Stuart White stars on track
Stuart White ended a very busy racing season with another impressive outing in the Investchem Formula 1600 finale at Zwartkops on Saturday. The Bloemfontein 15-year old qualified fourth and third for the two races, before ending fourth in the first race. White however struggled in race 2 after choosing what would prove to be the wrong tyres on the drying track.
“Qualifying went very well, but I had a few brake problems in race 1 so I was very happy with fourth,” Stuart explained. “But the rain came just before the start of the second heat and we had to take a big gamble to go with dry or wet tyres.
“We looked at the track and thought it would not dry out so we opted for wet rubber, which proved the wrong decision and we went backwards every lap. “The three guys who started on slicks ended up on the podium, so let’s just put that one down to experience — that’s racing after all,” young White smiled.
The weekend’s races put a cap on a hectic year for the Whites following a full season of karting before Stewart stepped up to the main circuit as soon as he was allowed to at 14 years old in July. From there Stuart raced both cars and karts, which exploits were topped by his second podium in two years in the Junior Rok International Cup in Italy.
White however rates this month’s Junior World karting championship as the highlight of his year. “Bahrain was great until that crash took us out of the pre final,” Stewart reflected. “We also raced in two WSK kart races — one in the snow in Casteletto and another in Adria, while the Margutti Cup in Lonato was also great.
Stewart’s Formula 4 test at Le Mans was another season highlight. “My experience at Le Mans was also special — I was proud to drive on such a mythical circuit and that car was great to drive. “We love to race in Europe, but it is also great to compete on the other side at home in South Africa where we have so many great friends — they are our racing family.”
Looking ahead, Stuart plans more tests in Formula 4 before a race or two in Europe later in next year, alongside a local race campaign. “We want to rack up as much track time as possible on the main circuit to learn more racecraft and build up experience before going to do some races in Europe.”
Stuart will be home schooled from 2017. His racing program and the extraordinary travel requirements to race out of Bloemfontein demand special attention and the two together take too much time out of a regular school curriculum. “We made the decision to home school to allow Stuwie more time to do what he loves and to build a career in racing without compromising either his education or his progress on track,” Stuart’s dad David pointed out.
“There are so many people I need to thank for a brilliant year in racing,” Stuart concluded. “But there is one man in particular and I would like to make special mention of Etienne Roos and his RKT team. “Uncle Etienne has taught us so much and helped me all the way and still does so much for me — he has believed in me in my best and worst times, which has had a tremendous effect on my racing career.”