The teenage sensations in the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance are back to thrill trackside audiences. David Addison reports
A year ago, BTCC audiences watched the Juniors perform at the highest level for the first time: they were not disappointed. After a season of thrilling races, in which the whizz-kids belied their age, motor racing’s ultimate classroom is back on the grid. With drivers ranging from 14 to 17 years old, these 1400cc pocket-rockets are the perfect training ground. Close racing, all designed to hone a driver’s racing – and overtaking – skills, evenly-matched cars and a large entry add up to make this one of the most competitive categories in UK motor racing.
A number of drivers come from karting, some are new to the sport, all are ambitious. From last year’s entry, returning drivers team-mates Ashley Craig and Jake Rattenbury (Muzz Racing) are likely to be the pace-setters, whilst Sarah and David Moore come from Ginetta-champion stock: elder brother Nigel dominated the G50 Championship last year.
Jake Hill, son of racer-turned-commentator Simon, will be one to watch as he moves up from karting, whilst Jake Cook, nephew of ex-BTCC racer Paula Cook, starts his second season. Aaron Williamson went well in 2008 after two seasons in SaxMax racing, and the ex-Ministox and BriSCA F2 racer will be aiming to be one of the front-runners.
A feature of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance is the intake of karting graduates taking their first steps on the car racing ladder. Adam Bonham is one such driver, fresh from two years in the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow category, Mitchell Hale took third in the Spanish KF3 Championship last year and Tom Ingram is another graduate from the Stars of Tomorrow ranks. Louise Richardson won the MSA Kartmasters shoot-out and will be racing the Teenage Cancer Trust-liveried car, whilst Belgian Anthony Sauvan is another to step up from karts.
Carl Stirling, the 2008 British Open Champion in the KF3 class, will be one to watch. His karting pedigree is impressive and, whilst he is new to cars, he can be expected to shine.
That’s the beauty of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance – you see tomorrow’s stars, today.
Qualifying for the opening rounds of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance takes place on Saturday 4 April at 11:55, with race one that afternoon at 17:10. Race two ison Sunday 5 April at 12:10.