. All in all, it’s a good track.”
Luca’s Bahraini coach, Rashed Almamari, himself an accomplished young karting motorsport driver, and mechanic, Ben Kierle, will accompany the young phenomenon to Cremona. Kramer, who divides chaperoning duties for her son with husband, Houghton, will join him in Italy just before the second-round race on Sunday.
“This time, I want to win,” Luca asserted. “This time, I don’t want to settle for second or third position. I am confident that I can do it. I can take the lead in the championship heading to Le Mans.”
France’s Arthur Dorison, with 35 points, the Philippines’ William John Riley Go, with 28, and third-placed, Guillaume Bouzar, of Luxembourg, with 25, are all currently ahead of Luca.
“I want to get ahead of all of them and win not just the second-round, but the championship, eventually, for Bahrain,” Luca declared.
With karting and travel taking up most of his schedule, Luca still manages to make enough time for his studies and is doing well in school, Kramer said.
“He’s very focused, very disciplined,” she added. “So he manages to do rather well.”
Sometimes, before he travels, he makes sure that he finishes any outstanding school-work, Luca explained.
“And, sometimes, when I return home from a race, I have a tutor who comes home to help me catch up,” he added. “Also, I just had all my exams last week and I won’t miss much when I’m away in Italy because these are the last two weeks of school and we’re all basically being introduced to what we’ll do next year.”
Kramer, who admitted to being extremely nervous when she watched him race in Genk, said she would still have butterflies as the race was underway this time but she was confident Luca would do well.
“He’s just so calm, so composed,” she said, admiringly. “His confidence is infectious.”
For his part, Luca knows what he wants to do and why he wants to win.
“I want to win the championship for Bahrain,” he said, simply.