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E-karts series 'to answer Hamilton's call' for grassroots diversity in racing

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A cheaper, all-electric karting series will launch in 2020 with the stated of aim of answering world champion Lewis Hamilton's call for greater diversity in motor racing.

Hamilton has been critical of how difficult motor racing is to access for children from underprivileged backgrounds. The six-time world champion famously came from one himself in the U.K town of Stevenage but has since become one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.

Speaking on the Graham Norton Show last November, Hamilton said: "[Motor racing] has got a lot worse.

"My dad spent something like £20,000 and re-mortgaged the house several times in our first years. But today it has gotten so expensive so there are very few or no working class families on their way up. It is all rich and wealthy families."

On Friday a new series named Electroheads was launched, aiming to open up racing to those from similar backgrounds. Run by former Ferrari and Williams technician Rob Smedley, who now works for F1, the series will feature electric karts designed to have a closer parity in performance, thus making competitive form more about driver ability and less about the funding behind each driver.

The e-karts series will be rolled out in certain categories in the U.K. this year. Smedley referenced Hamilton's quotes with the launch of the series.

"For the next generation of racers, the era of the petrolhead is coming to a close. The whole philosophy of the Electroheads group is to get digital natives to experience the unique awe of the electric revolution," Smedley said.

"As Lewis Hamilton himself said recently: racing has become too expensive and is not diverse enough. I totally agree. Through electrification we can change that. We will be the driving force to inspire, energise and thrill racers as they climb the ladder. It is cleaner, cheaper, faster and importantly, fairer.

"At Electroheads we know that electrification can be the vehicle for democratising motorsport and it starts at the grassroots and it starts today."

The series launched with a tweet saying "Cleaner. Cheaper. Faster. Fairer."