After his 2020 season was stunted, like many others, due to COVID-19, Costa Toparis has returned with a vengeance in 2021.
The Goulburn resident has started in 10 races this year and earned eight wins, a record which once again stakes the 14-year-old's claim to be one of the brightest young motorsport talents in Australia.
He has recorded victories in both state and national events, such as the 2021 ACT Club Championships and State Titles, the second round of the Australian Karting Championship, and, most recently, the Australian Rotax Pro Tour round in Queensland last weekend.
More impressively, Costa has achieved all this in an Under 16s division, featuring bigger karts and many competitors who are older than him.
"It took a little bit of time for him to adjust, but he's basically undefeated in Karting NSW events since last year," Costa's father, Con Toparis, said.
"He's made the transition extremely well. It doesn't matter whether he goes to a state or national championship, whether he wins or he doesn't, he generally records the fastest lap."
With his sheer speed on the track, Costa is consistently among the leaders in almost every race in which he competes.
What currently holds him back from improving his results even further, Con said, is his propensity for less-than-pristine starts.
"Unfortunately, there are still lots of incidents early in the races," he said.
"There's a little bit of luck involved. Generally you can create your own luck and control your own luck, so he's got work to do in the opening laps. But overall, in a 20 or 22-lap final, he's very hard to beat at the moment."
So far in 2021, Costa's results have been so strong that improving on small flaws might seem redundant. But with an eye on this year's Rotax Grand Finals in Bahrain, he knows that every second will count.
After an unlucky third-place finish in the 2019 world championship finals in Italy, Costa is determined to make amends. And he has taken much of the preparation into his own hands.
"Costa works really hard at it, he trains hard," Con said.
"He does a lot of the work on the go-karts himself. He's often up late at night working in the garage preparing them.
"He's very disciplined with what he has to do to get the results."
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