Interview: Tymoteusz Kucharczyk, Kubica’s Protégé

from FIA Karting

“ROBERT KUBICA IS AN EXAMPLE FOR ME, HE HAS A MIND OF STEEL.”

Several young Polish drivers have recently emerged in the major international karting events. Among them, the talented Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (15 years old) has been highlighted on many occasions. Robert Kubica’s protégé in OK is certainly on the rise…

CAN YOU SUMMARISE THE PATH THAT LED YOU TO BECOME ONE OF THE BEST DRIVERS IN OK TODAY?

My father is a former rally driver. He sometimes went to a rental karting circuit for fun with a friend. When I saw him, I wanted to try it and I loved it. I was only five years old. I then moved on to racing in the Czech Republic, where it was possible to start at the age of six in a brand cup. Then I came back to my country, where the standard is getting higher and higher. Of course, it would be nice if Poland had new, more modern facilities, but it is developing over the years. Today we have four or five quality circuits. However, I chose to go to Italy to race in a 60 Mini.

YOU WERE ON MANY PODIUMS DURING THIS PERIOD. DID THIS HELP YOU TO ENTER THE OK-JUNIOR CATEGORY IN BETTER CIRCUMSTANCES?

Yes, of course it did. I think every step of my career has been important. I competed in a lot of big international Mini events from 2015 onwards and the great results I got helped me to become known. While I started the season in 60 Mini at just 12 years old in 2018, in the end I moved up to OK-Junior during the year. It was a good decision as I was able to gain experience quickly and then have a very good season in 2019.



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WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET YOUR COUNTRYMAN ROBERT KUBICA?

I had the opportunity to meet him when I was not yet 10 years old, but he wanted to follow my career more closely at the beginning of the 2020 season. That’s when I joined the official Birel ART team and started using an RK chassis, which Robert developed in collaboration with the Italian factory. Since then he has been advising me, he is an excellent coach. He has pointed out my faults and helped me to improve in many areas, such as tyre management and race strategy. His influence has been very positive and today I am proud to wear his colours.

DO YOU MANAGE TO KEEP IN TOUCH REGULARLY?

We try to talk between races. Even when he is not with me at an event, I try to remember what he has taught me, especially on a mental level. Thanks to him, I am aware that you have to be strong in your head, persevere and always get up when negative things happen. During his career, Robert Kubica proved that you should never give up. After his accident, he managed to come back, to race again in Rally and even to enter Formula 1 again. He is an example!

HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR TIME IN OK?

I really like this category: the power of the engine, the grip of the tyres and the feeling. I think I adapted well to it coming from OK-Junior. In retrospect, I think it was harder for me to move from Mini to OK-Junior. For a first year in OK, I have had many positives. The speed is there. Of course, there were times when I lacked experience, but now I know that I can fight for the podium in every race. There are many of us who have the ability to win in OK, so it’s not easy.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ATMOSPHERE WITHIN THE OFFICIAL BIREL ART TEAM?

It is excellent, it is important for my confidence. With my team-mates, we motivate each other to progress even faster. Birel ART work hard and I am always progressing. In the team, I have the chance to work with two top level drivers: Marijn Kremers and Riccardo Longhi, my team manager. They invest a lot in helping the young drivers. Technically they are very strong. I would also like to thank my engine manufacturer, Machac Motors, who comes from the Czech Republic and develops my TM Racing engines. I am constantly fighting to get good results for myself and for my team.

DO YOU DREAM OF RALLYING OR FORMULA 1?

Rally is a great discipline, but I think that drivers of my age who race in OK dream more about F1 and that’s the case for me too. But I don’t know yet what my future will be: karting or single-seaters? I also have to manage my education, which I am currently managing to pursue in my home country, Poland. As soon as a race is over, I jump on a plane to go back to school. I try to miss as few classes as possible and try to catch up on everything I miss. At the moment I’m doing pretty well, I’m getting good results.



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