Local race car driver heads to Palm Beach

Teenage race car driver Parker Thompson is shifting gears in his career.

The Red Deer native has made the jump from driving 125cc karts in Europe that topped out at 140 km/h to a car which can reach speeds of 240 km/h.

“This is definitely the next natural step for my career,” said the 16-year-old driver.

“Most drivers spend a couple of years driving lower category Formula Cars before moving to the U.S. F2000 championship.”

He credits having former Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice as his coach for the quick career acceleration and expects this will be an interesting challenge, battling older drivers in this championship series in 2015.

The rookie has joined the JDC MotorSports team operated by former formula race car driver John Church.

“It feels amazing to have a group of very respected people in motorsport believe in what I have to offer on and off the track,” he said.

In the world of motorsport the driver doesn’t have much say in what team they go with said Thompson but he really liked what JDC was putting on the table and said even if he could have made a choice he would have gone down this road.

“I like the drive we all have. JDC and I want this (U.S. F2000) championship more than anything and that is what will give us that little bit extra,” he said.

Being new to the racing category and as the rookie on the team Thompson said his approach to the sport will not change.

He plans to maintain a healthy diet, working out six days a week in the gym in order to be in top physical and mental condition when the first event of 2015 gets underway in Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 25th.

“Winter testing has gone really well thus far,” he said.

“The team chemistry is fantastic and the car is feeling better and better the more we develop it.”

He said his expectations on the track are in line with those of the JDC team which is to win the championship but further down the road there is something which is already on the radar.

“I think I could be professional very early in my career,” he said. “I can honestly say I am not picky when it comes to where I end up. If I can make a living driving fast cars at the end of the day I’m happy.”