Gabby ChavesUp-and-coming motorsports star Gabby Chaves returned to his racing roots this past weekend (November 16-18), getting back behind the wheel of a kart via the 16th edition of the world renowned Superkarts! USA SuperNationals presented by MG Tires in Las Vegas, Nev. The highly-regarded Claro/Marca Colombia racer promptly showcased his talents in the TaG Senior class, besting multiple karting champions to capture a superb win on SuperSunday, further highlighting Chaves as a true racing talent.

Chaves, like many formula car drivers, first started his motorsports journey in the karting ranks, winning not only numerous race, but also championships before making the move up to car competition. While the 19-year-old’s focus since 2007 has been on working his way up the junior formula car ladder – capturing the 2006-07 Skip Barber Regional Southern Series championship, 2009 Formula BMW Americas title, 2010 Italian Formula 3 Championship Rookie of the Year award, and finishing second in Star Mazda Championship this year – he has always maintained close contacts within the karting ranks. As a result, upon completing of his race-winning season in the Star Mazda Championship, Chaves was asked by Keane Racing to reunite with his mentor and coach in karts, Daniel Villa, for the prestigious year-end SuperNationals. Well aware that this was a great opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a competitive kart, Chaves immediately said yes to the invitation.

Racing in the TaG Senior class, the former karting standout knew he would be going head-to-head against a very large and talented field – 90 racers were slated to take part – as well as be battling multiple champions, including the World Champion Charles Leclerc, European champion Denis Olsen, Australian champion David Sera, and soon to be crowned American champion Phil De La O.

The action on the temporary course in the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino commenced, as planned, with Chaves not only getting re-acclimated to high-level kart competition, but working with Villa to steadily develop his Tony Kart chassis for his driving style, the track layout, and conditions. Continually learning, Chaves was excited about his prospects entering the lone qualifying run, which would set his starting position for the three Heat races.

Chaves ultimately did not find the desired speed in Group 1 qualifying, the faster group, posting the 16th best time. Despite the result, the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy racer was confident he could work his way forward in the races.

With an eye towards getting quality finishes in all three Heat races, as the combined results would set the grid for the SuperSunday finale, Chaves got the ball rolling in the right direction in his opening race (Group A vs. Group D), avoiding the expected incidents and further improving his kart en route to a 12th place finish.

The talented racer, however, really began making his mark in Heat two (Group B vs. Group D), thanks a stellar drive to second place, following home the European champion.

With a strong follow-up sixth place finish in his final Heat race (Group C vs. Group D), Chaves secured a starting place among the leaders for the TaG Senior final at the 2013 SuperNationals.

As the first karts on track for SuperSunday at the SuperNats, Chaves did not have to wait long to showcase his talents in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Getting a great launch, the Keane Racing pilot was quickly part of lead pack, and looking for more. Mixing speed and aggression, Chaves was up to a sublime second place by lap 10 of the 25-lap affair. Within two laps he was in the lead thanks to well executed pass under braking. While he almost immediately relinquished the top spot, Chaves remained glued to rear of the new leader willing to bide his time and make his move later in the race. The opportunity came on lap 21, when he once again took over first place through another great overtaking maneuver. This time it was for good, as despite some heavy pressure in the final two tours, Chaves emerged with a spectacular win.

“It’s hard to describe how excited I am about winning,” stated Chaves. “We worked all week on going faster, and thanks to some fantastic work by my engineer Daniel [Villa] and the entire Keane Racing crew, I had great kart today. It’s a real honor to win at the SuperNationals, and a great way to end what has been very good season of racing.”

Chaves will now have a brief break, before resuming his duties as a FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy racer and working on preparations for the 2013 race season.

Those interested in supporting Chaves’ charge towards a career in the upper echelon of motorsports are encouraged to contact Chaves and/or his management team.