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Racer Profile: Limited Vision Doesn’t Stop Teen from Seeing the Racing Line

Christian with his brother, father, and mother on the podium at K1 Speed Irvine
Christian (center) stands with brother Jaden (left) and their parents at K1 Speed Irvine.

A couple of teens are flying around Track 1 in Irvine. The leading driver is pulling off some quick times, but the kid behind him keeps inching closer with every lap. Suddenly on lap 7, a pass is executed successfully, and the drivers swap positions.

 

On the surface, this doesn’t sound like anything out of the norm at K1 Speed. But things change when you discover that the passing driver is effectively driving with just one eye.

 

Christian was born with a rare congenital glaucoma that has left him with limited vision. He’s had to undergo close to 50 eye surgeries, and currently uses an artificial cornea to help him see. His right eye works, but his left eye does not. Despite this handicap, nothing slows Christian down.

 

If you visit K1 Speed Carlsbad on a Tuesday, you’re likely to see Christian there. He’s a natural talent, with valuable seat time proving once again to be one of the best racing lessons a racer can get. He logs about three races in every visit, getting smoother and more confident behind the wheel with every lap.

 

Christian’s also become a regular in the Teen GP championship at Carlsbad. While a win has been elusive so far, it doesn’t stop Christian from going for it every time. Of course, when Christian’s with his friends, it’s no competition – he always beats them.

 

Since he already knows his home track, he can jump into the kart and get up to speed quickly on his own. But Christian’s now at Irvine, and he’s never driven either of these tracks before.

Picture of Christian racing on track 1 in Irvine
Christian shortly after passing his brother - flying around the track.

When Christian needs to learn a new track, he and his brother Jaden start by doing a “lead-follow” session, not dissimilar from a racing school. How long does it take before Christian’s comfortable with the track and up to speed with his brother?

 

“One,” Christian quickly answers before the question’s finished. “One lap. I try to lap him.”

 

His lap times were quick, too – he was pulling extremely low 25-second lap times on Track 1 right off the bat. If he had been in the race before, with adults and other teens, he would’ve easily had the fastest lap of the group within his first couple of laps.

 

Out of the many races Christian has done with his brother, this was the first time Jaden beat him – but the gap was just one-tenth of a second. Which is a good thing for Jaden, since Christian keeps his racing secrets to himself. No sharing of information in this team – just like the best racing rivalries.

Also like any proper racing driver, Christian knows faster is better, which is why he likes Track 1 more than Track 2 at Irvine. “It’s bigger and I go a little faster,” he says. After all, “going fast and making sharp turns” is what Christian loves the most about karting at K1 Speed.

 

His Dad adds, “He likes this place better than Disneyland!”

 

Though Christian’s only been to our Carlsbad track and now Irvine, you can tell the racing bug’s in him to stay. “I want to go (K1 Speed) San Diego next,” he says.

 

As far as we’re concerned, we just want to see what he’ll do next, period. Go get ‘em, Christian. We’re proud to count you as one of our racers.

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