Mathew Hart in action in 2011.
He dreamed of being the next Mark Webber, now Mathew Hart's motor racing career is washed up at 18 and he's hoping to drive heavy machines at the mines.
The Australian Formula Ford Championship, a breeding ground for some of the country's most successful racers, will be axed at the end of this season because of rising costs and lack of financial support.
But Hart, a young Canberra driver who was rookie of the year in 2011 and finished runner-up in the Formula Ford series in 2012, had seen the writing on the wall.
Despite impressing national and international teams in testing, Hart quit racing last December, disillusioned that money rather than talent was ruining the sport.
Among Formula Ford's most notable graduates are Formula One drivers Webber and Daniel Ricciardo, IndyCar pilot Will Power, NASCAR's Marcos Ambrose, as well as V8 Supercars champions Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander.
Hart said he had submitted about 150 sponsorship proposals before abandoning racing and he feared for the development of Australian drivers.
''It's not good for Australian motor sport considering most of the V8 Supercar drivers and people who go overseas start in Formula Ford and learn their race craft from that,'' Hart said.
''Me and my family could see it coming, we couldn't afford to race, numbers were dropping and the corporate sponsorship from within Formula Ford was dropping as well … I didn't think it would be this soon.''
Hart ventured overseas last year to trial for seats in America and Europe. Despite leading testing for the US S2000 Championship in America and the Lotus GT Junior team in Spain, he would have had to pay up to $200,000 a year to drive competitively.
Hart's parents had already remortgaged their home to help fund their son's aspirations but he has now walked away.
''It all adds up and it's pretty disappointing to just throw it away like that and not have the opportunity to take it further,'' Hart said.
''I'd really love to be behind a car and make a career from it, that's what I'm good at, but the money you have to find these days to race is just ridiculous.
''I can't really see where the rest of the talent's going to come through, to develop skills to race V8 Supercars or go overseas.''
Hart, who has worked as a brickies' labourer this year, is now unemployed.
''I want to get into driving machines and go to the mines.''