Daniel Ricciardo Series: Sheffield schoolboy eyes Formula 1 career after winning prestigious competition

Look out Lewis Hamilton, a Sheffield schoolboy has his sights set on pole position in the motorsport world after winning a prestigious karting championship.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 9:38 am

Birkdale pupil Rowan Campbell-Pilling, aged 14, beat competitors from across the country to be crowned junior champion of the 2021 Daniel Ricciardo Series on Sunday.

The competition, which is sponsored by the Australian Formula 1 star, sees drivers race karts at tracks where stars such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris have learned their craft.

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Rowan Campbell-Pilling has been crowned the 2021 Daniel Ricciardo Series UK Junior Champion.

The vehicles are all of the same specification to make the racing close and fair, with the emphasis on the driver’s ability and keeping costs affordable.

Dore-based Rowan trains four times a week to keep himself in top condition for racing as fast as possible and clocked up an impressive 18 podium finishes during the season to clinch the overall title with a race to spare.

He said: “I love karting, it’s such a great sport and I can’t get enough of it.

"The Daniel Ricciardo Series is equal, you can’t push the boundaries at all so it’s fair and the best driver comes out on top.”

Rowan’s proud dad Rory added: “It’s a great, great platform for young drivers to excel in.

"What’s particularly interesting about the achievement is that he’s the youngest driver so far to win the junior championship as far as I’m aware.”

Formula 1 Ambition

The youngster, who idolises Max Verstappen, began racing at the age of six on two wheels before moving onto Bambino karts for young children.

He added: "My dad used to run a team before I was born, he got me into it to start off and things just went from there.

"It would be amazing to be a Formula 1 world champion but there are a lot of other forms of motorsport we could end up in.”

Cost is a huge factor in determining success in motorsport and finances could dictate Rowan’s future path.

Rory said: “The motorsport world is so big now. Formula E is very attractive because in all the contracts drivers sign they get paid.

"A lot of people in Formula 1 today are paying for their seats, it’s family or business money.

"I don’t think there will be another Lewis Hamilton. The Daniel Ricciardo Series is fair and accessible to all.”