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Clio: Hamilton Jr readies for racing bow

Nicolas Hamilton prepares for his racing debut in the Renault Clio Cup
His brother may be a Formula One world champion, but all eyes will be on another Hamilton this weekend, as Nicolas Hamilton begins what he hopes will become a lengthy career in motor racing.

The younger brother of F1 superstar Lewis will turn a wheel in anger for the first time by placing a foot on the motor racing ladder in the Air Asia Renault Clio Cup at Kent circuit Brands Hatch.

Hamilton announced he was to join the Renault Clio Cup with Total Control Racing in February and the decision turned heads, as the 19-year-old suffers from Cerebral Palsy. However, the life-long motor racing fan is fully aware of the challenges he faces this season and hopes he can inspire people. He will receive further support this weekend from his brother Lewis, who will fly in from Malaysia to witness Nicolas' debut.

“I hope I can have a lengthy career,” Hamilton Jr said. “I love motor sport and I have been involved in it for as long as I can remember. At the moment I'm just doing it because I love it but also I want to inspire people. I've got so much to worry about this year I want to just complete this season before I think about anything else. Honestly it doesn't matter where I end up this year.

“Challenges are set for you to overcome and it makes you a better person. This year is a massive learning curve and time for me to get used to the car as I have never raced in my life. For the first race I might be left behind a little bit but that is good as it allows me to improve and learn.

“Lewis is going to be at as many as he can. He is really busy and I don't need him there I just need to know he is with me in support.”

Before the turn of the year, Hamilton's only experience of racing came in the form of watching his brother in Formula One and competing in online computer racing games. In fact it was only in September last year that he realised it would be possible to race after driving a Clio at Bedford Autodrome. Since then he has battled to convince the MSA to grant him a race license and completed four test days prior to the season opener at Brands Hatch.
“It was pretty weird to be honest because I'm used to online simulation games,” he said. “You can't just push straight away because if you go off, you cannot just press escape. It's not like that and I've found that out.”

Although he admits his first race at Brands Hatch on Saturday will be tough, the omens look good for Hamilton after revealing he was only a second off the pace of his brother in the same car in February.

“I took Lewis down to Bedford Autodrome and he gave me some pointers,” he said. “I ended up being a second off him and that is not bad. Lewis can get in car and be fast in anything. That day I realised how good he is.

“I'm going to keep pushing this year and see where it takes me. There are some people racing the series who are coming back from the BTCC, which is crazy as I'm just coming from a computer game.”

With Sunday being Mothers' Day, Hamilton admitted he has one special gift for his Mum come the chequered flag.

He added: “It's Mothers' Day on the Sunday and my present to her is to bring the car home safe.”


by Tom Howard



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