Accomplished UCC Karter Has a Need for Speed 

By Lachlan Boyle

Learning to drive is a time-honoured rite of passage and one eagerly anticipated by teenagers across the generations. However, Daniel Ali, Year 12 and proud member of Mowbray’s House, has been behind the wheel for almost as long as he can remember – just not the kind of vehicle you might expect. 

Daniel is an avid and accomplished kart racer. Kart racing, or karting as it’s also known, is a form of open four-wheeled motorsport racing first popularized in the 1950s. Daniel was first introduced to the world of karting at seven years of age at the encouragement of his father, who had just taken up amateur race car driving. He was immediately hooked on the thrill and precision of the sport. “I had tried a lot of sports by that time and nothing felt more exhilarating and challenging than karting,” he explains. “Racing against other drivers going 80 kilometres an hour made me feel like the F1 drivers I watched on television.” 

From that point on, karting became Daniel’s ultimate passion. In addition to hours spent training out of Racing Edge Motorsports, his club near Newmarket, Daniel also travels the world competing on the international karting circuit. He has won many Canadian titles and has even represented Team Canada twice at the Rotax World Finals. The first time was in 2021 in Bahrain and the second last year in Portugal, where he sustained an injury from a spectacular crash. Passing another driver at the fastest part of the track at a speed of 130 kilometres an hour, Daniel made contact with the car and flipped, ultimately breaking his arm in a serious injury that required emergency surgery.  

Daniel shares his passion for karting with his brother, Adam, a ’22 UCC alum. Growing up, the two frequently raced together, spurred on by a healthy dose of sibling rivalry. In fact, they were one of the first brother duos to ever qualify for the Rotax World Finals, a feat they accomplished in the 2021-22 season. For Daniel, karting with his brother has been an incredibly memorable experience. He fondly remembers one race in which his brother, who had already qualified for the finals the day prior, successfully boxed in Daniel’s rearward competitors to help him pull ahead, with the announcers proclaiming to the crowd that Adam “had his brother’s back.” “I still had to be quick enough to pull away,” Daniel says. “Adam just made it easier.” 

When asked if his Portugal crash has chilled his enthusiasm for karting, Daniel laughs it off and says, “no way!” “Racing incidents are a part of the sport, and I always knew that getting injured could happen and would happen eventually,” he says. “I was more discouraged that I could not finish the world championship and instead had to watch as a spectator.”

This attitude exemplifies Daniel’s vision as a karter: always looking ahead. He signed a long-term management deal in 2022 with Bam Motorsports Management and will be racing later this year in the Inter Europol Competition in the 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup. His brother, Adam, will be racing in the European Le Mans Series. In the longer term, Daniel aspires to enter the Le Mans FIA World Endurance Championship, racing prototype race cars for over 24 hours in what is the endurance racing equivalent of Formula 1. 

His cast now off, Daniel is itching for a return to the track. “As of now, I’ve just been waiting to get back in the driver’s seat,” he explains. “I can’t wait until the first race this month in the Ligier Cup in France. The track looks incredible, and we’ll be reaching over 270 kilometres an hour.”

Like we said, he likes to go fast.