Billy Monger to rub shoulders with Michael Schumacher at karting championship in Italy
CHARLWOOD racer Billy Monger is preparing to rub shoulders with Formula One legend Michael Schumacher this week.
The 13-year-old, who attends Priory School in Dorking, is travelling to La Conca in Italy for the first round of the World Series Karting European Championship, where seven-time F1 world champion Schumacher will make his debut back in karting.
And Monger, himself a two-time British Kart Champion, is relishing the challenge of testing himself against some of the best karters in the world.
"I am really looking forward to it and I have been training hard," said the Surrey schoolboy, who will compete in the KF Junior class alongside Schumacher's son Mick and Jean Alesi's son Giuliano.
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But while Monger is looking forward to competing alongside sons of such illustrious motorsport stars, he is also looking forward to seeing Schumacher out on the track too, with the F1 legend racing for the Tony Kart team in KZ1.
"It will be amazing to be able to watch [Michael] Schumacher, who is a big role model of mine," he said.
Monger is fully focused on his own racing, though, with the former Honda Cadet British Champion and Super Cadet British Champion keen to impress having been marked as 'one to watch' in 2013.
He said: "Hopefully, I can get a good qualifying this week and then be up the front of the grid for the race.
"I have been a bit unfortunate in qualifying recently and La Conca hasn't been the best of places for me, but hopefully my luck will change and I will do well there this time."
Monger, who races with Jamie Croxford's Forza Racing team, will be supported by his father Rob, who is also his mechanic.
And while Billy admits the relationship can be "up and down" as a result, he said he is grateful for the support of his family, adding that it is great to work so closely with his father.
The teenager says he is also grateful for the support of his school, while he says the Surrey County Council Free Access County Sportspeople scheme is important for him to help him get fit on a small budget.
He said: "I have got to be in the best shape I can be, as it is quite a physically demanding sport.
"I have to be fit and ready and it is really important, as some of my competitors have personal trainers, which we can't afford on our budget."
Despite being on a small budget, the dad and lad team are keen to progress through the ranks, with Billy aiming for a long career in motorsport.
Anyone wishing to help Billy with sponsorship should contact Rob Monger on 07850 945610.