Liam Crystal: GEMS World Academy - Dubai's Karting Champion

Grade 11 GEMS World Academy - Dubai student Liam Crystal was crowned the 2019 Senior IAME X30 Champion at the prestigious Dubai ‘O’ Plate Karting event, held in January. The event pitted 130 of the leading kart racers from the GCC and beyond against each other, with as many as 32 competing for the category Liam went on to win.

The UAE’s premier event for professional kart racing, the Dubai O Plate’s 1.2km long circuit boasts 17 corners, a tunnel and a bridge – to test the full range of a driver’s skills. As the most coveted title at the Dubai O Plate event, the Senior category is also the most hotly contested.

As such, the championship win didn’t come easy for Liam, who initially struggled to hit peak performance in the qualifying round, where he finished fourth, a full tenth of a second slower than the pole position winner.

But Liam never gives up and went on to win two of the three heats as well as the Pre-Final – in which he beat his nearest contender by 1.427 seconds. His performance in the subsequent championship race confirmed his undeniable racing instincts, when he beat the driver in second place by more than 9 seconds!

Up for the challenge

Liam’s date with destiny can be traced back to a happy coincidence. His parents booked the indoor track at the Dubai Kartdrome for one of his birthdays. His performance on the day attracted the attention of the manager, who convinced him to take up kart racing seriously, which eventually led to him racing for a professional team.

Racing makes me feel awesome, it’s something that I have worked hard towards,” Liam explains. “I think my mindset is what makes me a good racer. If a racer has one bad race and gets disheartened, they will never be a successful racer. I think my perseverance and resilience contribute to my success.

Experience at GEMS World Academy - Dubai and dreams for the future

“I love a lot of things about my school,” says Liam.

“In other schools I have attended, it was sometimes difficult to fit in, but I’ve always felt a positive and welcoming environment at the Academy. My teachers are really friendly and their enthusiasm is infectious. I like the school’s collaborative and student-centered approach to education.”

As one of his prizes for winning the senior category at the Dubai O Plate, Liam also won a F4 test drive, and the Xcel Motorsport team was highly impressed with his first outing in that class of car. Practical enough to realise the uncertainty of a career in racing, Liam wants to study Motor Sport Engineering, complementing his aspirations as a competitive driver.

“I think it is important that I do well in my studies, but I want to remain in touch with my passion at the same time. Whatever facet of racing I am involved in, I will be happy.”

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