“No one’s a Lewis Hamilton on their first drive out, simple as” Callum Hawkins-Row 2017
I thought I’d better immortalise at least one quote from Callum Hawkins-Row who won the Brentwood Karting Rising Star Driver Award in 2013, and is now labelled as one of the fastest young drivers around in 2017. He’s going places… and fast!
I was expecting to meet a typical teenager – moody, self-absorbed and hormone filled, not interested in being within 10 feet of his parents… what I found was the total opposite – well dressed and immaculately presented, Callum introduced himself flawlessly with the grace of a perfect gentleman. Immediately you could tell there is something about Callum, not just this hard-working passionate Silverstone University Technical College student/racing champion persona, but a glowing, speed seeking passion that’s burning just behind his eyes! If you were to meet Callum you would see it, this confident yet charming exterior encloses a heart of pure speed, and why not – he’s been behind a wheel since he was 6 years old!
Speaking to Callum with his family, it became very clear why he has been able to succeed. Not only does he have the full support of his family; Mum Gale, Dad Paul and Brother Kyle, but he is also 100% focused on his goals. Callum interacts with his parents on a very mature level, showing massive respect for everything they say. We chat for a while about his experiences within racing, Callum says “I was brought up to embrace change throughout my life, as soon as I realised I was good enough and enjoyed it then I thought what more do I want in life. I don’t believe in limiting myself, you should always challenge your reasoning and make sure you’re doing things for the right reasons.” Change is going to be a focus of 2017 for Callum as he has moved from the Fiesta Junior Championship under Jamsport Racing to the Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship with Team HARD, a stepping stone to his ultimate goal of the 24 hour Le Mans.
In 2015 the family left Essex to set up home in Helmdon to help Callum progress, not only within the racing profession but also academically, by joining Silverstone UTC.
The UTC opened in 2013 and is a centre of excellence for the specialist field of High Performance Engineering, Business & Technical Events Management. Callum is currently studying High Performance Engineering with a passion for physics, even winning a recent award in the subject. The course involves mathematics, research, design, manufacturing and business management along with much more. The disciplines and mature environment go “hand in hand with racing” said Gale “as you need to be able to manage yourself both on and off the track.” She continues, “We took Callum out of an outstanding rated school in Essex, which was a considered risk as at that time the UTC was unproven academically.
Callum is very aware of how important his education is to his future, and the UTC works for him. The whole environment is run on a very adult level. One of the things that used to frustrate Callum the most was that teachers would talk down to him, not at his level, and with recent strong exam results the UTC provides an excellent mix of education and business awareness.”
Callum made it very clear as we talked, that to succeed within the sport you need willpower and determination – most weekends are busy, from practices to competition… it is full on! But you will not find Callum resting when he gets a spare moment, he also plays the piano – “I took it up as I thought it would woo the ladies, but then I realised I actually enjoyed it, and it’s helped me with my racing as the more complicated pieces you play the more hand separation is involved.”
He’s also tried his hand at gymnastics, clay pigeon shooting and football (although football is the one sport he does not favour, “I’m just no good at it, I am more of a Rugby man” he said).
I distinctly get the impression that if you ask Callum to try anything you will get 100% effort out of him. He is interested in diversifying his interests to help him in the future, more recently by going down the route of commercial modelling and why not?! He is well presented, attractive and has more than a little bit of charm!
Callum is now the driver of a 355 bhp Ginetta G55 (which he nicknames “The Beast”) competing in the Britcar Endurance Championship. He started in corporate karting and began active competition within “arrive and drive” championships. Like many other drivers, he has worked his way up through Mini Max and Junior Max Karting developing his bare root race craft. His familiarity with the inner working of the car are from direct contact with the mechanics, hence his appreciation of the vehicle he is working with, evident in this abundant passion.
And the main piece of advice this rising star would give anyone who was looking at the sport?! ‘’No one is a Lewis Hamilton on their first drive, simple as. Be prepared to build your abilities. You can start competitive karting at 8 years old and progress to Mini Max at age 10. It’s very raw and basic and gives you what you need to build your race craft; you need a passion and focus. For me as soon as the visor comes down, I want to win!”