When I was four years old I did lots of fun stuff. I had toys, played with friends, and went to pre-school. I was no overachiever like Leonardo Panayiotou, that's for sure. He might look like your average cute kid, but he's much more than that. I had a bike with training wheels. Panayiotou is racing cars, and getting paid for it.
Panayiotou drives a go-cart at the track where Lewis Hamilton got his start. He spends over 16 hours per week training and has snared over $17,000 worth of sponsorships from five different companies. Panayiotou might be a good driver and all, but that's a lot of money to spend on a four-year-old, isn't it? While I might be a wee-bit skeptical, others clearly aren't.
Rye House manager Steve Cutting said: "I've been at the track for eight years and in the business for 15 and he is the most outstanding and talented driver I've seen for his age."Cutting has a point, but it's probably due to the fact that the sample size is small. You have to assume that most parents wouldn't let a kid that age go anywhere near a go-cart.
Anyhow, Panayiotou's clearly got something special. Due to insurance rules the poor kid won't be able to race competitively for another four years, so let's hope this doesn't turn into a Marinovich-type affair. And while four years may seem like a lifetime to Panayiotou (because it is!), those insurance companies have a point. But perhaps they should go further. Do we really need eight-year-old competitive racing? What happened to soccer?