Evagoras Papasavvas won the 2019 KRA Series Yamaha Sportsman Championship
By Chuck Gibson
Evagoras Papasavvas is a student at Loveland Intermediate School (LIS) and finished the 2019 Kart Racing Association (KRA)Series Yamaha Sportsman 14 race season at New Castle, Indiana as points champion at age 11.
“I was really surprised, really excited,” said Evagoras. “Out of every driver, I was the one with the most wins. I won the championship.”
Evagoras started competitive racing at age nine on a track in Camden, Ohio. He entered the last day of racing with a solid fourth in standings, but dropped to sixth for the season when his engine gave up that day. In 2018, he qualified and joined Team Trinity driver development group. Driving his #71 Yamaha KT100 powered Kart; he drove his way to third overall in the KRA Club Series Sportsman Class at New Castle Motorsports Park (NCMP) in New Castle, Indiana. The 2019 KRA championship was the first one for Evagoras in just his third season of competitive racing.
“It is a big accomplishment,” Evagoras realizes. “I felt really relaxed when everything was done. Now, I just try to do it again next year.”
Evagoras began driving at age three when his parents, Sally and Nektarios Papasavvas, gave him an electric car for his birthday – which also happens to be Christmas day. It was a Mini Cooper. His mom remembers his dad saying ‘Did you see that’ as the three year old executed a “perfect” 3-point turn.
“I set up cones in the driveway,” said Nektarios. “He was very good.”
“He always wanted to go faster than everyone else,” his mom recalled. “Anything with wheels, he wanted to go faster.”
They took him to indoor facilities where he could drive the electric cars. That was more for fun. Evagoras says his dad realized he really liked it.
“I was born in cars,” said Evagoras. “The mechanical stuff, racing, I was just born like that.”
He comes by it naturally. His dad was an amateur race car driver too. Evagoras truly appreciates the experience his father had racing.
“My dad teaches me the secrets of racing,” he said. “He was a racer.”
Sally Papasavvas recognizes the benefits that come from her husband sharing his racing experience with their son. She has seen the difference with other drivers and their father’s at the track. Sometimes it looks more strained, but not with Evagoras and Nektarios.
“He is very nurturing,” she said. “They have a really strong bond.”
Nektarios says the biggest difference is Evagoras “trusts and listens” to him. The technical aspect helps quite a bit too. Evagoras already knows the importance of the technical. Even in his first season he gave feedback to his mechanic and dad telling them the car was fast, slow or felt good. Now he can pick racing points on the track – braking and turning – and tell the team if the car is understeering or oversteering.
“You have to be able to tell the mechanic what is happening,” Evagoras said. “Everything has to be set up right if you want to win.”
The race weekend begins immediately after school on Friday with a two-hour drive to New Castle, Indiana, and check into a hotel. Saturday is spent practicing at NCMP getting to know the track layout (it changes with each race). Race day Sunday has two practice sessions and two qualifying laps before they line up for the start.
“I feel nervous, excited, I don’t know if there will be a wreck,” said Evagoras. “I don’t really think about crashing. I’m repeating in my mind ‘Extreme Focus in Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.”
It is something his dad made up. It is printed on a shirt. Evagoras said he mentally visualizes the track during the warm up lap just before the green flag drops. His dad taught him no matter what happens, focus and keep on going, trying to get the corners perfect. During the race, he is focused on the next racing point on the track in front of him.
Evagoras’ #71 Kart is open wheel, sits about one inch off the pavement and races at speeds of 60-plus MPH. He’s seen incidents unfold in front of him and figured out what to do to avoid crashing. It is a concern for his mom every time he’s out there.
“My heart still goes out when he’s out there,” she said. “The bigger he gets, the faster they get.”
There have been bad moments. He recalled a bad start when the whole row of drivers passed him; he drafted and passed other drivers, worked his way to the front, and battled for the lead the last two laps. His dad taught him to never look back while racing. It might cause him to lift off the accelerator, slow down and lose focus.
Evagoras is focused on a professional racing career. Finding comfort, confidence and concentration always comes first for Evagoras. His dad calls them “The 3-C’s”. They do not talk about speed. They follow the 3-C’s process and know with comfort, confidence and concentration, the speed will come. Comfort in the car and on the track leads to confidence in his skills and speed which lead to concentration on winning the race. The race is what it is all about for Evagoras.
“The biggest thrill is racing. No matter what happens racing is the biggest thrill,” he said. “My goal is to be a Formula 1 driver and win a championship. I will keep working to get to that goal.”
Mom and Dad support him 100 percent in his pursuit of a professional racing career. At the level he currently races, the investment can range from $15,000-$35,000 for a season. Evagoras team currently has two sponsors, but the off-season focus is on finding additional sponsors for #71 as he moves forward to the national level in Spring 2020.
“This is his education,” Nektarios said. “It is not a hobby. We would not commit the time and resources for a hobby.”
Evagoras Papasavvas has set a high bar for his future in racing and in the Loveland Intermediate School classroom. He currently has earned A’s in all of his subjects at school. It is the same 3-C’s process keeping him focused, especially in the disciplines of math and science necessary for a race car driver to compete professionally.
“I set my goals high,” said Evagoras. “Put your goals as high as you can and then you’ll get higher and higher once you reach your goal.”
Learn more about Evagoras’ racing career at: www.evagoras71.com