The next Lewis Hamilton might just be a nice Jewish boy from Whetstone but, to turn his dream into reality, he needs turbocharged support.
Aged 12, Ryan Margolis was a regular boy. He played the drums, made Airfix models and watched QPR (You Rs! Ed). And he loved cars, something his parents, Shweta and Alan, didn’t really understand or indulge.
However, one summer in Javea, Spain, Ryan begged them to let him go karting. To everyone’s surprise, he broke the junior kart track record. “Looking back, it must just have come naturally as I had so little experience of any karting,” says Ryan.
A few months later, they took the former JCoSS student, now 19, to Lakeside Karting and his result slip showed him ranked at an incredible 98%+.
His new hobby of corporate race karting was born, something they knew nothing about. “I was not a petrolhead – all I knew about racing I could fit on a postage stamp,” laughs Alan, whose family are members of Finchley Reform Synagogue.
Ryan was soon introduced to the more serious private racing karts. “We were told these were like forbidden fruit – once you tasted their speed, you wouldn’t want to go back,” says Ryan.
However, the world of motorsport is expensive, and they gulped at the around £130,000 per year it generally costs to do race karting properly. “It can be over £2,000 just to enter a weekend race with a team,” explains Alan.
Ryan by now had been accepted onto Motorsport UK’s elite driver course at Loughborough College. Top people connected with motorsport who have watched him consider him supremely talented. In August 2020, at PalmerSport, he was introduced to Rob Wilson, a Formula 1 coach. Although Ryan had never driven a manual car before, with Wilson he drove a Vauxhall Astra around 100 miles per hour.
Ryan attended Motorsport UK’s elite driver course at Loughborough College
The coach told Ryan that he should be in a single seater car and should be doing Formula 4, which is the first junior level of single-seater racing.
“I can see the ultimate speed Ryan possesses,” says Rob. “His willingness to listen and learn is a positive trait. In addition, his engaging personality will encourage race team members to be onside.”
On Wilson’s recommendation they contacted an F4 team and tested at Pembrey Circuit in Wales. Ryan was immediately offered a seat for the next season. Team owner Richard Dutton told Ryan he could make a professional racing driver out of him and that he could make a living out of motorsport – something that is not common.
Ryan then tested with Red Bull F1 feeder team Arden Motorsport at the famous Anglesey track and was told by director Jamie Horner that his was one of the best rookie sessions ever. The snag? The £250,000 per year that is required to race a season in F4.
Team owner Richard Dutton told Ryan he could make a professional racing driver out of him and that he could make a living out of motorsport – something that is not common.
“By this point, we were talking to people involved in Formula 1 – including Steve Hutchinson, an F1 simulator coach – and we’re a couple of Joes from north London who have fallen into motorsport,” says Alan. “But Steve said he should start racing for British Formula 3. This is the highest form of single seater racing in the country.”
Last August, Ryan – who is mentored by Alyth Belsize Jewish football team coach Ivan Colomer-Martinez – tested a British F3 car at an eye-watering cost of £6,000 and was almost as fast as much more experienced drivers. But it’s not just about how fast you are on a particular day, clarifies Alan.
To continue in the world of motorsport, Ryan is looking for a corporate sponsor.
“It’s about whether you can learn, absorb information and improve. You need to think about where you put your hands, where the wheel is, where the nose of the car is … Each corner is a work of mathematics, and it turns out that Ryan has the extraordinary ability to learn a track after just a couple of laps.”
To continue in the world of motorsport, Ryan is looking for a corporate sponsor. “Ryan has taken a really accidental route into the sector. He comes from a different background than the usual racing drivers and we need a genuine partnership,” says Alan. “In return, Ryan can offer businesses a unique model sportsman brand ambassador alongside exciting corporate hospitality and brand promotion.”
Horner says: “With the right level of backing in place, we firmly believe Ryan can realistically aspire to progress to successfully compete at the pinnacle of motor sport in single seaters and/or sports car racing.”
Ryan, who has just started working as a racing instructor, explains: “I never had a target, but amazing things just seem to keep on happening and I know that if I am given the opportunity, I will continue to outperform all expectations.”
Many people ask Alan and Shweta how they cope with their son having such an atypically Jewish vocation. “The truth is, you can’t think about the dangers,” admits Alan. “It was never our aspiration for Ryan to be a racing driver but, if your child has a passion, you should let them follow it.”
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