Conor competes with the world’s best in Le Mans

Banbridge's Conor McPolin prepares for the race at Le Mans.
Banbridge's Conor McPolin prepares for the race at Le Mans.

Banbridge karter Conor McPolin showed his class on the world stage earlier this month.

The 17 year-old took to the track at the 2015 Italian American Motor Engineering International Karting World Finals from 16th to 18th of October at Le Mans France.

And he showed he wasn’t out of place amongst the 123 drivers in the X30 senior category, a division of racing for drivers older than 15 years of age.

He qualified 91st with a time that was just 1.027 seconds behind the fastest qualifier. Never having driven a kart with front wheel brakes immediately put Conor at a disadvantage. Conor admitted that given more track time he would have improved on his qualifying position.

As qualifying decided starting positions in the heats, Conor was faced with an uphill challenge. His best finish was a 16th place in his second heat. Conor also had two 20th place finishes, a 19th, a 17th and a 24th.

These scores were only good enough for entry into the B final and only the winner of this final would be permitted to contest the feature final.

Conor tried hard in the B final rising from 33rd position at the start to be in 21st place at the end of lap one. By lap seven he was in 15th but then he started to descend down the leaderboard and at the end of lap 10 he was in 20th place.

The local lad did however make a pass on the final lap of the 11 lap race and was classified as 19th.

Conor used a Wright kart and an IAME X30 engine prepared by Simon Wright. Conor’s crew chief was his father Frank and he was technically supported by Simon Wright, principal of SWRD from Ely in Cambridge England.