An Aberdeen schoolboy will have the chance to meet his sporting heroes after winning a place on the grid at a leading motorsport event.
Aston Sharp, 8, is one of just seven children from across the UK to be picked as an F1 Future Star by Motorsport UK, which means he will get to go behind the scenes at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next month.
The Countesswells youngster, who attends Robert Gordon’s College, regularly races at Grampian Kart Club in Banff and dreams of emulating his idol, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
Aston said: “I am really excited. I can’t wait to go and stand next to all the drivers, especially Sebastian Vettel.
“I hope I can be like him. I love karting and I go a few times a week. I love being quicker than people and trying to win.”
In order to win his place on the grid, Aston had to submit a video explaining why he wanted to be an F1 Future Star.
He said: “I had to set up some of my trophies beside my kart and do a talk.
“I talked about how much I enjoy karting and about promoting it in my local area.”
Aston’s dad Ryan, 40, said: “He is a real motor racing fan and really looks up to all the drivers so the fact he is going to have the chance to be on the grid with them is amazing.
“We’ve been to every British Grand Prix since he was born but he’s never had the chance to do something like this. It’s a money-can’t-buy experience for him.
“It’s brilliant because it’s such a small number of children who actually get to do it, so it’s really special for Aston to be one of the seven.
“He did a really good job with his entry video.
“He was delighted when he found out he had won. He knew exactly how much it meant.
“He is really excited to be going down. It’s all he’s spoken about since he found out.
“We are really happy for him.”
His mum Libby, 33, added: “We are absolutely ecstatic for Aston. He tried really hard with the competition so it was amazing when we found out he had won.
“We are over the moon. It’s a great opportunity for him to meet his heroes and raise the profile of karting in the north-east. At the age he is, the drivers really are his heroes and it just goes to show that dreams do come true.
“As part of the competition they wanted the kids to talk about promoting karting in their area. He did that and hopefully this will help even more.”
Ryan is hopeful Aston’s appearance at the race can inspire other youngsters from the north-east to get involved in karting.
He said: “I think this will be really good for the club and will hopefully encourage more children to try it.”
Dan Parker, Motorsport UK kart manager, added: “I’d like to congratulate Aston and all our winners and thank our panel for judging such a close competition. Aston really showed his passion towards karting and F1 and we are delighted to have him representing Motorsport UK at the British Grand Prix.
“All four current British F1 drivers won UK karting championships on their way to the top, highlighting its importance at a grassroots level. UK karting is going from strength-to-strength – the Motorsport UK-run British Kart Championships are seeing the biggest grids we’ve had in 30 years.”