Uppingham schoolboy racer with autism outlines Formula 1 ambitions after British Indoor Karting Championships title win
An ambitious young racing driver with autism is aiming to take his winning form onto the national stage and then all the way to Formula 1.
Stanley Donaldson, 11, made his race debut aged 10, winning the local rounds of the British Indoor Karting Championships (BIKC) at the TeamSport track in Leicester.
The Uppingham racer looks set to follow that with the Stretton Circuit Sprint Series title and is now setting his sights on bigger prizes.
Stanley was diagnosed with autism syndrome deficit aged eight, but mum Paula believes it is helping her son’s life, particularly on the track.
“He is really focused on karting and part of that is down to his autism," she said.
“Deficit is a negative word, but it is an added thing that he has. It has really enhanced his life because he has focus.
"It is a clear path as far as he is concerned. He is going to be a racing driver and knows how he is going to get there, so we're giving him as many opportunities as we can."
Stanley was introduced to karting at a friend's birthday party and was immediately hooked.
“I really enjoy the speed and thrill of going quickly," he said.
"If you get a good lap it's really satisfying.
“At the end of this year or the start of next year I want to start racing nationally for the cadet championships.
“What I eventually want to do is to become a Formula 1 driver and win a Formula 1 race."
While seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is the star of British motor racing, Stanley's hero is Niki Lauda, the late Austrian F1 driver who won the world crown after recovering from a horrific crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
“I find him really inspirational because he had that massive crash and got really bad burns, but then won the world championship," he said.
"I find it amazing how he did that.
“Sometimes it can be scary if there is a crash, but most of the time you focus on driving and don’t feel any emotions."
The Leighfield Primary School pupil's potential has earned him a place in the Orange Apex Racing team which nurtures young talent.
He has also attracted his first sponsors, Rutland Merchandise, run by karting brothers, Sam and Ben Dawson.
Nerves prevent Paula from supporting at the race track, but recognising the benefits of the sport on her son's life is keen to encourage it.
“He had always had an interest in cars, but it was like he had found something special," she added.
“He struggled to socialise before, but he has made friends through karting and it has really helped his confidence.
“Stanley does not have a disability, just a different ability, and in his case this is his focus, determination, understanding and skill in taking and executing instructions on the track.
“We know it is a millionaire’s club, but we will help take him as far as we can."
To sponsor Stanley, email firstname.lastname@example.org