Nelson King: Making his mark
At the beginning of each year since 2021, we have looked to find the next best talent to join the ever-growing Walero athlete roster and 2023 saw one name rise to the occasion, Nelson King. Nelson had chosen to champion Walero since his first steps into racing and his pedigree as a championship winner at each stage of his journey resonated with our brand ethos!
2023 has Nelson take a step into one of the most competitive championships currently racing in the UK, the Vertu Motors Mini Challenge JCW. Racing in this series is intense, with constant door to door action lap after lap, but Nelson has certainly risen to the challenge and has taken it to the main championship protagonists from the very beginning.
“2023 has been an incredible year so far I have to say,” he recalls. “Taking the step up into the JCW class was always going to be a challenge but I have loved every single minute of it since that first race back at Donington in April.”
“Off-track it has been an amazing year for myself and the team, taking a step into a more competitive championship was a massive task, but we’ve definitely made a name for ourselves in the paddock which is a fantastic feeling. On the track, it has been a season of ups and downs for sure, we’ve been caught up in some unfortunate mechanical gremlins which have cost us a real shot at the championship. But morale is still as high as ever and every weekend has been one to remember for a multitude of reasons!”
2023 has seen Nelson, in his own words, “step up his game as a driver” to take on the competition in the JCW class. 2022 saw Nelson charge to the drivers’ title in the Mini Challenge Trophy class, the stepping stone into the top JCW category and this brilliant achievement has certainly given him the confidence he needed to battle it out with the very best in 2023.
“We’ve done so well this year, aside from the mechanical gremlins, to be sitting fourth in the championship in my rookie season is an incredible feeling and since the beginning of this season I have looked to really push myself as the season progressed. There is that little inkling feeling that we really could have been challenging for the championship this season, but it has just slipped out of reach which has only served to motivate me further for next season!”
This season has seen Nelson become a front-runner since that opening round at Donington Park in April, and up to this moment he has collected a mightily impressive victory at Snetterton and five podiums in 14 races, not bad going for a rookie! This has also seen Nelson’s presence off the track grow and grow, which culminated in a fantastic title partnership with Laser Tools Racing at the halfway point of this season!
“We’ve done the talking on track this year and it has been great to partner with so many new sponsors such as Walero who offer me so much support! To partner with such a prestigious name in Laser Tools Racing, it has given me such a massive confidence boost to know that I am considered as a top driver and championship contender which they want to support moving forward.”
Aside from the on track successes this year, Nelson has also looked to develop himself mentally to combat the multitude of factors a driver can face over the course of a season from mechanical issues to racing incidents.
“I’ve really looked to build up my attitude and stance when it comes to racing. It has been disappointing at times with the various issues we have encountered, but it taught me to view every race as a new opportunity to showcase what I can do and learn from my mistakes. I’ve got to keep pushing myself as much as possible, the confidence and speed in the car is there, we will soon get the opportunity to show it.”
Nelson picked out one race in particular that he feels has been the standout moment for him this season and it does not involve a victory or podium finish. Instead, it involves a charge through the field at a sodden Brands Hatch to bounce back from a DNF in superb fashion.
“Race two at Brands Hatch is definitely a defining moment for me from this season, we had a DNF in the first race, so I lined up right at the back of the grid! It was a mix between wet and dry conditions which made it even more challenging, not to mention Joe Tanner sitting alongside me as well who is one hell of a driver!”
“I just gave it everything I had and to be carving through the field and really pushing the car to the limit was just brilliant. It taught me so much about the characteristics of the car, about being sensible with my race craft and to bring it home in P7 from dead last was all the confidence I needed to push on from there.”
Alongside the successes both on and off the track this year for Nelson, we also chatted about the impact of winning the Be The Next Walero Athlete competition and the effect it had on him as the catalyst for his continued success in 2023.
“Winning the BTNWA competition at the very beginning of the year was a surreal experience for me and actually marked my first official partner for the year! I entered the competition on more of a wim than anything else, I had been wearing the base layers since I started and it just felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up on!”
“To then be told that I had won it was just brilliant, it gave me so much confidence in my own abilities to know that I had just been selected to represent the brand amongst hundreds of entries from around the globe and I have never looked back from that moment on. The Walero products themselves are just fantastic and to have the Walero team onboard for 2023 and beyond makes me feel extremely proud!”
“I also spent the first part of my career racing with the likes of Tom Wood in karting and I remember seeing all the Walero logos on his car when he did British GT. Now it is almost a pinch me moment to think, I’m a Walero athlete now and to be sponsored by the brand is a big motivation boost.”
It is clear to see that Nelson is an undeniable talent, both with regards to driving ability and professionalism. 2023 has seen him take on a new challenge and without a doubt, this challenge was conquered from the first time he sat in the cockpit. We are overjoyed to have him as part of our athlete family and can’t wait to see what the future holds!