2018 Driver of the Year - Samuel Barrera Garcia
If you haven't heard of him yet, you are bound to soon. Known around the pits as Sammy, this kid has propelled himself to the top of the charts in only a few short years. What makes this young man shine, is how he did it. He's tough, determined and focused. Not to mention he was voted Sportsman of the Year for 2018 at his local track SIMA.
Being an avid Formula 1 fan, Sammy knew most F1 drivers start their career in karting. Around the age of 11, Sammy started racing rental karts at a local track in Seattle. Each weekend he and his father would practice until they believed that Sammy was ready to commit to purchasing his own equipment. The Barrera's made their way to SIMA and by 2015, he was racing in the SIMA Series with Italian Motors.
For the past three years, Sammy's commitment, dedication and passion have become more and more apparent. The amount of time he spent in the seat of his kart in 2018 is staggering; 1,500 miles in winter testing and 4,386 miles or 4,980 laps of racing throughout the season. Due to his late entry in the sport, Sammy feels he had to work twice as hard as his competitors. "When practicing, I usually keep driving unless something goes wrong with the kart or if I physically cannot withstand driving another 30 laps, "says the racer when asked about his training. Sammy is quick to add that he's not the only one that has to put the hard work in to catch up to his competitors, "my father has had to learn about how to mechanic a kart".
With a lot of the emphasis in karting on being fast, Sammy comments that being selected for Italian Motors Driver of the Year was an honour as it stands for someone who is committed to training in all weather conditions and for being a exceptional and model team member.
In the end, Sammy believes that "being determined, committed, and naturally talented is something that you have to work hard to become, but it does become easier if racing is your passion. Being determined and committed only works out well if you love what you are doing, or else you won't work as hard".
Keep a watch out for this up and coming IM driver in 2019!