Chase Sharpe may still be a few weeks shy of his ninth birthday, but the Melton youngster is already preparing for life as a racing car driver.
No stranger to the race track, Chase has been racing karts since the age of six, but is now focussing on the next step up.
The move came about last summer after the National Autograss Sports Association decided to lower the minimum age for racers in their junior championship from 12 to 10.
“With the NASA reducing the age to join Junior Autograss, it brought forward our plans by two years,” said Chase’s father, Henry.
“We now have a clear path to where we want to end up.
“Chase is over the moon, his sponsors are very happy, and we are excited to get started and can’t wait for 2021 in the British Autograss Series.”
Chase has been testing since July and has had to get used to using a clutch and changing gear in his Junior Special car, or J-Spec, which is powered by a 1.2-litre engine, but weighs only 450kg.
The eight-year-old will spend this year testing at tracks around the UK, to make sure he is fully acquainted with the car and its handling, ready to start racing in the British Autograss Series in the spring of 2021.
“We are hoping with a year of testing under his belt, he can hit the ground running,” Henry added.
“He will be testing at least every month.
“Chase instantly felt at home in the car.
“He has perfected the clutch and gears and we can’t believe how well he is doing in testing.”
Chase and his team made the move into Autograss with one eye on the Junior Saloon Car Championship which is planned for the coming years
There the young motorsport fan will compete in his own racing car on tracks such as Silverstone and Donington.
Autograss promotes car control and racecraft among its fledgling drivers, and counts current British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington as one of its graduates.
“We have made the move to Autograss after looking at the bigger picture and where our sponsors wanted to see Chase,” Henry explained.
“He is so, so excited. He has seen me and his uncle racing since he was born and he has always wanted to race a car as quickly as he could.”
He added: “We would like to thank all our partners for their continued support and local sponsors Melton Land Rover and Digital Deadline.”
For more information, visit ChaseSharpe.com or search Chaseyboy26 on Facebook or Instagram.