For 14 year old Daniel Harper from Anahilt, his motorsport career is already a glittering one, and now he embarks on a new adventure for the Karting World Finals at the famous Le Mans circuit in France- famous for the 24 Hour endurance race. With over 400 of the world’s top kart racers present it is the big event, and on his first ever visit to the circuit Daniel has stunned setting fastest times in the weekend practice before next Sunday’s big race final.
“It’s been a brilliant experience so far” said Daniel. “What a track and an atmosphere!
There’s been a lot of work put into this, not least from my dad Stan, and Team Kart-shops Andrew Lyons. However we have a lot more to do during the week to have the kart just right for the weekend. It’s another great opportunity this year. It’s fair to say that my focus has been more on Junior rallying, but the karting outings have gone exceptionally well despite not being in a kart as often. Is still really enjoy the racing, especially when it’s close dicing. I hope that I can bring home a result from here to finish the season on a high” said Daniel from the Le Mans track.
It’s a performance built on previous success for the teenager. In 2013 he scored unique doubles in winning both Quad and Kart Ulster championships, and in 2014 he won the Northern Ireland Karting Association (NIKA) Championship, but also the Motorsport Ireland Irish Kart Championship, the Champion of Champions meeting, the Irish Kart Grand Prix and the Irish Open plate. It was no wonder at the NIKA prize-giving that British Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington presented him with the Northern Ireland Driver of the Year Award.
In 2015 the young Dromore High pupil also ventured into Junior rallying, leading the first round of the series, and finishing a close second, before taking wins at the Bishopscourt and Shackleton rounds, but luck often deserted him on the other rounds with mechanical problems and sliding off into a wet field on the final round. He still found time for the occasional foray into karting, much encouraged by Andrew Lyons, and won the prestigious Formula One Management organised event at Nutts Corner.
It’s been a dazzling debut so far for Daniel, one which hopefully won’t go un-noticed by the talent scouts of the motor-racing teams.