Charlie Kimball: The Race is On: He started racing go-carts at the age of nine. Today he’s one of the best open wheel racecar drivers who was also nearly sidelined by a diagnosis of diabetes.
Charlie Kimball is a an American of British descent and is considered a rising star in his field. Wikipedia shares his racing career to date…
“Kimball’s single-seater career started in 2002 when he took part in the American Formula Dodge national championship, finishing the season in 10th place overall. He also won three races in the SCCA Formula Ford series. For 2003 he moved up to Formula Ford U.S., finishing third overall.
“In 2004 he competed in the full UK Formula Ford championship for Team JLR, taking two race wins and eleven podiums on his way to fourth in the championship. His performances earned him a drive with front-runners Carlin Motorsport in the 2005 British Formula Three Championship, where he took five race wins to finish an impressive second behind teammate Álvaro Parente.
“For 2006 Kimball stayed in Formula Three, but moved up to the Formula Three Euroseries with the French Signature-Plus team. He took one race win and three podiums to finish the season in eleventh place.
“In 2007 he competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the Italian Victory Engineering team, alongside Dutchman Giedo van der Garde. He competed in 12 races and finished 24th in points with a best finish of 8th in the Monza and Nurburgring sprint races. His departed the team due to the onset of Type 1 Diabetes, which required hospitalization.”
It was at this point that life changed dramatically for Kimball. He had actually gone to the doctor for a rash and left with a diagnosis of diabetes. Kimball struggled with whether he would even be able to continue with racing.
According to the St. Clair Times, “He’s been able to use that passion to help educate fans about the dangers of diabetes, as well as demonstrate an ability to continue pursuing his dreams.”
Said Kimball, “While it (diabetes) may have been a speed bump, it’s definitely not a roadblock. Don’t get me wrong: I’d give it back if I could. But at the end of the day, I believe I’m a better person for it.
“I’m leading not just a normal life, but kind of an extraordinary life. With all the travel that I do, and the physical and mental aspects of being in a racecar.”
For 2009 Kimball signed to drive in Firestone Indy Lights for the new Team PBIR outfit. He stated that an influencing factor in his return to the U.S. is to increase Diabetes awareness in his home country.
And if you’re wondering how Kimball manages testing while engaged in some serious racing the St. Clair Times provides the tools of his trade, “Kimball has a number of things that set him apart from other drivers, such as a continuous glucose monitor that attaches to his steering wheel and graphs his blood sugar every five minutes so he can keep an eye on his levels while driving, and a special helmet that enables him to sip orange juice if his blood sugar levels drop while racing without lifting a finger.”
Kimball concludes by saying, “With good dietary management, good discipline, good healthcare, it doesn’t have to get in the way. I’m a big advocate of making diabetes work in your life instead of changing for diabetes.”