A Kensington teenager has been given the green light to drive at more than 100mph this weekend. In fact, his sponsors will be ticked off if he doesn’t.
Alessandro Latif, 18 just last month, heads for the Blancpain Sprint Series at Brands Hatch hoping to build on his impressive start following two top-10 results in Nogaro, France at the wheel of a Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra sportscar.
“I have never raced a car in the UK so I am really looking forward to it, especially at an iconic track like Brands,” he said.
Latif shares the Phoenix Audi with German Marc Basseng, the 2012 FIA GT1 World Champion, in his maiden Blancpain campaign, and won’t be short of decent footwear to and from the race. The west Londoner gets personal support from French luxury shoemaker Corthay.
“I knew the competition was going to be tough and at Nogaro the field was very close – any slight mistake was costly,” continued Alessandro.
“The toughest element in many ways was getting that first race weekend under my belt and to understand the pressures involved.”
said Latif who began karting seven years ago but has never raced in the UK until now.
He’s never visited the Kent venue just 25miles from his Kensington home, so has been doing homework on the layout of the 2.30-mile track.
“I’ve never been, but it’s as close to my home as it gets,” he added. I’ve been studying onboard footage from previous Brands races and working in the simulator which gives a driver’s eye view of the circuit.”
Around 20 cars will contest the two races both staged on Sunday, with Latif’s Indian-born father and Italian-born mother and two younger sisters fingers crossed in the stands.
In the same way Latif started in karting, down the road at Portland Place School, one of its students is well on the way to stardom in the sport.
Enaam Ahmed, from Westminster, has just won the prestigious WSK Super Master Series.
His place on the podium in La Conca, Italy, was enough to triumph and put him in contention for the European and World title series.
Comparisons to the elite of racing have already been drawn, with experts tipping the 13-year-old to follow in the footsteps of former junior karting star and Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.
“It was certainly a career highlight of mine to date to win the Super Master Series in such tense conditions,” Ahmed said.
“I just focused on keeping my composure, with my sights set on winning the series. To drive on an international circuit is a dream come true but I am just taking each race at a time.”