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Cambourne racer Daryl DeLeon hungry for more after becoming Platinum Class Radical world champion in Las Vegas





The Radical World Cup race report from Time Attack Manila in mid-November of last year reads as follows: “Competing on a different continent, on an unfamiliar race track, with new much faster machinery, Daryl DeLeon has done what was thought to be impossible.”

But then 2022 was very much a year in which DeLeon continually challenged racing’s status quo with a string of performances behind the wheel that belied his tender age and inexperience.

After all, last year was his first full season racing cars, having previously been a successful karting driver. His honours list includes the Bizkart Rental Championship alongside wins in the finals of the Motorsport UK British Kart Championship and UKC Ultimate Karting Championship, as well as the London Cup.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

It is a major step up to cars, and yet the former Cambourne Village College pupil ended his debut campaign as not only the British Radical champion, but also the World Radical champion.

The 17-year-old travelled to Las Vegas to be part of the 36-car grid in the Platinum Class comprising of drivers that had enjoyed success all across the globe. But come the final, all of them were left trailing DeLeon, who tackled the 5.20km Charleston Peak Circuit as though he had been racing it all his life.

So what is the secret? How does a relative novice end up being crowned a national and world champion? According to DeLeon, who still lives in Cambourne, it is as much about your mental approach as it your ability in the drivers’ seat.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

“Racing drivers have always got to be confident but I didn’t have any major expectations going into that week (in Las Vegas),” he said.

“I remained confident, trained for it mentally and physically and did plenty of gym and simulation work.

“But when I got there and got in the car it was just a learning process. After all of the testing we were actually really fast and that made me believe we could win it. In the heats it was close between me and Al (Miller), who finished second, and then in the final it just clicked. I performed really well.

“I had nerves getting on to the plane and the whole situation of it was a bit nerve wracking. But it’s about staying calm and staying composed because you need to do it in that type of environment.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

“In a professional paddock, going against drivers that are way more experienced, you can always take it as a learning experience. You can do that instead of fixating and thinking that ‘I must win this’.

“When I started, I just took it as I’m looking to drive well myself, but I can learn off all of these people.

“But then I just ended up winning it! The car was really good and I felt like I drove really well. It all just clicked together.”

“If you keep telling yourself ‘I’m going to win’ or ‘I have to win this race’ then it sets yourself a bar and a challenge that sometimes you cannot reach. If you go into it with a different mindset, trying to do your best, but also accepting that whatever happens, happens and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

“That takes pressure off and it’s a good thing because sometimes too much pressure in those situations is not a good thing. You start to overthink and think about the unnecessary factors of what you want to do.

“If you lessen the pressure, it really helps you to perform in the way you want to. That’s how I approached it and what a year it ended up being. I’d say for a first full year it went perfectly.”

But this, DeLeon is eager to stress, is just the start of a journey that he hopes will take him to the very top of motorsport.

The Radical Series has provided the teenager with some priceless opportunities and also helped to a breed a winning habit, yet there is a burning desire in 2023 to make further moves up the racing ladder.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

He has already had some exposure to the GB4 Championship – an event for formula racing cars. And in keeping with his fruitful year, at Donington Park on debut, DeLeon got himself on the podium.

“After having such a successful 2022, this year you want to set yourself at least the same achievements, but probably even higher,” he said.

“This year is about getting more sponsorship and trying to move into different championships – more high-profile championships.

“That way I can expand as a driver and learn about different tracks and different cars.”

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

“We’d love to do prototype stuff, which is LMP. But for me I think GT is going to be really important for me because it could open up so many doors in the long term.

“The round I did in the new GT4 stood out because the level of competition was really high. There are a lot of young racing drivers like me out there and it was the first appearance for me and my team, but we got a podium and showed that we can do it.

“My career goals are big races, things like Le Mans, championships like that with really high budgets but the pathway to get there is to start with GT4, maybe GT Cup or British GT and then obviously move on to higher profile championships with bigger budgets.

“It’s about getting more recognition, bigger sponsorship and climbing the ladder.

Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD
Daryl DeLeon enjoyed a 2022 campaign to remember, capping it by becoming a world champion. Sprite Photography LTD

“I’ve just finished my first season in cars. Radical is a really good championship with really good cars, but to go on that pathway to reach the top of motorsport, I’d say I’m just starting out.

“Now it’s going to be against professional drivers, factory drivers. For example in Las Vegas there were a few professional drivers, but the competition is only going to get harder. Sponsorship will get harder, budgets will get harder and everything else will get harder but I want to do it, it’s my main goal.”

The competition, of course, is fierce. DeLeon is part of an Enhanced Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme at Loughborough College that provides potential stars of the future with the chance to gain academic qualifications whilst competing.

Everyone on the course has the same goal, to become a professional driver, and so it means that there is no time for resting on your laurels.

DeLeon said: “A lot of drivers my age, their dream is to get to the very top of motorsport. They’re all doing lots of simulation work, lots of work in the gym.

“I’m in a classroom with 19 other racing drivers. We all study the same thing, we all study car mechanics and all the stuff to improve our performance when we’re competing in championships.

“It can get quite hard, but the only way you’re going to stand out is to keep pushing and keep putting in the work because it will show eventually.

“It’s things like the gym work, that’s really important. You need to keep your physical fitness up because when you do start to get fatigued in a race then your performance levels can drop a lot.

“If you’re competing in an endurance race, doing a three or four-hour stint, it wouldn’t be good if after the first hour you’re losing focus. It’s mentally draining driving round and round, so that’s why it’s important to condition your body and mind for those occasions.

“Being in the best shape you can be can help you to get on top of your opponents.”

And it is not just on British shores where racing enthusiasts will be keeping a keen eye on DeLeon’s development this year.

His mother is from the Philippines and while the south-east Asian nation is not exactly a hotbed of motorsport, DeLeon has a growing fanbase that he is extremely proud to represent.

“Carrying the Filipino flag is so important to me. I love providing entertainment for my family and I love how much they support me,” he said.

“There are so few Filipino drivers, I want to show the people there that it’s possible to do it.

“I want to encourage other people and show them that it can be done.

“Motorsport is not that big out there but the support from my family and fans out there, that matters to me a lot. I’ve got a massive family out there and they’re all so supportive.”

  • Anyone interested in sponsoring DeLeon going forward can contact race.daryldeleon@gmail.com for more information.


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