Potential Formula 1 star of the future is using Leamington as base from which to pursue his dream
Promising young racing driver Horatio Fitz-Simon says he will use his father's home town Leamington as a base from which he chases his dream to become a Formula 1 star.
The 19-year-old, whose father Ian was born in Leamington and whose grandfather worked at AP Lockheed in the town for over 28 years, spent the summer and autumn living at a family friend's house in Hyde Place in the town and managed to get a job working as a cashier at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.
It was at the breakfast table at his family's home in Pleasanton in the USA this summer that the Towcester-born 2013 Northern California Go-Karting Champion announced his plans to come back to his birth country England - “the home of motor sport” - to pursue a career in motor racing.
He said: "My goal from a very young age has always been to get into motor sport and I knew I had to make to right contacts in the racing world.
"The most important thing for me is that I have so much passion and dedication for the sport.
"Coming out to England in July and being among the F1 crowd really inspired me to keep going - it was such a fabulous environment."
With the help of former F1 driver Howden Ganley whom he had met at Silverstone, Horatio was offered a test on a simulator and was so quick that he was invited to test a Formula 4 car at the Donington circuit.
He surpassed expectations of the team he was testing for by beating the lap time of their current driver by 8/10ths of a second and with this experience under his belt he was able to earn himself a place behind the wheel of a 1971 Merlyn Mk20 FF car for Classic Team Merlyn at the recent Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone - the yearly pinnacle of the classic racing season in the UK.
Horatio said: "It was like nothing I had ever driven before but I felt fast straight out of the box and I was faster than anybody expected me to be.
"I went from the first time driving one of these cars to being at the front of the grid by the final race."
Horatio finished third overall behind 2001 winner Neil Fowler in second place and the winner Richard Tarling who, like many of the other drivers in the field was vastly more experienced and established than he was.
Horatio spent his days in Leamington pretty much the same, with early mornings consisting of a run from Hyde Place to Sydenham and back.
The rest of his days were spent calling on the phone, writing to teams and potential sponsors, and then in the afternoon an hour or two at the gym or cycling on his mountain bike.
He has gone back to the USA for next few months but will return to Leamington in January to continue to try to make his dream come true.
Horatio said: "I was born in England and have visited Leamington to see family over the years.
"The town really is my home away from home."
Like any hopeful young driver, Horatio has an uphill struggle as pursuing a career in motor sport is not cheap and he is currently looking for sponsors to help him along the way.