White’s confidence soars

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The Bloemfontein teenager, Stuart White, winning in the French F4 at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix will take place the iconic track on 26 August. PHOTO: GUILLAUME VEUVE/KSP REPORTAGES

The confidence of 16-year-old racing driver from Bloemfontein, Stuart White, has reached an all-time high following his recent French F4 Championship victory at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

From the word go things weren’t in the teenager’s favour after learning on the Tuesday before the race that he had to get to Belgium in order to compete. To pull off a win, and in the process set a new lap record at the iconic track, remains a truly amazing feat.
White told Voice that despite the lack of preparation it was a thrilling ride to get to Europe, compete and win.

“The Monday I was still lying on the couch, going to gym and working towards a race that was still meant to take place two-weeks away. So to get a call and to only have 12 hours to get a flight ticket to Belgium and everything else and then to make it all work, was pretty amazing.

“Mentally it was quite tough, knowing that all the other guys had been testing for two to three days. We had a guy at Winfield whom we called the Air Force-man, because he was in the military. He helped us a lot to tune in mentally and get through the week.

“When I saw the pace we were setting and we kept on working, I knew that I could do it in the race as well. Three podiums for the weekend was definitely on for the weekend, but luck was just not on our side during the first two races.

“To pull it off in the third race and ensure the biggest victory of my career, was absolutely amazing.”

The youngster added that overcoming all in order to see the South African flag being hoist above the podium definitely helps with the confidence as he is slowly but surely working towards racing in the big league of Europe in the not too distant future.

“I knew that I had the preparation from the previous year and I had to go and dig up a couple of files in my brains. After a few laps I got used to it all again. My driver coach, Cyrille Sauvage, also helped a lot because he kept pushing me through the week.

“Sauvage telling me and reassuring me that I was the strongest driver there really helped a lot mentally.

“With every race I saw that I was getting faster and faster, and knew that starting in fifth in the last race I had an opportunity to win. After the first lap, when I was behind Caio Collet and Arthur Leclerc, I knew that there was a possibility to make it work.”

There a few things for Stuwie in the pipeline, however, it remains a waiting game for now. The speedster’s next confirmed race is on 14 July in Port Elizabeth in the Formula Ford series. – MORGAN PIEK