Recent Williams Driver Academy signing Sara Matsui achieved a podium in the first round of the WSK Super Master Series at South Garda Karting.

By Nida Anis

Driving for Italian team KR Motorsport, the Japanese karting sensation made up one position in the Final to finish second in the 27-strong OK-N Junior class.

A 2022 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars finalist, 13-year-old Matsui joined the Williams Driver Academy earlier this month.

Sven Smeets, Williams F1 Team Sporting Director, described her as “one of the rising stars of karting”, having delivered “promising results in her home country of Japan”.

From national karting to the international stage

Matsui has competed in several domestic karting series within Japan. She finished third overall in the 2021 JAF Kart Championship FR-Jr Cadets, and in the 2022 JAF Kart Championship FP-Jr.

In 2023, she attended the Honda Racing School whilst competing in the JAF Local Kart Championship FS-125/X30 Division and the GPR Karting Junior Class, achieving two podium finishes.

In the 2023 OK-N Junior Champions of the Future Academy Program, Matsui finished eighth overall in a field of 24 international karters.

Now backed by Williams, Sara will compete in the OK-J class with Kart Republic and compete in the 2024 Champions of the Future Academy series, supported by F1 Academy.

On her arrival at Williams, Matsui said, “It’s an honour to be part of the Williams Driver Academy and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be working with such a historic team.

“I’m looking forward to building my experience in Europe, and I can’t wait for the season to start!”

Header photo credit: Sara Matsui

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