Aged 16, Luke is not old enough to drive on public roads yet, but he was invited by BMW to participate in a test for the BMW Talent Cup at Brands Hatch alongside nine other drivers from eight different countries. The Wickersley-based speed demon was singled out for the outstanding progress he has made in just two years of karting, crowned by finishing an excellent sixth in the Junior Max class of the national, Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone-backed Formula Kart Stars Championship in 2011.
The Formula BMW is a 140bhp single-seater capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in an eye-watering four seconds – and was raced by reigning double F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel to a record-breaking 18 victories out of 20 back in 2004.
The test took place on a day of persistent rain, throwing an extra challenge into the equation – but Luke coped with it all magnificently.
Luke attends Wickersley School and Sports College and was recently appointed a member of the prestigious MSA Academy.
“Going into the test, I was excited and also a bit nervous. The track was extremely slippery and I did have a few ‘moments’, but I really enjoyed driving the car. It felt totally different to a kart and was definitely a big leap – bigger than I had thought it would be, if I’m honest, and certainly an eye-opener.
“The extra weight and aerodynamic downforce took some time to get my head around, as did the fact that the faster you go into a corner, the more grip you have – it just seems against all your natural instincts initially. It’s a strange feeling, speeding up when your brain is telling you that you should be slowing down! Ultimately, it’s a question of being brave enough and having the confidence in the car to keep your foot planted.
“And then there were the sequential gears, the sharpness of the brakes, the power and blipping the throttle through the corners – there was a lot to get used to, but by the end, I was starting to get the hang of it all.
“I had to steel myself not to be scared of making mistakes, and just to try to be more consistent each time I took to the track. I definitely got better as the day progressed, and as my confidence increased, I was able to push harder and go faster and I made fewer errors. I just loved the entire experience, and I feel it helped to improve me as a driver and has certainly motivated me to keep on working as hard as I can to attain my goals.”