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Once in a Lifetime | Iglesias, winning the first karting world championship at the age of 33 and… restarting from zero!

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IGLESIAS, WINNING THE FIRST KARTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE AGE OF 33 AND… RESTARTING FROM ZERO!

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Despite the innate speed, the world championship victory slipped out of his hands many times in his career and seemed almost unreachable by now. Nevertheless, he took it using all his strength, surprising everybody, probably also himself and his team, Formula K. But the surprises continued even after the victory, when Jeremy, as a fresh world champion, chose to restart from a blank sheet of paper, in a new team. And, to be precise, the team that has won the most in KZ, CRG. For a challenge inside the challenge, which he recounts to us in a long interview

Jeremy Iglesias is fast, damn he’s fast. The results of the most important international races over the last 10 years say it. And his teammates, who have been by his side in all his various experiences, which saw the French driver wearing the Intrepid, LenzoKart, Sodikart and Formula K colours, confirm it.
However, Jeremy has never won the big title, the world championship. He’s been in contention for it many times, he started more than one final in the top positions and with the right speed to bring it home, but nothing. Not even a podium. Just enough to classify him as one of those drivers who, at the moment of betting on who wins the final, you discard by default. And then Jeremy has a problem, which is called age. He’s 33 years old, which are the years of maximum strength and vigour for mere mortals, but are a sort of entrance in the last career stages for go-kart drivers. Because maybe the motivations are no longer those you had when you were 18 years old and because you find yourself fighting with people who are also 15 years younger than you and who will probably be in F1 in a few years’ time. For this reason, when October 2020 comes, Jeremy is indeed happy for being able to take part to the KZ world championship at South Garda Karting, but, at the same time, he’s a bit sad, because he knows that there will no longer be so many occasions to battle for “the race”. But in Lonato something special happens, something that you would never expect. Jeremy puts on his usual world championship weekend: fast and always in front with the best drivers. But this time he has something more. He knows it, maybe his mechanic knows it and a few other people know it. It’s a matter of fact that 20 minutes are sufficient, just the time of the final, and that “something more” he has is known by all the world.

Because Jeremy, with his Formula K powered by TM Racing, becomes world champion for the first time. At 33 years of age, yes. When nobody would have bet one euro anymore, yes. How did he do it? He tells us during a chat that, more than being an interview, is a true journey into the story, the memories, the emotions of a French boy, educated, super fast and, now, also world champion.

You are world champion! Has something changed?

“Yes, something has changed in me. I had a dream when I was a child, which I think every go-kart driver wants to realise one day: become world champion. I needed some time after the race to realise I had done it, but today I realise it well and I’m very happy and proud of this”.
Talking with Jeremy you immediately understand how necessary it was for him to reach this goal, especially in the first years as an official driver. It’s normal, however, that in the course of a long career as his, the real chances of winning are fluctuating and, as he himself says, “some years I found myself going to that race already knowing that, data at hand, I didn’t have the package at the 100% to be able to become world champion”. But, as Jeremy reminds, “the wheel turns”, and competitiveness comes back from 2015: “In Le Mans, considering I had also won the last race of the European championship in Genk that year, I went knowing I had the chance of winning the title”. Nevertheless, it is known that motorsport isn’t an exact science and Jeremy finishes 4th.
The driver realises that having a competitive package under his belt is a priority, so from that moment on “I’ve always focused on having the possibility of having in my hands all the options to become world champion one day”. Therefore, in 2017 Jeremy lands in IPK, starts racing with the Formula K colours and it immediately seems that the technical condition to win is present, but a crash takes him out of the game. And we arrive to 2020, Jeremy needs to deal with a promise he had made to himself: “I’ve always said that ‘at thirty-five years of age I will stop racing’. Not due to a lack of desire, but because I think that at a certain point you need to move on”. Jeremy knows his numbers well: he’s thirty-three years old and “maybe I have three world championships left - he says and continues, sharp - this is the reason for which I bet everything on this world championship”.

You did everything well this year, but you won the world championship in the final and in my opinion with an overtake. That overtake there, how did it come? For the Jeremy Iglesias I know, with the overtake you had suffered, the race was over. Instead you invented your victory.

“This overtake came thanks to the old Jeremy Iglesias”, he answers, convinced. And how was Jeremy before? Simple, a perfectionist who always questions himself, as he himself admits: “I have a character for which, for example, today I’m world champion, but I don’t want to say that I know everything about everything and I have nothing more to learn. I always tell myself: ‘even when you will be eighty years old you will learn some things’. Surely within me I think that I’m the best, because otherwise I wouldn’t go on track. No one goes on track saying: ‘I’m not as good as the others’. However, I’ve always admitted my strengths and my weaknesses. And one of my weaknesses was being too kind. Furthermore, I’ve lost many races because for me the driver who won always had to be the fastest”.

And this is the point. Jeremy tells us a great truth, one of those that in motorsports you need to learn sooner or later if you want to win, and that he understood very well on the eve of this world championship: “In a race it’s not the fastest driver who wins, but the strongest one”. Think about it: “the fastest” and “the strongest” are not the same thing. And think about it again: it’s actually not guaranteed that the fastest driver always wins, but it’s sure and certain that who wins is always and only the strongest one, regardless of being the fastest. It may be a banality, but it’s a rule of motorsports that must always be kept in mind. And Jeremy faces the 2020 world championship in Lonato with this concept, which, even if simple and banal, was actually a key point in his victory: “I told myself: ‘I must never give up’”. And so it was.
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