Erebus Academy driver James Wharton has graduated to KZ2 in the FIA European Championship after concluding his OK Senior campaign two weeks ago. 

The campaign is all part of a training program Wharton won through the Ferrari Driver Academy’s (FDA) Scouting World Finals last October.

The past year has brought about many changes for the 15-year-old who is currently living in Maranello, Italy – a town recognised globally as the home of Ferrari and the Formula One racing team, Scuderia Ferrari. 

“Life has changed massively for me since moving overseas,” Wharton said.

“I was 14 and a half when I first moved here by myself so I’m still very young.

“I really had to make a step within myself and start becoming more independent, it’s definitely made me mature a lot in the past seven months.”

Fortunately, Wharton is lucky enough to have the backing of the FDA who provide support for the young driver both on and off track. 

“It’s really good working with the FDA and to have the other drivers around me is great,” he said.

“Everyone really just wants the best out of you, no matter what you’re doing.

“Whether it’s fitness training or mental training, as long as you’ve put in maximum effort, they’re happy with whatever results you end up with.”

Having recently finished 23rd in the overall OK standings, Wharton is switching his focus back to the KZ2 category after completing round one for the category in June.

Wharton qualified 26th in the opening round before charging through the pack to make up 18 positions. 

“In the final of KZ2, I went from last to P8 so I know I’m fast and when I have a package that is close, I can put it up the front,” he said. 

With the KZ2 category concluding in September, Wharton is looking towards his Formula 4 debut, with his testing set to commence at the end of next month. 

“The goal is 100% to still race Formula 4 next year,” he said.

“It’s a massive jump from karting to F4, there’s nothing really the same between the two categories.

“What you get out of karting is understanding race craft and what racing is about, Formula 4 is a completely different thing altogether.”

Wharton will hit the track in Adria for round two of the KZ2 category this weekend, August 12-15.