Hello, my name is Kai Bachini and this is my story.
I am a 12 year old motorsport journalist, commentator and sim racer. My passion for motorsport began when I tried karting for the first time whilst on holiday, after that I started to get the buzz for racing and was suddenly intrigued in the sport; but unfortunately I was only 7 at the time and I couldn’t start racing until I was 8.
So, when I was old enough, I jumped in a kart at a local hire kart track and started racing. I got my own kart for Christmas and started going to my local track and getting a feel for it (this is when I really started getting involved). Not so long after I started to race in club events (small races for beginners) and let’s say I wasn’t the best driver out there, but I wasn’t half bad; then my parents signed me up to my first championship at a national level where I could test my skill against the best in the country.
Not so long after (a year or two) I started to be able to compete just outside the top 10 maybe even a bit further up (but this is where it started to get tricky), with the competition getting more difficult it also got more expensive and that is one of the downfalls of this beautiful sport!
In 2018 I got my first simulator so I could race from home even if we couldn’t afford the on-track races. I entered myself into an online karting championship called KartSim and another positive was even if I couldn’t race with my friends on the real track, quite a few of them were competing on the online championship as well. In the final race I managed to put it on pole against one of the best UK drivers (the GP Plate winner) he beat me in the race but I came a close second which I could never have done with my lack of power on the real track.
Jake Sanson was commentating on this series and he said that his co-commentator had to cancel for the next round of the British Championships and if anyone wanted to join him feel free (and this is where my journey on the mic began).
I really enjoyed it, so I went on to commentate a few more rounds of the British championships with Jake. Then for TDI media I did my first interviews with the three title contenders at the final round of the SuperOne Series. With the support and encouragement of Jake and his company Downforce Radio opportunities started to open up to me and one of them was a chance to work at Downforce. Things were starting to get serious and with this new confidence I decided to enter into the BBC Radio 5 Live Young Commentator of the Year competition and to my surprise I won (now my confidence was at a peak).
Soon more opportunities came flooding in; I was a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 1 with Dev and Alice, I appeared on BBC Look North and was invited down to Manchester to record a piece for CBBC Newsround, it was all a bit surreal!
I was given the opportunity to go to the Autosport International Show in Birmingham with Downforce Radio (this is where things started to blow up); this was probably one of my best experiences, I got to interview David Coulthard, Karun Chandhock, Brendon Leigh, Billy Monger and many more. It was a great way of gaining exposure and getting advice from many great people in motorsport, like Johnny Herbert who is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
It was at the Autosport Show that I was first introduced to the F1 game and with some tips from Marcel Kiefer (another awesome guy) I managed to get onto the top 10 leaderboard on the F1 sim. When I got back home I bought the F1 game and started playing. I came across an F1 community called the Rwagnation and started racing in their lobbies and doing some commentary on the RNL F1 league with Ben, they have done so much to help me develop on the game, and I now compete in league races and am improving all the time.
The next opportunity I was given through Downforce was to attend and create content on the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC). At the time I did not know that much about this Championship, so I had to wise up quick. With the support of the Trade Price Cars Racing team I attended pretty much every round, I would review the weekend for the team creating videos for my twitter page where I would interview the drivers (Mark Blundell and Jake Hill).
I went on to interview a lot of drivers from all the different teams and this was an invaluable experience for my interviewing techniques (drivers even started to ask me when I was going to interview them, which was pretty cool) I nervously approached Louise Goodman one weekend to ask for an interview and advice on getting into the industry. I needn’t of been anxious as she is lovely and has given me so much help and encouragement, Paul O’Neil – likewise. I started to realise that all these amazing people I was meeting who have achieved fantastic things in their careers in motorsport are all just people at the end of the day (very hard-working successful people).
If you want to make it in this industry you have to put yourself out there, be confident, brave and approach people, if you hesitate the opportunity is often missed! I started to do this more, so when visiting tracks to watch friends race I would offer my services on the mic as a guest commentator and I picked up more experience and got to know more people this way while building up my confidence.
