Promoted: Rob Welham - making the jump from karts to cars

The jump from karts to cars can be a challenge for many racing drivers as they try to tame and find the limits of their new machines

Promoted: Rob Welham - making the jump from karts to cars

But karting star Rob Welham has taken to it like a duck to water, going from Super One to a super podium at just his second race meeting.

The 16-year-old has competed in the last two rounds of the F1000 Championship - formerly Formula Jedi - which uses 1000cc motorbike engines and are capable of speeds up to 150mph.

A baptism of fire for any driver making the transition, but one which Welham is excelling at.

"I'm really keen to get into single-seaters and F1000 I think is the best value for money, they are one of the quickest and cheapest single-seaters available," says the teenager, whose first experience of using a clutch came just days before his first test as he practiced in his dad's car.

"It was an amazing feeling, the braking, acceleration, gear changes, it felt like a pure racing car.

"I just love the rush of being in a single-seater, the smell of the engine and being so close to the ground. It feels awesome."

On his debut at Rockingham, with the full support of the Jedi Racing Cars team he took a best finish of fourth from the weekend's three races, just over five seconds behind race winner Robert Sayell, 2016 Formula Jedi champion, and one spot ahead of last year's champion, Michael Watton.

Not bad company for a driver new to the series.

But Welham went one better at the latest round at Castle Combe last month, which played host to the new-for-2018 TCR UK Championship.

Competing in front of more spectators than he was accustomed too only spurred Welham on, as he bounced back from a retirement in the second race to mark himself as a driver to watch with third in the final outing.

"To be honest any result would have been good, I went into the weekend not expecting anything," says Welham.

"In the second race with my inexperience, I clipped the front wing and had no aero so I had to retire the car. That put some fire in my belly for the third race.

"I knew I did well but I didn't know I had come third until I came into the pits.

"The leaders had already gone when I made my way through from seventh on the grid and we were passing the pit board that quick I couldn't see what position I was in.

"When I came into the pits I saw there were only two cars in front of me, it was an awesome surprise.

"It definitely shows you can do it no matter your age."

Welham plans to compete in the final round of the season, at Donington Park in October, but will miss the next round at Croft as he focuses on the Super One Championship - the pinnacle of British karting.

He currently sits seventh in the TKM Extreme class, but will climb the standings when dropped scores are taken into account and still has a shot at the title.

Impressive for a driver who is one of the youngest in the series, having been forced up a category due to his 16th birthday falling a month short to stay in the Junior class.

Even more impressive is his karting CV up to this point; Anglia Indoor Karting champion 2013, YoungStarz at Red Lodge Karting champion '14, Sodi World Series British champion '15 and Shenington Kart Club Junior X30 champion in '16.

In 2017, he won three rounds of the MSA Super One British Championship Junior TKM class, placing fifth in the final standings and taking the rookie crown.

He also won the Shenington Junior TKM Super Prix and Britain's Finest Junior TKM events.

It's a long way from five years ago, when an 11-year-old Welham needed to wear extra high trainers at a friend's birthday party to even be allowed to drive a kart for the first time.

"The last four years I've been with Precision Racing and they have taught me so much about racing," adds Welham.

"I'm getting so much more experience having made the step up, I've learnt more in a couple months of doing Seniors than a few years in Juniors."

Welham doesn't hail from a motorsport family, his passion for the sport coming from playing with toy cars as a child and enjoying the thrill of being driven around in his dad's Ford Focus ST.

But the youngster is beginning to make waves, with his sights set on F1000 for next season and climbing the single-seater ladder beyond that.

"I want to be the best I can be and get as far as I can in single-seaters," says Welham.

"I don't want to be the next Lewis Hamilton, that's his journey, I want to be the first Rob Welham."

Rob would like to thank his sponsors:

Anglia Indoor Karting
Chase Timber Products
GCD Agency
JC Personal Training
KW Sports Massage and Soft Tissue Therapy
Sackers Scrap Metal and Waste Recycling S
imply Climate Control
Precision Racing

Social media

Twitter: @robwelhamracing ‏
Facebook: Rob Welham Racing
Instagram: robert_welham_51

Pictures - Shaun Smith Media

shares
comments
Mark Murfitt: Rising to the challenge in British GT - promoted story

Previous article

Mark Murfitt: Rising to the challenge in British GT - promoted story

Next article

Promoted: How Louis Doyle has broken into motorsport after late start

Promoted: How Louis Doyle has broken into motorsport after late start
Load comments

About this article

Series National
How the GT Cup is thriving despite the pandemic Plus

How the GT Cup is thriving despite the pandemic

The GT Cup has attracted a stunning array of drivers and machinery for its opening event at Donington Park this weekend. The fact we're in the middle of a pandemic makes that entry all the more remarkable, but there's plenty of reasons why the series is proving popular

National
Apr 9, 2021
What Autosport’s looking forward to in national motorsport this year Plus

What Autosport’s looking forward to in national motorsport this year

With COVID-19 restrictions gradually being lifted and national motorsport finally returning this weekend, focus and anticipation has switched to the year ahead. Here are Autosport's picks for what should be some of the best events and rivalries of 2021

National
Apr 3, 2021
How 2020's newest national series and championships fared Plus

How 2020's newest national series and championships fared

To the credit of organisers, some new national UK series and championships were still able to successfully launch last year, even with the world in the grip of a pandemic. Here's how Autosport has ranked them

National
Feb 14, 2021
The new national series and championships in 2021 Plus

The new national series and championships in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic may still mean there is uncertainty across the globe, but that hasn't stopped new series and championships from being introduced into UK motorsport this season. Autosport takes a look at the newest additions

National
Feb 10, 2021
The verdict on how COVID impacted club racing in 2020 Plus

The verdict on how COVID impacted club racing in 2020

It was a season like no other but, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some positives on the club motorsport scene last year as entry numbers largely remained stable, while some series boasted impressive growth

National
Feb 7, 2021
How a Porsche King became 2020's breakout star Plus

How a Porsche King became 2020's breakout star

Few drivers in 2020 could lay claim to a season as exceptional as Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Harry King. Beating the British Touring Car Championship's best to win Autosport's National Driver of the Year was the ideal recognition of his feat

National
Feb 1, 2021
The Formula Vee maverick who has reached the top Plus

The Formula Vee maverick who has reached the top

For a second consecutive year, a self-built machine has won the Formula Vee championship. But James Harridge's 'Maverick' comes from the very humblest of origins - with some parts even salvaged from a skip

National
Jan 24, 2021
The greatest club racing characters Plus

The greatest club racing characters

From legendary drinking habits to dramatic driving styles, there has been no shortage of cult-hero figures over the past 70 years in national motorsport. Here's an extended version of the original list that appeared in Autosport's 70th anniversary bookazine

National
Jan 5, 2021