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Kart racer’s move ‘chance of a lifetime’

A chance of a lifetime awaits a Red Deer teenager as he moves to Italy to purse his dream.

Parker Thompson, 14, finished third in the junior category at the 2012 Rotax World Finals of go-karting in Portimao, Portugal.

Now, he has been invited by Energycorse to joining their team and relocate to their home base of Bergamo, Italy.

“The whole reason I’m going is because the competition is just so much denser over there,” said Thompson.

“You need to go over there to get to where I want to go, which is Formula One. If I want to go to F1, you have to go over and kart in Europe.”

Thompson will share a flat with other drivers, all older than the teenager.

The flat is located next to the racing company’s factory. He said he will be the only member of the team from North America.

“It’s a factory team so they develop the chassis as well as running their own chassis,” said Thompson.

With the move comes a busy schedule of 20 races all over Europe next year, and one in Las Vegas.

On top of the new surroundings, new teammates, flatmates and language, Thompson will have to learn to race with a new chassis, different materials and a new tire.

He is switching from the Rotax engine package to the KF3, which is 125-cc and goes five to 10 mph faster than the engine he used to place third in the world.

“It’s going to be a huge learning curve, but honestly I think when it comes down to it I have a lot of testing before my first race, so I think that will help out, and our goal is to go for first,” said Thompson.

“As always.”

Thompson said the fact he will have to move away from his family on Monday has made the process difficult.

“It’s taking it’s toll now,” said Thompson.

“It’s saddening in a way, but at the same time my family and I know this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and in order to pursue my racing career, this is what has to be done.”

While he is living in Italy, Thompson will keep up with his education using St. Gabriel online school through the Red Deer Catholic School District.

He said through Skype and other Internet tools, the school has been accommodating and will help him continue his education.



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