Teenaged karting star Luca Kane Houghton is all set to make a push for a podium finish in the third and final round of the 2022 FIA Karting Academy Trophy in Le Mans, France, after a good practice session at the track yesterday.
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 taking up racing in 2017 at the age of eight.
“It was a very eventful day, full of ups and downs,” Luca told the GDN by phone from Le Mans. “I was driving on dry tyres but it began to rain immediately after the practice heat started. It was hard to drive on slicks as it was raining really hard but, at the same time, I was enjoying it too. I think I did a good job considering I don’t have very much experience of driving in wet conditions.”
Luca is currently placed 10th on the championship table after the first two rounds in Genk, Belgium, and Cremona, Italy, earlier in the summer. Although he lags 36 points behind championship leader, Luxembourg’s Guillaume Bouzar – who has 54 points to Luca’s 18 – the teenager is still confident of finishing in the top three, despite a packed field.
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.
“He did well despite having to drive in conditions that are alien to him,” Kramer, who has accompanied her son to Le Mans, told the GDN. “He finished eighth in the heat. The kart also seems to be doing well so, hopefully, we won’t see a repeat of what happened in Cremona.”
Luca’s race in the Italian leg of the championship was cut short in only the fourth lap of the 19-lap final when his kart’s engine seized up suddenly. That resulted in the teenager dropping down to 10th place on the table after a good showing in the first-round race in Genk had seen him finish fourth.
But Luca isn’t dwelling on the past. He is laser-focused on the qualifying heats today and the final, scheduled for tomorrow.
“If I can do what I did in this heat, where I was fast and managed to maintain that pace,” Luca explained. “I should definitely make it into the final. I’ll try to do the best I can. I know it’s going to be hard to get a podium finish considering where I currently sit on the table. But I believe I can do it!”