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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Sara Matsui signed to Williams Racing Driver Academy

13-year-old Japanese karting prodigy Sara Matsui has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy and will contest the F1 Academy-supported Champions of the Future Academy series in 2024.

Sara Matsui
Photo credits: Williams Racing

Japanese karting prodigy Sara Matsui has been signed to the Williams Driver Academy and will therefore continue her motorsport journey with the F1 team's full support and guidance as she continues to develop her skills and climb the ladder.

13-year-old Matsui has competed in top national karting competitions, including the 2021 JAF Kart Championship in the FR-Jr Cadets class as well as the FP-Jr category one year later, finishing both seasons in third place overall. Her achievements resulted in her selection for the 2022 edition of the Girls On Track - Rising Stars programme. At the Le Castellet tests she emerged as one of the fastest drivers in the junior bracket and was selected as one of the four finalists.

She then continued to refine her racecraft throughout 2023, with podiums to her name in the JAF Local Kart Championship FS-125/X30 Division and the GPR Karting Junior class.

Towards the end of the year, Matsui entered the inaugural event of the Champions of the Future Academy Program in the UAE and impressed with great performances in the Junior category, eventually finishing eighth over 24 of the most exciting karting prospects worldwide.

"Sara is one of the rising stars in karting, delivering promising results in her home country of Japan and being a 2022 Girls on Track Rising Stars Finalist. We look forward to supporting their development as they go racing in 2024 and beyond", commented Sven Smeets, Sporting Director at Williams Racing.

Matsui will contest the full 2024 Champions of the Future Academy series - a one-make karting series supported by F1 Academy that acts as a talent scouting program. The Japanese racer will enter the OKJ class with Kart Republic.

"It's an honour to be part of the Williams Racing Driver Academy and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be working with such an historic team", Sara said. "I'm looking forward to building my experience in Europe and I can't wait for the season to start!"

Matsui is currently the third female driver involved with the Williams Racing Driver Academy; three-time W Series champion and current IndyNXT driver Jamie Chadwick joined the program in 2019, before the addition of off-road racer Lia Block in 2024, as the young American will switch to single seaters for her rookie F4 season in F1 Academy.

The first race meeting of the 2024 Champions of the Future Academy season is scheduled for March 27-31 in Cremona, Italy.



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