A talented young driver who hopes to follow in the footsteps of five time British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is competing at an international karting championship in Brazil.

James Lowther, 16, will represent Team UK at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals being held at the Circuito Internacional Paladino in Conde, Paraíba, from November 24 to December 1.

He will be competing amongst 360 of the world’s best kart drivers from more than 50 countries, racing at speeds of up to 80mph in the 34bhp karts in the seniors (15+) class.

James, from Bishop Auckland, secured his place after winning the British Championship (Junior Rotax Class) following races at tracks in Cheltenham, Daventry, Dorchester and Grantham.

He first took up the sport when he was eight years old in a kart bought by father Martin, who works as his mechanic and also transports him with his kart to club and national championships across the UK at least twice a month.

Currently studying a Level 2 in Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at Bishop Auckland College, James hopes to become a professional racing driver.

He said: “Winning the British Karting Championship has always been my ambition, from starting out at the age of eight. Crossing the line at the final round was the best point in my career.

“The opportunity to go to Brazil and racing in the British team against the best drivers in the world is something I thought I would never be able to do.”

In addition to financial support from his parents, James has been sponsored for the past two years by Evenwood roofing and cladding contractor CA Group. But he is always looking for additional sponsors as he would like to compete in Europe next year and is aiming to move up into F4.

James will attend the British Championship presentation being held at the Autosports Show at the NEC in Birmingham in January and moves up to compete at senior level in the 2019 season.

However, will not be able to drive on the road until at least the end of March next year when he turns 17!