Alex Yoong (back row, centre) with some of the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) X30 National Karting Series drivers in Sepang. Pic by SUPIAN AHMAD

SEPANG: Whether they make the grade or not only time will tell but 10 promising karters made an important step towards achieving their dream of competing in Formula One today.

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) held the last day of its final selection for 10 sponsored seats in the SIC X30 National Karting Series which kicks off next week. The selection was for karters aged eight to 12 with no or minimal karting experience and was held over two days at the SIC International Kart Circuit.

From 26 karters registered for the final selections, only Putera Alex Qiefli Esam, Putera Haikal Hakeem Halim, Aldrin Jiacheng Foo Cabiles, Putera Hani Imran Halim, Raja Ariff Raja Azmi, Sophia Zara Mustaffa Kamal, Nurul Auni Nasharuddin, Ahmad Mikhael Ahmad Shareza, Adam Harris Jeffry and Hendra Ade Putra Niko Ode Priyanto were selected for the sponsored spots.

Sophia, who is only one of two girls among the 10 selected, said she hopes to become Malaysia's first women's F1 driver.

"I think I did okay (during trials), I did not feel nervous competing against the boys'," said the nine-year-old.

"I am very happy and excited to be able to compete in the SIC X30 National Championships. My target is to be the best.

"I hope to become an F1 driver when I grow up. I like Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari."

Adam, 8, who is the youngest among those selected, also hopes to make it to the pinnacle of the sport.

"I am happy with how I did, I felt really brave today. I want to be an F1 driver one day. I like Lewis Hamilton because he is very confident and wins a lot," said Adam

SIC head of driver talent development Alex Yoong, who oversaw the selection process, said the drivers were judged on how quickly they could improve.

"It is very difficult to assess them comprehensively over only two days, it is very hard to quantify. Ultimately we want to select those with the best potential," said Alex.

"Some of them had slightly more experience than the others but in general I was looking to see how they would improve over the two days as that shows natural talent."

The SIC X30 National Series comprised three rounds and costs about RM30,000 to compete per season if self-funded.