Northern Irish driver Conor McPolin hopes that winning the T4 Karting World Cup will open doors for his motorsport career.
The Banbridge native claimed his maiden world title at the event at Whiteriver circuit in County Louth on Sunday.
McPolin, 22, hopes he can follow in the steps of Le Mans winner and former World Karting champion Charlie Eastwood and move into car racing.
“I’d love to push down the car racing route if we can,” he said.
The T4 World Cup was initially meant to be held in Italy, however it was switched to Ireland amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the chance to race in front of his home support, McPolin said he “jumped at the opportunity” to race at Whiteriver.
“It’s great we had the chance to show what we could do,” he added.
“We would have been happy with a top-10 finish but we ended up getting on pole position, and that helped me take a clean sweep of wins in the heats and the final.
“I still can’t believe it all worked out for me.”
McPolin got involved with racing through his father, Frank, and said he was overcome with emotion after beating several leading national and international drivers to the title.
“My friend and my dad were crying and jumping when I crossed the finish line. They couldn’t believe it either,” he said.
“I was crying my eyes out on the cool-down lap. I had to pull myself together before I took my helmet off. I was just so emotional.
“To do it with my family and home support was incredible. I have a wee daughter, who just turned one, and to see her just staring at the trophy was outstanding.”
‘I love racing so much’
Having secured the prestigious trophy, McPolin is aiming to take the next step and said: “All I need is an inch to show I can take a mile”.
“Obviously backing is a huge part of motorsport and we just aren’t able to get that,” he added.
“It hasn’t really fallen into place until now so we will try our best top take the next step. I’m hoping that being a world champion will open up some doors.
“I just love racing so much. The buzz is a massive motivator, along with my dad, who has always had my back and kept pushing me.
“In the Irish championship, I haven’t been beaten for three years and we thought that was an amazing achievement in itself, but to win the world title is ten times that.
“As a race driver you have to be ready for what is coming at you, so I have to be ready and take any opportunity I can get.”