Driver Diary: Preston Lambert – WSK Super Master Series – South Garda Karting
Preston Lambert competed in his first OK event at the WSK Super Master Series opener held at the South Garda Karting facility
Our EKN Driver Diary series is designed to provide our readers with a first-hand experience of competing in the sport of karting. Several of the Driver Diary series have featured a USA karter traveling across the big pond to compete in Europe. This next series follows that approach by riding along with Californian Preston Lambert as he travels overseas in 2023.
The 15-year-old from Folsom, California began karting in January 2020, competing at the local and regional level, and eventually into the national level under the GFG Karting banner. He scored his first major victory at the 2022 Challenge of the Americas opening weekend in Tucson, eventually finishing third in the championship chase. The remainder of the season included races in California, at the SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals and the ROK Fest West, where he scored top-five finishes across the board. Preston’s first trip to Europe to race was the Rotax Max Central European Championship in Austria last fall, at which he finished fourth.
His first submission (Click HERE) provided a glimpse into his test weekend, moving to the OK category for the first time. The second entry is his first start in the class, racing at the WSK Super Master Series at the South Garda Karting facility in Lonato, Italy over the February 2-5 weekend.
WSK Super Masters Series Round 1
I arrived back in Italy after spending six days in Budapest, Hungary, where I did a training camp with fit4race and got to spend time with my grandparents.
I was racing the WSK Super Master Series first round in Lonato at the South Garda Karting track. Official practices are on Wednesday and Thursday, then qualifying on Friday, and heats starting on Friday afternoon. This was my first race in the OK category, coming from Junior 100cc, definitely a big jump!
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
We started the free practices on Wednesday at the famous South Garda track, which is the toughest on the international calendar, and everyone practices there regularly. Sadly, I did not get a chance to test here, so I had to figure it out as I went. I only had four 10-minute sessions on Wednesday, then another four sessions on Thursday to learn the track. I also had to break in my engines in the first session each day. Learning the track and getting good track position was difficult because there were a lot of karts on track. It was a very cold day, the warmest it got was 40 degrees. After my first session, I was amazed at how fun the track was to drive! The first half of the track is super fast and flowy, then it goes into a super technical second half, which makes the track super interesting! Overall, it was a positive day of learning and getting comfortable. After finishing for the day, we got some really good pizza, and I went to bed early to get a good night’s rest!
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Today’s goals were to keep learning and getting more and more comfortable, getting used to driving with more grip, and adjusting to the LeCont tires. The weather was very cold again, about the same as the day before. Only problem we had during the day was in the third session, when my exhaust snapped in half on the second lap so I was not able to complete the session, which was unfortunate because I needed as much track time as possible, since we only get very few official practices. Overall, as a team we were struggling a bit with pace, the conditions didn’t exactly fit the kart, but the entire Sodi team was working hard to improve things for us.
In the evening, we went out to eat in Desenzano del Garda. I had lasagna, and it was so good! Again, I went to bed early to make sure I was well rested for the next day, as the track is very physically demanding.
Friday, February 3, 2023
Today, we had a warm-up session, qualifying and one heat. The goal for the day was to have a solid qualifying and heat race, and improve our pace from the day before. The weather was cold again reaching a high of 41 degrees. My biggest problem I was struggling with was getting the most out of the new tires. The team was still struggling with the setup of the kart. In qualifying, I wasn’t able to get a clean lap because of lap traffic on my fast lap, so I ended up 24th in my group, but I was getting more used to the new tires, so that was a plus! The team worked hard and tried to get the kart better for us for the first heat race. I was able to keep it clean and move up six positions and finish 19th! The racing here is super different, the first five laps everyone is just blocking and super aggressive, so it’s all just a dog fight! Definitely different from what I was used to. Overall, the day was not bad, I kept on improving, and made some good progress in the heat.
For dinner, I went back to having some more good pizza but I also had some salad!
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Today’s schedule consisted of a warm-up session and two heat races. Again, the goal was to keep improving! The weather was the same as yesterday. These two heat races were much more difficult for me as the grip came up and I was struggling to drive with it. I had to learn as we went, having to completely change how I was taught to drive in the US. This did not stop me, I kept pushing and I got better and better! While the results may not have shown it, we made solid progress and I was feeling good about the next day’s pre final event.
I had some good pasta for dinner, and I finished the day with some visualization.
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Today’s schedule was warm up, a prefinal and the main event, if I was able to transfer my way into the Final. The weather was about the same as the other days. Luckily by the prefinal, I was able to find some speed, the race was looking good and I had a solid start. My pace was a lot better, and I was moving forward but unfortunately, the reeds broke in the engine on lap 9, which forced me to retire. The DNF did not help my chances of moving on into the Final, and I would have to watch from the sidelines.
It was a weekend full of learning! I learned so much! Thank you to the whole Sodikart team and my mechanic for all the hard work! Their support was stellar!
My next race is Round 2 of the championship at Franciacorta, where I’ve had a few test days already and I had very good speed!
Thank you to my sponsor Content HQs for making these two races possible for me! Check them out!