Thanks to the size of the country and the number of population, the Chinese market is one of the most important, if not the most important one! How do things stand for karting?
Who will be the next Chinese F1 driver? The most accredited is Guan Yu Zhou, Ferrari Driver Academy standard bearer. The apex of his karting career was in 2013 when he won the Rotax MAX Euro Challenge and the Super 1 National Rotax MAX in Junior. In 2015 he moved to F4 with Prema Powerteam and he became vice-champion. In 2015 he stepped to F3 European Championship and this last year, in 2017, he grabbed 8th.
We don’t know what Guan Yu is going to do next season, but we know that the Chinese hopes for the future are entrusted to young karter Han Cenyu. After a good season with Energy Corse in the Mini class, this young driver is going to join Dino Chiesa and his new team Kart Republic in OK Junior class next year.
Let’s go over your career: when and how did you start racing in karts?
“My father used to race formulas, and the first time I went to the Shanghai International F.1 Circuit I was 2 years old. When I turned 6, my father bought me a Yamaha powered baby karting chassis. I enjoyed the speed, I find it exciting it’s great fun. I loved it and told my father that I wanted to start racing. So, we started looking for a coach driver and Italian SuperGT driver Andrea Caldarelli was the first one: he taught me a lot, and in 2014 after three races in Asia, we came to Italy.”
Why did you move to Rome?
“Because I know that the best karting drivers in the world are here in Italy. If I want to get to the top, I have to join them, training and racing with them. I’m going to move from Rome to Desenzano in a few months’ time .”
What’s your daily routine? How do you train for races?
“From Monday to Thursday I go to the school, and I train every afternoon for 2 hours, then I spend all my weekends on track.”
How often do you go to Formula Medicine?
“Generally 3 or 4 days per month. The first time I went to Formula Medicine I was nine, I was one of the youngest drivers who was training there. Maybe it’s a record, I don’t know!”
Have you already tried the OKJ? If you have, what do you think about it?
“Only once for the moment. It is very fast and I find it exciting. I was one of the fastest drivers in the Mini class, I am confident that I’ll be fast in OKJ too.”
What do you expect from the next season in OKJ with Kart Republic?
“I want to learn and win. Dino is one of the best, if not the best team manager. I’ll have all it takes to win next year.”
What races are you going to do?
“The WSK, DKM, CIK-FIA European Championship, CIK-FIA World Championship and more If Dino asks me to …”
How do you feel about being one of the few Chinese drivers?
“I am very proud of being the only Chinese currently involved in international karting. Many people have great expectations and passion for Chinese racing drivers, I’d like to become the second Chinese F1 driver.”
What’s it like to have such a champion like Davide Forè as coach? What aspects do you have to improve most?
“After I came to Italy, I had two coaches: Davide Forè and Felice Tiene. They are both amazing. Felice taught me lots of things and how to have a fighting spirit, while Davide has taught me how to combine karting and myself to get a further understanding of this motorsport. I was like a sponge and I’ve learnt a lot from them!”
What do you hope for your national motorsport?
“I hope that karting in China will develop into one of the best like in Italy. I left home very early to learn how to race in Europe, it wasn’t easy for me at that age. I’d like to do for this sport and for my country.”