Dubai: When GulfSport Racing decided to launch the UAE's very own dedicated race series aimed at nurturing talent in the Emirates, a young 20-year-old kart racer named Haytham Sultan Al Ali was the first Emirati to sign up for the new Formula style of racing. The new single-seater series aims to bridge the gap between karting and the larger, more powerful open wheel racing series and Al Ali has his sights set firmly on representing his country in the highly competitive Formula style racing series.
Al Ali has been putting the car through its paces with hours of practice at Abu Dhabi's prestigious Formula One circuit in Yas Marina in preparation for the eight-event, 16-race championship commencing October 2011.
"I'm really very excited that this series has been launched because up till now we had no other option to race in this category, I want to move quickly to international Formula racing and I'm excited to start my racing career here first to get my experience with the top coaches," said Al Ali.
From the private testing at Yas Marina, Al Ali moved to Dubai Autodrome in full public view and in a real live track situation as part of the National Race weekend.
He was joined by his whole family - two sisters, his mother, father and two brothers - who had travelled especially to support him as he took his first steps into mainstream motorsport with the new single-seater race car. He has been karting for many years in the DD2 class and this is his first step into a real Formula style racing car and having achieved his National FIA Race licence only a month ago, this was a very big step for him.
"It's very important for me to encourage my family to visit the race track," Al Ali said. "This is really a big step for them as they never visited a racing circuit like this before but they really are surprised at how professional and safe everything is. They have supported me in sport since I was small and my mother has always helped me with a good nutritious diet for my cycling, so now she can see I am now using my fitness in the racing car which is a very different application, but still physically demanding also."
Al Ali, who works for the Abu Dhabi Police and is a great supporter of road safety, believes speed is for the race track and not for the roads.
"I am really excited about the UAE's prospects in International Grand Prix racing and I hope that I can get the financial support from UAE companies to carry our nation's flag abroad and show the world how exciting the UAE is. I also hope to visit schools and universities to talk to everyone about the thrill of motorsports and safe driving on the road. We must keep the speed for the track and I hope to encourage everyone who thinks they are fast drivers to come to the race track and experience what a real thrill speed driving is," he said.