11-year-old Islander wins go-kart championship, invited to nationals
'I want to make it to NASCAR, I want to follow my dream'
William Lowther is top student and a solid hockey player. But his dream is to drive — really freaking fast.
"I want to make it to NASCAR, I want to follow my dream, I want to get as good as Jeff Gordon and them."
The 11-year-old is doing just that by following his racing hero's footsteps, becoming a go-kart champion years before he'll be eligible for a driver's permit on P.E.I.
The worst wreck I can remember is hooking tires up, but one of my friends they've actually flown out of the karts.— Go-kart racing champion William Lowther
In his second full year driving in the two go-kart racing series in the Maritimes, he has a championship to his name, missed a second one by 0.436 seconds and was named Atlantic Canadian Driver of the Year by Canadian Karting News.
"It was really surprising and cool, " William said.
The family's kitchen table is covered with trophies and medals.
But the medal he's most proud of didn't come from a race — it's from the Grade 4 science fair for a project that showed others how one of his racing engines works.
"I bet you it helped my dad a lot and the pit crew, because without that project he probably still wouldn't know what a carburetor is," William said with a grin.
A big year on the horizon
The young driver competes in two series: one in Halifax at a modified stock car racing track, and the other at a track outside Moncton specially built for go-kart racing.
"In Halifax, there is more time to think," William said. "In the first year in Moncton, there's not as many straightaways as in Halifax so makes it kind of tougher and if you don't know your line you're really going to have to go slower."
It's up to dad, Ryan Lowther, to get William to the races.
"My father's a wonderful mechanic, it was his thing, but I've learned an awful lot and now I do most of the work to the kart," said Ryan Lowther of his role with the team.
He also pays the bills, with the help of some sponsors.
In 2015, William made 26 trips to races with a budget of $7,000, plus the $5,000 go-kart William drives, and a bit more for damage from the occasional accident.
"The worst wreck I can remember is hooking tires up, but one of my friends, they've actually flown out of the karts," William said.
The plans for 2016 include participating in the two regional races series plus a trip to the national championship, with the chance to pick up more sponsors and tips to help William follow his dream to NASCAR.
"I'll be honest, he has shocked us each of his two seasons at just how far he has come and what he has been able to accomplish," said his proud father. "I think if he keeps working he is going to do really well."