eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: January 2021 – Matias Orjuela
Parolin USA driver scores three victories at SKUSA Winter Series and Florida Winter Tour events
Matias Orjuela started out the year with two victories at the SKUSA Winter Series in Mini Swift (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
The opening month of the 2021 season is in the books, with four weekends of racing completed to begin the new year. The warmer states in the USA are welcoming large numbers of karters to the track, including the popular winter championship programs. The start to the new season also brings about the early favorites for each category, with drivers moving to new classes or graduating up a level. Several drivers in the Mini ranks have graduated, thus opening the door for new names to stand out. One name that shined throughout January at two events was Matias Orjuela.
The Parolin USA driver began the month at the Superkarts! USA Winter Series opener at the AMR Motorplex in Homestead, Florida. The weekend was a near perfect performance by Orjuela in the 25-kart Mini Swift division. The only blemish on his record for the two rounds of racing was qualifying on Saturday, missing out on the pole position by 13 thousandths of a second behind Jensen Burnett. Orjula was shuffled back to fourth at the start of the Prefinal, but made quick work to put himself into the lead by lap four. Fast laps of the race provided him a 4.9-second advantage after 11 laps for the win. The 20-lap main event was all Orjuela, leading every circuit to establish a 4.5-second margin of victory.
Qualifying went on the side of Orjuela for Round Two on Sunday. The gap was only 30 thousandths with Matias holding the advantage over Enzo Vidmontiene. After leading the opening lap of the Prefinal, Orjuela was shuffled back to third. It took him five circuits to return to the lead, showing the way for the remainder of the 11-lap run. Another challenging start to the Final saw Orjuela cross the line in third, losing two more spots the following circuit. Once things settled down, Matias charged forward once again to return to the point by lap nine. From there, Orjuela drove away with fast laps of the race to a 4.8-second victory.
The following weekend, Orjuela took part in the opening round for the ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour, held at the Isle Casino in Pompano, Florida. Qualifying on Friday to begin the event had Matias clear the 25-driver Mini ROK field by two tenths with a 57.213-lap around the temporary circuit. Later in the day he led all nine laps for a win in Heat #1. Saturday brought on two heat races and a Prefinal. Orjuela led wire-to-wire in each of the heat races, all won by just under two seconds to give him the pole of the Prefinal. That race was another wire-to-wire performance, establishing a 4.9-second advantage. Matias never put a wheel wrong during the main event on Sunday, setting fast time and leading all 16 laps for the victory.
The 2021 season is shaping up to be a busy one for Matias Orjuela. This weekend is the SKUSA Winter Series finale, where Matias leads the championship chase by 90 points with two rounds left in the best-of-three championship format. Following the weekend in Homestead, Orjuela will travel to Europe to compete in the WSK Champions Cup in Adria, Italy. He will then contest the full WSK Super Master Series in Italy while coming back to the USA in March for the FWT finale in Ocala. Add in the Italian championships and WSK Euro Series, Matias has a busy season ahead in Europe. Between his European races, he will return to the USA to compete in SKUSA Pro Tour and USPKS events when possible. To close out the year, Orjuela is set to be at ROK the RIO.
January 2021 EKN Driver of the Month – Matias Orjuela
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Parents: Vivianna Garcia / Santiago Orjuela
Height/Weight: 4’9” / 75lbs
Education: 5th Grade
Engine/Engine Builder: USA => IAME & Vortex Woltjer / Italy => TM MA Engines
Sponsors: Minus 273, Bell Racing Helmets
Series You Compete In: SKUSA, ROK Cup USA, WSK, ACI Italian Championship
Years Karting: 5.5
How did you get started in karting? My dad raced cars and one day he brought me to the track and I liked it. When I turned 5, my parents got me my first kart.
What has been the high point in your racing career? My first pole position in Sarno, Italy (Italiano ACI Karting – 2019).
What are your goals in racing? To make it to the top level, F1
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? I think my driving style is mostly calm and always focusing in having slow hands
Funniest moment at the race track? Looking back at the video of my first time in a go kart as the engine noise made me cry
Favorite Track: In USA, NOLA. In Europe, Adria
Favorite form of professional motorsports: F1
Favorite karting driver: Lorenzo Travisanutto
Favorite professional driver: Senna
Favorite website: Youtube
Favorite movie: Ford vs Ferrari
Favorite actor/actress: N/A
Favorite music/group: Coldplay
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Colorado Skiing
Favorite food: Pasta
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Lots of Sim Racing, school, enjoy my time with friends
What are your goals outside of karting? Race Classic LeMans with my dad.
What app or game do you play right now? iRacing, Kart Racing Pro
What type of street car would you like to drive? Porsche GT3 RS
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Not being able to put in my contact lenses
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Make it less expensive to attract more drivers
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? The competition, the adrenaline rush.
January 2021 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
* John Antonino: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Mini ROK)
* Paul Bocuse: Florida Winter Tour – 2 Wins (Junior 100cc, Junior ROK)
* Brent Crews: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Pro Shifter)
* Keelan Harvick: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Micro Swift)
* Renato Jader David: FWT / SKUSA Winter Series – 3 Wins (Master ROK / 2x X30 Master)
* Liam Letzsch: Challenge of the Americas – 3 Wins (2x Senior ROK / Senior 100cc)
* Tim Meyer: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Masters 100cc)
* Frankie Mossman: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Junior ROK)
* Remo Ruscitti: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Shifter ROK)
* Derek Wang: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Masters ROK)
* Connor Zilisch: Florida Winter Tour – 2 Wins (Senior 100cc, Senior ROK)