Luis Leeds 2016

Luis Leeds

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Driver bio

First Race Karts: 26th of December, 2011

First Race Cars: 21st of June, 2014

Hobbies: Racing, Hanging out with friends, Listening to music, Playing Australian rules football, Wakeboarding, Jetskiing, Bike Riding

Favourite circuit cars: Phillip Island, Australia

Favourite meal: Spaghetti Bolognese

Favourite drink: Red Bull or Chocolate Milk

Favourite music: R&B/Rap

Favourite subject while at school and/or university: Business, Science, Physical Education

Favourite thing to do when not racing: Spend time with friends

Motorsport heros: Ayrton Senna, James Hunt, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton

Racers are competitive of course and some will pick up almost any challenge until something makes them focus on motorsport. "I've always had an interest in all sports and the idea of winning," explains Luis. "Dad works at F1 events and I grew up knowing he was away at these motor racing events, that generated an interest in racing. When I was 11 I was introduced to go kart racing at a friends birthday party, I loved the thrill and the excitement and have been interested ever since."

"My entire family have played a role in my career so far. My dad's constant effort and dedication to produce and find funds for racing has inspired me to make the most of it, especially when he bought my first go kart, if it wasn't for this moment we would have never started racing."

"Day in and out my Mum, younger sister and little brother motivate me to be the best I can be both on and off the track."

The 2015 Mexican Grand Prix was a big event for Australian Leeds who grabbed the attention of the F1 world by convincingly winning the opening race of the new Mexican F4 Series. "To travel overseas and race in Mexico was an amazing experience and to have the success was unbelievable," enthused the 15-year-old who has just completed his first F4 season in Australia.

"To think that I am now part of the Red Bull Junior Team is just incredible and I can't wait for the MSA Formula season to start in Britain. I know that the level of competition will be much higher but at least the cars will be the same so I can take what I have learnt here and make use of it. My aim is to be the first Australian to win the British MSA Formula Championship."

For Leeds it is all still a bit unreal. "It was always a dream watching the likes of Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo, hearing the National Anthem played around midnight after staying up and watching a Grand Prix and then to carry the flag to Mexico and hear our anthem on the podium that was starting to make it come true."

"I loved racing karts and I knew it was all part of the road to racing cars but when I got into a formula car I felt so much more at home, it all meant so much more to me, the ability to set up the car for the track and myself."

"A big part of that was Dream Motorsport, they made 2015 so much easier for me, they have made me the driver I am today. A huge influence is Wayne Mackie, my race engineer, he has been much more than that, more like a second father or big brother as well as looking after the technology side."

Wayne Mackie, advice with a smile

2015 produced some great memories but pushed to pull out a single favourite race Luis is clear. "Round 5 of the Australian F4 Championship, race 3 on the Gold Coast, Australia. The Gold Coast street circuit is extremely tight and daunting. It was the last race of the weekend and I was behind Championship leader and winner Jordan Lloyd the entire race."

"Lap after lap I was looking for a way to get past him on the tight track. On the very last corner on the last lap I managed to pass Jordan around the outside to finish 2nd. Although I didn't win the race it was the best I ever felt because I made the move stick after such hard work throughout the whole race."

Other thrills to remember: "Lukey Heights at Phillip Island in a Formula Ford, this is a thrill. This high speed corner with little grip is a rush, finishing each lap here is satisfying knowing that your always on the very edge."

That keenness for competition continues to drive Luis but motorsport is more than that. "I've always loved the thrill and excitement of winning at any sport and anything I do. Racing allows me to build relationships with my team and winning is the reward for the team and myself for all the hard work we do as a team."

"I believe that giving it your all and doing the best you can every single day. The challenge of racing makes me love it even more, because it is so much harder than any other sport and requires so much dedication and hard work to reach the top."

He made a huge impact on the F1 world with victory in the inaugural round of the Mexican F4 championship with victory at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, a support race for the Mexican Grand Prix.

"To stand on a Grand Prix podium and hear your national anthem, it doesn't get much bigger than that," enthused Leeds. "It was an incredible weekend, a great local team but only one of them spoke English. They had run an F3 car before so they used that experience to set up the car and it worked."

Leeds is very conscious that he is leaving behind more than just his race team. "It's a big ask to go overseas for a season at 15, I know I am going to miss family, friends and school but I know its a sacrifice that I am making to go after my dreams. I'll be going to school there of course and living in the Silverstone, Milton Keynes area where all the motorsport is."

He is following the trail of Webber and Ricciardo, both also Red Bull drivers and the outstanding Australian F1 stars of the modern era. He is well aware that he has large footsteps to fill. "It's huge but it doesn't concern me, rather something I can aim for. They are fantastic drivers and they've won a lot of races but they haven't won an F1 World Championship yet so they've left me something," he adds cheekily with his huge smile.

His ambitions are certainly big. "Ultimately, I want to be the youngest Formula 1 world champion and win the most Formula 1 world championships to date."

He is taking a big step forward. "I want to say thank you to Dr.Marko for giving me an opportunity to reach my goals. I'm conscious that it's an opportunity that most people dream about, even I was dreaming about it one month ago. Knowing this is my motivation to work hard and repay the faith shown in me. Also to all my family and friends for their well wishes for 2016."