Being tall in motorsport brings with it a number of challenges. And one discipline where tall drivers are particularly on the back foot is karting. So it’s no wonder that Patrick Kibble is looking forward to graduating to cars this season.
“Being six foot tall at 14 years-old is quite a disadvantage, so at every opportunity I had to move up into the next level [on the karting ladder],” says Kibble. “I was at a disadvantage but I think it was useful because I really improved my racecraft.”
A perfect example of that was last year. Kibble moved into the Senior X30 class and was therefore racing against significantly older and more experienced drivers. But the experience proved valuable – especially since it was his first year in major championships both in the UK and Europe, after spending several seasons racing at club level.
“Last year was very tough, racing at the highest level,” he says. “Running as privateers at this level meant I didn’t reach my full potential in the championships, but after joining a team late in the karting season the consistency improved.”
Now Kibble is leaving the world of karting behind and will instead compete in Ginetta Junior with the returning Total Control Racing team, after securing the necessary support from his sponsors.
“I was first interested in Ginettas in 2016 but I wanted to use 2017 to really fine-tune my racing skills,” he says. “Watching the races on TV, the close racing is something I really enjoy and it’s a level playing field because everyone’s in the same car. I’ve done some testing and been to a few different tracks to learn them, and I think I’ll be going to some more later in the year.
“It’s been going really well and I’ve made a lot of improvements. My main target is to win the rookie championship and any [overall] podiums or wins would be a great bonus.”
That’s certainly a realistic target considering there’s very few second-year drivers in the category this year, meaning rookies such as Kibble stand a good chance of challenging for overall honours.
Longer-term, Kibble is eyeing a move into endurance racing. “I really like the look of GT racing, so British GT is something I would aspire to be a part of,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed longer races – I would always be good at the end of races in karting.”
But right now, Kibble’s focus is on the opening Ginetta Junior race at Brands Hatch – a local circuit for the Kent teenager. He’s set himself a target of finishing in at least the top six and there’s every chance Kibble will be one to watch this weekend.
2018: Ginetta Junior
2017: IAME European Series Senior X30 and British Super One Senior X30
2016: PFi Club Junior X30 (third) and LGM Series Junior X30
2015: Buckmore Park Rotax Mini Max (champion). East Anglia Cup Rotax Mini Max (champion). London Cup Rotax Mini Max (vice-champion)
2014: PFi Club Rotax Mini Max (rookie champion)