16-year-old Belgian Karting star Kobe Pauwels, son of the former Belgian rallycross icon Koen Pauwels, has been confirmed to enter the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super 1600 cars next year.
Pauwels has been active in Karting since 2014 and on his first event he finished second when racing in the BeNeLux Championship at his local track before clinching his first title by winning the 2016 Mini Max European Championship.
Over the next few years, Pauwels secured more titles and many more wins in his karting career. Last year he teamed up with WRC regular Thierry Neuville to race the FIA sanctioned LifeLive TN5 Crosscar, which he went on take the Belgian championship with.
He’ll however make his Super 1600 debut this weekend, where he will be joining Volland Racing in an Audi A1 for the British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy at Lydden Hill as a preparation for next season.
“I remember when I was very young and watching my father when he was still racing in rallycross, and he raced against Rolf Volland. As I’m now 16 I’m allowed to race in Super1600. We know the cars are one of the best on the grid and Volland Racing is one of the most experienced teams.” Pauwels said.
“My original plan was to start in rallycross in 2021, but with the Covid-19 situation the calendar changed a few times and now I just turned 16, so I could get my rallycross licence. I will take the opportunity to drive this already this year to be better prepared for next year. Of course it’s a learning process for me and getting experience as much as possible but I’m hoping to show some good speed.”
Pauwels has tested a RX2 rallycross machine in the past, which he believed has helped him opt to switch to rallycross and follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“At the end of last year I tested an RX2 car and thought ‘Wow this is fun!’. On the way home I told my father ‘this is what I want to do’. I hope to be a professional driver in motorsport.” Pauwels added.
“With karting experience on tarmac and crosscar on gravel I try to be as complete as possible as a driver that is fast on every surface, like my two Red Bull backed idols Thierry Neuville and Mattias Ekstrom. In 2021 my goal is to be a permanent driver in Super 1600 and crosscar, and of course my eyes are open for the electric future. Like always it will depend on budget and partners.”