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Search on for Australia's next Formula One driver 15 Feb 2008

Mark Webber (AUS) Biz Thunderkart literally drove past the opposition. SMI Ironman Karting Challenge, Milton Keynes, England. 3 July 2002. World © SUTTON Mark Webber (AUS) Biz Thunderkart took an easy victory. SMI Ironman Karting Challenge, Milton Keynes, England. 3 July 2002. World ©  SUTTON

Australian youngsters hoping to follow in the footsteps of Mark Webber will get the chance to show their mettle in a ‘Road to F1’ karting competition to be held at next month’s Australian Grand Prix.

The competition, which is being run in conjunction with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports (CAMS), is designed to unearth the country’s best new racing talent. It will be held on a specially-constructed circuit - the largest temporary kart track in Australia - in Melbourne’s Albert Park.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for these kids to be put right into the box seat in front of the motorsport industry’s leading figures,” said Michael Smith, manager of motor sports services and development with CAMS. “Many young drivers got their start in go karts and that has paved the way for their transition into Formula Ford, Formula Three and even Formula One.”

The ‘Road to F1’ promotion will feature a series of heats in a range of age brackets: 7 to 11 years; 12 to 15; 16 to 17; and 18 years plus. Participants will aim to set the fastest lap time, with winners in each age group receiving a tour of the Formula One garages, entry into a special motorsport development camp and other great prizes.

“For a young person who’s looking for a break, this could really help accelerate their development into the higher levels of motor sport and on to F1,” added Smith. “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see if you’ve got what it takes to become one of the next superstars in motor sport.”

In addition to the young driver search, a special celebrity karting challenge will be staged on Saturday March 15, featuring leading personalities.