You can do two things when faced with adversity: you can either give up, or strive to improve and prove any doubters wrong, and Kilmaronock racing driver Ross Martin chose the latter.

Just last year at the age of 16, the youngster’s promising racing career looked on the up after winning the Formula Kart Stars series, a development circuit which spawned the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta.

He was rewarded with a seat in a Formula Four car and a fully funded year in the MSA Formula Championship with the renowned Fortec Motorsport team.

But after just three meetings, the company backing him went bust.

His contract, worth more than £200,000 over the season with Kart Stars, was torn up, with three times Le Mans winner and mentor Allan McNish ringing up Martin, telling him he’d lost his drive and everything he’d worked so hard for.

But now a year on, the former Balfron High School pupil was crowned Scottish Formula Ford 1600 champion at Knockhill earlier this month, and now has a shot at the ‘Road to Indy’ shootout on December 6/7.

He will be one of the 16 racers who are targeting the $200,000 scholarship to compete in the F2000 National Championship, and a chance at the big time in the USA.

Walt Disney once said: “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me….You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you,” and that certainly rings true for Martin.

He said: “I got a phone call from Allan McNish, who mentored me over the years, saying to me that I wasn’t racing - I felt as if that was one of the worst things that could happen to me.

“For a week after I didn’t have contact with anyone outside of my family. I was in complete shutdown.

“I couldn’t bear to show face or talk to anyone because I felt almost embarrassed.

“These things do happen but because I was so young, I thought I had that opportunity and I thought I’d lost it, I couldn’t deal with it.

“I think being 16 at the time, my character has changed a lot, my opinions on life and how the sport works and I think it’s benefited me hugely in all stretches of life.

“I’ve got a full-time job so I have to balance that out, I’m training a lot harder and my whole character, I think it’s changed.

“I’m much more dedicated, I seem to be able to switch on and off a lot more, if things are needing to be done they will get done the racing side of it.

“I was so determined to bounce back. That was my main aim for this year.”

But that wasn’t even the end of the troubles for Martin over this last year.

The 17-year-old suffered a serious crash in June, his car rolling eight times before eventually coming to a halt after colliding with another car.

Luckily he was unscathed, although he wasn’t thinking about himself when it happened.

He added: “Halfway through the race, my car gearbox selector went, which meant I couldn’t select third gear. I ended up in second going into the last lap. The leader crashed into me.

“I remember jumping out of the car and my dad ran down to me in the car and all I could remember seeing was the gearbox.

“I wasn’t caring about myself, I was just caring about how I’d lost the race.”

That competitive nature will stand him in good stead when he’s up against the best to compete for a spot in Arizona.

He said: “It’s better than a million pound cheque to me. It’s what a racing driver dreams of - to have that opportunity to go to Arizona. What a facility to be going out to, the circuit is top notch, I’ve read reviews and watched videos and I cannot wait to get out there.

“It’s going to be a huge part of my career and hopefully my life.”

Before his big trip to Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, he faces some big tasks.

After finishing the regular season this weekend in Anglesey, Martin has two more races before heading to Arizona, one of those is to compete in the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, the world’s largest Formula Ford 1600 event at the home of British motor racing.

America has always been a dream for the youngster, who first picked up his love for racing on a family holiday at age seven in Cyprus.

He added: “I’ve always been a motorsport fan, two wheels and four wheels.

“But I remember watching stuff on TV and you always think heading to the States growing up, it’s always where you want to end up.”

While he’s dominated the Scottish racing circuit this year, it will be a whole different task against 15 other champions who have secured their ticket.

Martin said: “A one in `16 chance sounds pretty good - but you’re up against the best.

“It’ll be a tough old time but I’m definitely up for it.”