After spending a good part of this year in Italy, honing his kart racing skills, Red Deer’s Parker Thompson is eyeing the big step to formula racing cars.
The 15-year-old said there isn’t much left to learn at the kart level, which means it is time to start training on the real thing.
“Next year is kind of a leap year,” said Thompson. “I’m pretty young for the formula car, but I’m already at the point in karts where we’re at the top and there’s nothing else to prove.
“It’s time to make the next step.” He is back in Red Deer for a few days, before heading out to the U.S. for more business.
He was in Italy until July, when the European kart season winds down, when he moved in with Buddy Rice, an IndyCar racer, in California as part of his driving education.
“In my down time instead of coming home and relaxing like a normal 15-year-old should after a big adventure like that, I went down to live with Buddy Rice,” said Thompson.
“We’re training in karts and preparing ourselves for formula cars next year.”
His year living in Italy and racing around Europe included eight top five finishes, four podium finishes, five Superpole sessions (top drivers of a race), two Superpole wins and a final win.
“The whole purpose with racing all over the world is to eventually move into formula cars,” said Thompson. “We’re doing that next year.”
It will be a change of pace for Thompson as he won’t be racing next year, instead the focus will be on development, preparation, testing, training and learning formula car racing.
“Instead of rushing through it and missteps, we really want to take time to develop into it,” said Thompson. “You write off a go-kart when you get in an accident and it’s expensive, especially in Italy, but you write off a formula car and it can really put a dent in your budget.”
Thompson is looking for partnerships going forward to support this expensive driving habit.
This year for Thompson has been about proving himself as a Canadian and North American driver in a much more competitive place for the sport.
Placing in the top five consistently was a good step for the young driver’s career.
Though he hasn’t driven a formula car yet, he is excited to take the wheel in the new year.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” said Thompson. “Having Buddy Rice and being in his driver program, his connections are huge within formula car racing.
“I think you could see me moving up the formula ranks pretty quick, hopefully in the next few seasons.”