Al AIN // Officials at Al Ain Raceway are planning to set up an academy as part of a push to get more Emiratis taking part in karting from an earlier age.
Only two Emiratis, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifia and Mohammed Al Dhaheri, were part of the UAE's team of 11 that competed at the Rotax Max Challenge World Finals in Al Ain last week, with the rest made up of expatriate drivers and two teenagers from Oman.
Both Sheikh Khalid and Al Dhaheri got involved in karting relatively late -in their early 20s - and Antonio Kekati, the managing director of Al Ain Raceway, said he believes it is important, if the UAE is to one day have a driver racing in Formula One, for the next generation of drivers to be learning their skills when they are children.
"Mohammed and Khalid have both done well, but what we want to do is get them [Emirati children] here when they are young, getting them racing and competing, train them up, give them experience and get them the skills they will need to learn for racing.
"We are looking at an academy as a way of really trying to develop Arab young drivers. We will also be looking at working with schools to try and get people involved at a younger age."
Al Dhaheri, only began racing karts seriously in 2008, and the 25 year old hopes his results, which have seen him twice win the UAE DD2 championship will inspire the next generation to get behind the wheel.
"I am young, but there are younger people [who can race] and there is a lot of talent out there in the UAE," he said.
"Karting is safe for children so parents can relax to send them to participate and I think that would increase numbers."