Date published: August 13, 2021
Sandro with the ‘Karting to Cars’ car he drove as part of his stint in motor racing
A 14-year-old racer from Rochdale launched a campaign to revive his racing career after successfully passing his racing license test, just days after winning even more kart racing trophies.
Sandro Ballesteros, who is currently in Grade 10 at Wardle Academy, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and had his first experience in a kart at age five. His natural talent for racing was clear when he completed a six-week beginner karting course at the age of six, which takes an average of three months.
Sandro has worked closely with the owner of the TeamKarting circuit in Rochdale, Matty Street for many years. Matty also lives with autism and together they have competed in many races with autism.
Sando gives presentations in primary schools and the TeamKarting and Sandro Able Racing project has introduced many autistic children to karting, some of whom now run outdoors.
Matty founded ‘X-Kart’ in the UK earlier this year and invited Sandro to drive for the team. In his last race in the Junior Kart Championship which took place in Hooton on the weekend of July 31 / August 1, Sandro took victory in the ProKart class and second place in Junior Rotax behind his teammate X-Kart. Jacob Jukes.
At the podium ceremony, Sandro presented a custom painted helmet on behalf of Racing with Autism Canada to Jenson Jowett, a young driver who also has autism.
A few days later, Sandro was heading to the Teesside circuit for his second experience driving a car as part of Matty’s Karting to Cars initiative. After less than five hours of lessons in total, Sandro was driving solo. Two days later he took his Association of Racing Driver Schools (ARDS) test at the Trac Mon circuit in Anglesey, which he confidently passed, impressing the examiner with his wet weather skills. , reaching speeds of 90 mph.
Now Sandro is planning his next step on the racing ladder, aiming to race in the Junior Saloon Car Championship and is looking for business partners to join him, sharing his future success. He has also launched a crowdfunding campaign and hopes to cover the roof of the car he is securing with puzzle pieces, each bearing the names of the people who have supported him. Puzzle pieces are recognized symbols of autism.
Sandro said: “It’s amazing how fast things are progressing and I’m so excited about the trip ahead. All of the sim races I did while in lockdown definitely helped me get into a car for the first time. Even though I had to get used to the feel of a real clutch, the gear shifting happened naturally, so I could focus on the straights in the corners and the other things I usually do in a. kart.
“Obtaining my racing license is a big step forward and I hope that with the support of some sponsors and supporters, I can start on the path of a career in motorsport. It is really important for me to inspire other people with the autism spectrum as part of this, so this will be a big priority as I move forward. “
Anyone wishing to donate to Sandro’s crowdfunding campaign can visit can do so here.