As we hope you're aware, we've teamed up with the Official Nintendo UK Store to run the Mario Kart 8 Championship 2014 in the UK, looking for the country's fastest racer who'll receive some fantastic prizes.

This Championship has four online heats, with the top three in each of those heats then progressing to a live final at EGX London - two weeks today - on Saturday 27th September. We've completed three of our four heats, with the final heat taking place tomorrow, Sunday 14th September - so if you haven't yet tried your hand at qualifying you still have one last chance!

With the final fast approaching we thought we should introduce our finalists and congratulate them on their achievement making the Mario Kart 8 Championship grand final.


Finalist #1

Name: Luke "Voodoo" Chandler

Nintendo Network ID: VoodooMoon

Qualified: Heat 1, 234 points (joint 1st place)

Which was your first Mario Kart game?
Super Mario Kart (Snes)

Which character do you play as in MK8, and why?
The Mii 'cus I like the attire, also the lightweights aren't the best in 8, which is a little sad.

What is your favourite new feature of MK8?
Retro tracks getting Complete Makeovers

Which is your favourite Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GameCube)

What is your favourite memory of playing Mario Kart?
Getting that Parade Kart in Double Dash!!

Which is your favourite Nintendo game series?
Super Smash Bros.

Which is your favourite Nintendo system of all time?
Gamecube

How do you feel about competing in a live final at EGX London?
I'm excited and ready to roll.


Finalist #2

Name: Stacy "Stacy1199" Needham

Nintendo Network ID: Stacy1199

Qualified: Heat 1, 234 points (joint 1st place)

Which was your first Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart 64

Which character do you play as in MK8, and why?
Morton, as he's fast (and I like the funny noises he makes)

What is your favourite new feature of MK8?
Firehopping (not so much a feature, but it's the best part of this new MK)

Which is your favourite Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

What is your favourite memory of playing Mario Kart?
Setting the world record on Koopa Cape (Mario Kart Wii) with a time of 2:24.970 around a month after the game came out.

Which is your favourite Nintendo game series?
Mario Kart

Which is your favourite Nintendo system of all time?
Gamecube (best MK, best Smash game, best controller design, what else can I say?)

How do you feel about competing in a live final at EGX London?
Excited!


Finalist #3

Name: Callum "Zap" Douglas

Nintendo Network ID: Zapteryx

Qualified: Heat 1, 229 points (3rd place)

Which was your first Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart Double Dash

Which character do you play as in MK8, and why?
Bowser generally as he has the best character stats and I prefer him to the other superheavies (morton/wario/mii), though I also occasionally play as Daisy for no other reason than I like her.

What is your favourite new feature of MK8?
Probably the antigravity, but as a time trialer I'm also really happy Nintendo decided to include online leaderboards.

Which is your favourite Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart 7

What is your favourite memory of playing Mario Kart?
My favourite memory is fairly recent, as it was the day after MK8's european release. I managed to get the World Record on Mario Circuit, and while it may not have lasted long it'll always be my first WR.

Which is your favourite Nintendo game series?
Either Pokemon or Fire Emblem

Which is your favourite Nintendo system of all time?
Gamecube

How do you feel about competing in a live final at EGX London?
Very excited!


Finalist #4

Name: James "Abyssion" Leare

Nintendo Network ID: PhoenixRise89

Qualified: Heat 2, 240 points (1st place, maximum score)

Which was your first Mario Kart game?
Mario Kart Double Dash at 14

Which character do you play as in MK8?
Any of the heavyweights (Heavy Mii, Morton, Bowser, Wario) but mostly Heavy Mii, due to the favourable stats.

What is your favourite new feature of MK8?
Firehopping and the Time Trial leaderboards. I'm quite an avid Time Trial-er so the option to download a number of ghosts including the World Records and see their strategies is very appealing to me.

Which is your favourite Mario Kart game?
I honestly think that, generally speaking, the series has improved with each installment so I will have to say MK8. I enjoy the mechanics, the course variety and am looking forward to the upcoming DLC.

What is your favourite memory of playing Mario Kart?
So many potentials I could list but a favourite has to be achieving the World Record on Maple Treeway in Mario Kart Wii. It was early on in the game's lifespan and it only lasted for a few days, but I was happy to have held it.

Which is your favourite Nintendo game series?
Does Xenoblade or Theatrhythm count? I'm actually not a massive Nintendo fan!

Which is your favourite Nintendo system of all time?
3DS, due to the very impressive games library.

How do you feel about competing in a live final at EGX London?
Terrified and excited in equal measure.

Double points are awarded to any eagled-eyed Nintendo Life reader who spotted that James in fact won one of our Mario Kart 7 tournaments at Eurogamer Expo 2013 last year (skip to 4:11):


Thank you to our finalists for taking part in this article and thank you to everyone who has entered our Mario Kart 8 Championship so far, look out for two more articles over the next two weeks introducing finalists 5-8 and 9-12.

[via nintendolife.com]