Karting: Ethan Tan overall champ in X30 Challenge Singapore juniors; to speed up progress in England

Ethan Tan (No. 123) leading the other 11 drivers at the start of yesterday’s race at KF1 Karting Circuit in Kranji. He does not see himself aiming for F1 but will decide which class to specialise in once he wins a karting race in Europe.
Ethan Tan (No. 123) leading the other 11 drivers at the start of yesterday’s race at KF1 Karting Circuit in Kranji. He does not see himself aiming for F1 but will decide which class to specialise in once he wins a karting race in Europe.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Winner of X30 junior category, he'll study in England where he can race frequently to progress

Young Ethan Tan ruled the KF1 Karting Circuit at Kranji yesterday when he became the overall champion in the junior category (for 12 to 16 year olds) of the X30 Challenge Singapore.

But the 15-year-old will take his blossoming motor sport career overseas as the Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) student departs for England on Sept 7 to enrol in Shrewsbury's Concord College.

Even though the reason for the move was mainly because of academics, planting himself in England will benefit Ethan's development in the sport he picked up three years ago.

He said: "Europe is the place to be for motor sport. I would gain a lot of experience. The higher standards and tougher competition there would help me to mature as a driver."

A hotbed for motor sport, Britain is the home of eight of the 11 Formula One teams, including constructors' champions Mercedes and powerhouses Red Bull.

Currently, he races once in three months, but he hopes to participate in two races per month in Europe.

And he has beefed up his credentials after winning the X30 Challenge Singapore, the Republic's biggest karting competition and the only one that is sanctioned by the sport's international governing body.

The competition attracted a total of 114 drivers competing in five categories over five rounds starting from March. The final round was held yesterday.

Ethan said: "Winning this (competition) probably means that I'm among Asia's best in my age group."

But ironically, he does not see himself as a future F1 driver.

For now, his goal is to win a karting race in Europe before deciding on which class he wants to specialise in.

Said his mother Marisa Tan: "For the long term, his ultimate goal is not (to have) a career in motor racing or to be a professional racer.

"To be an F1 driver, you'll need a lot of money and talent. I just hope he (Ethan) will enjoy karting more and to develop his character through more competitions."

And with some irony, Ethan admitted: "Doing well in kart racing is more realistic for me right now, I just want to enjoy it first. I'm not interested in many sports, so this is a rare one that I enjoy. It has become half of my life now."

Even though he took up tennis as his co-curricular activity (CCA) at ACS (Barker Road), exceptions were made for him to go for karting sessions in place of his CCA training sessions.

He said: "Most of my friends mistake it for bumper cars, but I tell them that it's more like a mini F1 race."

If Ethan finds more success in karting, he does not rule out the possibility of racing on the F1 circuit one day.

He said: "The F1 racers mostly started out in karting and they were karting champions too. So maybe, hopefully, I can make it there too one day."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'Ethan's kart career to speed up with move'. Print Edition | Subscribe