Jacques has sights set on F1 future
Norfolk kart racer Jacques Morley has teamed up with former world champion Benjy Russell's Intrepid UK team as he bids to gain ground in the British National Championships.
Jacques, 14, is in his second season in junior class KF3, the highest level of junior karting and a proving ground for future F1 drivers.
After competing in the first two rounds of the seven-race national championships without the backing of a team, the Marham teenager and his parents quickly realised they needed technical help to remain competitive.
'We tried to do it on our own but it's very difficult because of the technical knowledge you need,' said dad Peter, whose uncle is former F1 team boss Julian Randles.
'We realised we were holding Jacques back, as he is up against teams with huge budgets, but he is holding his own. Benjy was helping us out with advice and we were delighted when he asked Jacques to join the Intrepid team.' But it was in race four of the series, at Larkhall on July 3, which really highlighted the new pairing's potential.
After starting last of 25 on the grid because of a mechanical problem in qualifying, Jacques had fought his way up to eighth within four laps when he was hit by another driver, eventually finishing 12th.
It was just the type of drive that got another former kart racer, Lewis Hamilton, noticed at an early age, and Russell, 25, from Wisbech, said Jacques has the race pace for a podium finish.
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'He was the fastest on the circuit and, given the luck you need in this form of racing, there's no reason why he can't get a top three finish,' added the 2007 Rotax World Champion.
'The good thing with Jacques is that he wants to go fast. After the race a lot of drivers just go off and play on their iPods, but he wants to improve and find out where he could do better.'
Jacques said: 'I always wanted to race and knew the karting was the first step into F1. I don't really think about the danger – I just enjoy racing. F1 is my ultimate ambition.'
But because of the high cost of racing, competing against youngsters with either wealthy parents or corporate backers is a huge challenge.
Jacques is backed by Influx, the magazine of insurance broker Adrian Flux, and Marshall Toyota (King's Lynn), funding that's crucial to keep him on the track
'Basically, our sponsors enable us to go racing. Without their support we would not be able to carry on,' said Peter.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at Flux, said Jacques' charge through the field at Larkhall showed he was made of the right stuff.
'It's obviously very tough to get all the way to the top in motor racing, but with his attitude and sheer speed then Jacques has a good a chance as anyone, ' he added.
The fifth round of the British Championships takes place at the Clay Pigeon circuit in Dorset on the August 20 and 21.