TO say that Jamaica's karting sensation Alex Powell is moving in the fast zone would be an understatement.
After blazing the trail in the junior OK division Powell transitioned to the more competitive senior OK category, where he again placed his immense potential on display for the past year.
And the American-born driver, who boasts ambitions of competing on the Formula One (F1) stage, continued to chart a course towards that dream as he again switched lanes to the KZ2 Class where he will now navigate the stick shift/gear karts.
"It's definitely a positive because by doing both classes it'll teach me how to handle different race situations — so I can essentially get double the experience in one year," the Mercedes-AMG F1 protege told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Italy.
"That's one way of looking at it but then again, we still have a long way to go because we have to go through all the formulas (four, three and two) before we reach the ultimate goal. But, I would say it's definitely a good look for where my career is headed," he added.
Powell is aware that success will not come without overcoming obstacles, which he has been doing as evident in the grit and determination he exudes on a consistent basis.
Simply put, Powell is not one to shy away from challenges such as the one to come should he have to contest both the OK and KZ2 races almost consecutively on any given weekend next year. Instead, he's more focused on staying in the fast lane.
"That [driving in two classes on one race weekend is going to be a very difficult task but I'm up for it. It's definitely going to be a hectic year but it will be beneficial because it will help me to adapt quicker to the different engines and driving styles and also making sure that I'm always on top of my game," Powell shared.
"So being in an OK race and then a few days later I could be in a KZ2 race forces me to maximise each training session rather than wasting half of a day trying to get used to the kart or engine, so it's definitely going to force me to adapt quickly.
"It's definitely going to be a hectic but exciting year, not a lot of days off but again I'm looking forward to it," he noted.
Powell's passion for driving and desire to improve have been significantly intensified as he continually demonstrates a great deal of focus and seriousness about his craft. The 15-year-old won two races in the ultra-competitive, four-race, FIA Karting European Championships while placing third in another, and later drove his heart out to place fourth in the FIA Karting World Championships.
Add to that the fact that he placed third in his first KZ2 outing at the Ayrtonsenna Trophy race in Sarno recently as further demonstration of the young karting flag bearer's class and quality.
"It was definitely a new experience. I did quite a few days of testing prior to the first event, just getting used to the different kart because it's quite different from the one used in the OK class. Now I'm driving with three breaks — one in the rare and two at the front — so that was something that I had to get used to, and of course the gears plus the start.
"I have always done rolling starts most of my racing career [but] I have never done a standing start, which is what the KZ class requires, so I had to practise quite a bit to ensure that I can be competitive somewhat on the start. But it's one thing practising your starts and another doing it in the race so I definitely learnt alot," Powell explained.
He continued: "It [the event] is not as big as a European Championships but, as I said, it was a good platform to learn and a good way to end the year, so now we know where to improve — which is the most important part.
"So, still alot of work to be done because now I have two classes that I need to make sure I'm 100 per cent focused in everything. That has definitely been a challenge but so far I am coping quite well with it."