Several months ago, Nathan Wilkie won the ‘So You Wanna be a Race Car Driver‘ race at K1 Speed. The grand prize for the event was the opportunity to drive the No. 12 MagiSeal / K1 Speed / Scarboro Subaru / Formula 1200 car. Nathan is an experienced kart racer at K1 Speed, CRKC and TRAK. But driving a race car was a completely new experience.
A couple weeks ago, the big day finally arrived. Nathan, his mom Rae, Daniel, his father Chris, and Bill Vallis (or Vallis Motor Sport) all met up at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga. Here’s a recap of that day, in Nathan’s own words.
My first experience in a real racing car and not just a go-kart was unforgettable and memorable. It was a chilly day at Toronto Motorsports Park and the emotions of excitement with subtle nervous tension were high. When I first sat in the car it was definitely a unique experience as it was really tight and cushioned so that I wouldn’t bounce around on track. After warming up and getting used to the car in the pit lane beside the track, I was ready to go.
I’ll never forget my first lap around the track. I was going about 50-60% just trying to learn the line, adapt to the car and get my head wrapped around the fact I was in a race car right now. However, after a couple of laps, I was locked in and was starting to push the car. It was definitely different than driving a go-kart as the weight of the F1200 was significantly larger and the pedal control needed to be approached differently.
I did have some spins along the way, but I truly believe spinning out is the only way to find the limit you can push the machine. So, I kept my head up and continued to feel better after each lap. Unfortunately, as soon as I was starting to feel confident with my line and with the pace, a red flag was pulled out and I had to exit the track.
After a 20-30 minute waiting period, the fun began, as the rain started to fall. It was now dark, cold and rainy which made for very exciting, yet extremely difficult track conditions to navigate. I pride myself on being a very talented and well-trained rain driver in a go-kart, but the F1200 was a different beast. I was sliding on every corner, and spun out on numerous occasions. I was definitely frustrated, but was continuously trying to learn from my mistakes which I felt I did as the last few laps I managed to get around clean. But, crazy conditions to be put in as a newbie in a race car.
I had an absolute blast racing the F1200 car. A huge thanks to Demaras Racing, K1 Speed and Vallis Motor Sport for allowing me this opportunity to get some experience behind the wheel of a race car. I definitely think that with some practice under my belt, that maybe one day I could compete in the Canadian Formula 1200 Championship!
The event was such a huge success, Demaras Racing hopes to run another ‘karts to cars’ race event at K1 Speed during the 2024 racing season, giving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to another lucky racer.