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A Drive to Drive HARD

Teenage sensation Damani Marcano has been signed by Team HARD for its young driver development programme for the 2015 season and beyond. Currently only 15 years old, Damani will pilot a fully race prepared VW Golf GTI R Cup Car in the Volkswagen Racing Cup alongside regular proven and experienced racing drivers. 

“We have been keeping an eye on Damani for a while now and he continues to exceed all expectations–progressing at a rapid and impressive rate. It is very important to support our stars of the future. Damani’s professionalism has already shone through on and off track and in today’s motorsport world, it is so important to be the complete package. Damani fits these criteria perfectly.” Said Tony Gilham of Team HARD.

Damani, from Hertfordshire, will be 16 years old in January 2015 and will begin his senior racing journey with his ARDS (Car-Racing License) test and soon after will begin a winter testing programme of familiarisation with his new machine. Gilham adds “Damani is very comfortable both behind the wheel and in front of the camera and we are extremely excited to be part of his on-going development as a racing driver. We are under no illusions that this is a big step but we are behind him 100 percent and will be working closely with him to make the most of this opportunity”. 

On his expectations for his first year, Damani said “This will be a huge learning experience. I’m racing in cars for the first time and against very experienced adults. I expect to make several rookie-mistakes through the year but I know I will learn from them. Having Tony Gilham’s experience and confidence behind me makes me feel that, over the next few years, anything is possible. I’m going into this year with no expectations, just mega excitement about racing such an amazing machine!” 

Racing in the VW Cup will be Damani’s first step on a multi-year programme to eventually race in the British Touring Car Championships (BTCC). Damani hopes to one day add his name to the list of British Touring Car Champions including Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Colin Turkington and Fabrizio Giovanardi; many of whom also started their careers in karting.

In 2012, at the end of round 3 of his first arrive and drive karting series, Damani took 1st place against drivers with several years of experience. Surprising everyone, he found himself standing on top of the podium at Rye House, the same track that double Formula 1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, began his career. Then encouraged to move into club level karting, where many of today’s professional racing drivers begin, Damani stepped straight into racing 75mph race-tuned Junior Rotax karts. 

In 2013, his debut season in club-level karting, Damani went on to finish 3rd in the Hoddesdon Kart Club (HKC) Championship, also at Rye House, and was awarded the club’s “Most Improved Driver” award. With less than 2 years in club-level racing, Damani’s pace has continued to increase with regular top-3 race finishes and fastest-laps against drivers with as much as 8 years of racing under their belt. Damani will draw a line under his karting career with his final race-meeting at Rye House on 7th December where he is in-line for yet another top-3 finish in the club championship.

You can follow Damani’s journey on twitter (@DKMRacing), 

on Facebook

and on YouTube

Watch Damani’s karting story, “A Drive to Drive”, on YouTube; a video used to support his racing career crowd-funding campaign:

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