Published: 06:00, 27 September 2021
He’s not quite old enough to drive on the roads yet but teenager Loui Hounsell already knows how to get moving round the track.
The 16-year-old, from Maidstone, is flying high in the Junior Saloon Car Championship and looks well-placed to win the rookie title.
He’s 47 points clear at the top of the standings in his Citroen Saxo with just three rounds to go, having led the way since the opening race.
Hounsell, a student at Mid Kent College, raced go-karts before progressing to cars and wants to carve out a career in motorsport.
“It’s going well,” said the former Valley Park schoolboy.
“I’ve always been interested in cars and racing. That came from my parents who are both petrolheads.
“I’ve grown up watching Top Gear and I’ve always been a big fan of Formula 1 and motorsport in general.
“I started doing karting and sim racing and then we found out about the Junior Saloon Car Championship, which was perfect for us.
“It’s a big step up from karting, where you only really get up to 50/60mph.
“I remember my test to get my race licence at Mallory Park in a 200bhp Renault Clio Sport and I got up to 115mph.
“It felt surreal but you just have to trust the car and be confident.
“That’s one thing I learned quickly - if you don’t believe in yourself, it won’t happen.
“I’m a confident driver - that’s been said to me a lot. I had an idea in my head how to drive and the instructor, Howard Hunt, has been a big help.
“He’s almost changed my driving style to make the car faster and flatter and more balanced.
“He explains things in such a way that makes so much sense.”
Hounsell, who turns 17 in November, is exploring the possibility of racing in the Civic Cup next year.
That would be ideal for the next stage of his development as he works towards his dream career.
“We went to Donington to have a look and it was good fun,” said Hounsell.
“It would be a step up from what I’m doing now - the Honda Civic Type Rs have more than twice the horsepower of the Saxo.
“Long-term, I really like the idea of staying in tin-top cars, so either GT or British Touring Cars.
“But, with that, I’d also like to become an instructor and teach people."