Louis Sharp has confirmed he will be making the move to the NZ Formula First this season as the aspiring Kiwi champion makes his first significant career leap after a storied tenure in karting.
Sharp made his race car debut in the Formula First class in the Manfield Winter Series in August.
The Christchurch-based racer immediately left his mark by clinching a victory in only his second race outing and doing so in the exact same car that Red Bull protegee Liam Lawson won his first race in back in 2015.
Sharp is now gearing up for a fully-fledged NZ Formula First stint with renowned Kiwi race team Track Tec Racing as a part of their recently launched Accelerate to the Podium programme. The concept aims to act as a springboard for young New Zealanders to land a drive in the Toyota Racing Series, opening an extensive range of international opportunities.
Sharp said the move will offer an educative experience that he is excited to embrace and suggested the move to Formula First is the first step en route to his Formula 1 ambition.
“I’m really excited to be competing in the NZ Formula First series,” said Sharp.
“It will be lots of fun and I’m sure I will learn lots from all the experienced competitors and I look forward to racing on some of New Zealand’s best circuits.
“One day I hope to be in Formula 1 and this move from karting into Formula First is an important step in my journey.”
Earlier in the year, Sharp was also handpicked by DJR Team Penske Supercars driver Fabian Coulthard as the second recipient of the Repco Young Drivers Scholarship.
Aged just 13, Sharp is one of New Zealand’s most successful age group karters and boasts an impressive CV which includes the national ROK cup and CIK championships in 2019 as well as an invitation to the FIA Karting academy this year.
That success led to a competitive transition to Formula First which Track Tec Racing team manager says was identified almost straight away.
“Louis is a highly talented driver and we saw that straight away when he jumped into a Formula First at Manfield,” said Waters.
“Louis is preparing for the upcoming season with simulator work and on track testing and has quickly adapted from karting to the single seater. A driver to watch for sure.”
Last year saw 19-year-old Whakatane racer Reece Hendl-Cox clinch a dominant championship before the season was called early before the finale at Hampton Downs.
A 2020/21 NZ Formula First calendar is yet to be finalised amid the pandemic but will likely be announced over the coming weeks.