I would make round up videos of race weekends and championships and talk about my predictions for the Series. I was asked to commentate at a round of the Super One Series which was my first time going solo on the mic for a whole weekend. When I listen to it back now I cringe as I have learnt so much since then like that you don’t have to fill every silence! I went on to develop my commentating skills by commentating on mid week races for the WOR F1 series and alongside Ben for the weekend RNL league races.
Through my partner Ravenol, I was given the opportunity to interview the two Sport Pesa Racing Point F1 Esports drivers on the Fan Zone stage at the British Grand Prix in July. Wow, what an experience that was and one I will never forget! I was also able to attend the F1 Esports launch party for in their motorhome in the F1 paddock As if this weekend could get any better, I then managed to get an interview with Lando Norris (my favourite driver!)
When we returned from the British GP my dad received a message from Jamie MacLaurin at Veloce Esports to ask if I would be able to interview the Alfa Romeo drivers at the F1 Pro Draft Event that night. My dad picked me up from school and said ‘we are off to London!’ The F1 Esports Pro Draft event was unbelievable, I got to catch up with Brendon Leigh (2 times World Champion), Marcel Keifer and interview the Alfa Romeo drivers, but I also got to do another interview with Lando Norris as he was the guest presenter. Life was good!
Little did I know that the best was her to come (August was my best month yet), Oliver Rowland asked me to cover the Kartmasters event for his karting team ORM posting to their social media, so basically a weekend with my friends talking to them on camera!
The next weekend, I attended the final round of the W Series at Brands Hatch. I was given time slots to interview all the drivers and was basically given access all areas. I got to meet and interview more of my idols in motorsport media, Lee Mckenzie, Claire Cottingham and Ted Kravitz. This was another epic experience not forgetting I got to interview David Coulthard again and he remembered me from Autosports.
Finally in August. as my prize for winning the BBC 5Live Young Commentator of the Year I got to attend the Belgian Grand Prix with full paddock passes, I got to meet and share the commentary box with Jack Nichols and Jolyon Palmer and when asked on air by Jenny Gow my predictions for qualification for the race I correctly called Charles Leclerc on pole and for the win. The weekend was like a dream come true, I got to race on the F1 esports sims against the F3 drivers and an official F1 Esports driver and I won! On the Thursday I got to meet all the F1 drivers at the autograph session and with my newfound confidence I pulled out my phone and asked them all a question or two (as they say up north ‘shy bairns get nowt’) Lando even greeted me with ‘So we meet again’.
After the tragic events on Saturday in the F2 race, Sunday obviously had more of a sombre feel and rightly so. I didn’t know how to feel, it was very hard to process especially as I was supposed to race Antoine Hubert on the sim on the Saturday but had to miss it due to commitments to be in the commentary box.
To end my incredible year I was invited by Formula 1 to attend all four rounds of the F1 Esports Series which led to me interviewing the drivers, Lee Mathers from Codemasters, Pierre Gasly, Matt Gallagher, Tom Deacon, Rossana Tennant and Julian Tan. I absolutely love this series and just wish the age limit could be lowered so I could try to qualify sooner myself.
I have been pleasantly surprised by so many of the people I have met and the time they have given me! At the Belgian Grand Prix I got to spend more time with Karun Chandhock and Johnny Herbert who is just an absolute legend and is always so kind. I also met Will Buxton who sat with me and gave me advice about what I can do to progress into the industry. One piece of advice which I have received from all these amazing people is that it is all about who you know and being in the right place at the right time. To be confident and keep knocking on doors and asking questions, get your face out there on social media and make the most of every opportunity.
I have had the most amazing year and my goal for the future is to continue to build on my experiences, improve my skills and keep making contacts within the industry. I would love to one day work for Formula 1, Sky Sports, Channel 4 or BBC 5 Live as a Formula 1 Presenter, interviewer or commentator.
My ambition is to become the youngest F1 presenter. It would be pretty cool to become the F1 Esports Series winner along the way!
You can follow along with Kai here: