British kart ace Nathan Harrison will graduate to car racing after agreeing terms to join Hillspeed Racing in the Ginetta Junior Championship for 2012.
The Oxfordshire-based 15-year old has been offered a two-year deal to move up from karting after a stellar 2011 campaign in which he finished second in the Junior Rotax class of both the Super 1 National and Euro Challenge competitions, before taking sixth on the road at the Rotax Max World Finals in Abu Dhabi.
Harrison will join one of the strongest teams in the series in Hillspeed, which claimed the 2011 title with Welshman Seb Morris, as well as coming out on top of the teams’ championship. Active in other categories, the team also claimed the 2011 BARC Formula Renault Winter Series title for good measure, and remains unbeaten in Ginetta Juniors, having claimed both the main and winter titles in 2010 with Tom Ingram and Morris respectively.
“I couldn’t ask to be joining a better team for my first season in car racing,” Harrison admitted, “Hillspeed Racing has an incredible pedigree in both sportscars and single-seaters, and that will hopefully make the transition from karting much easier.”
The Botley-based teenager will have to learn most of the circuits that the Ginetta Junior series visits in 2012, having focused his racing activities to this point on karting. Indeed, his initial plan had been to remain in karting this season, with the opportunity to contest any number of series in the UK and abroad, before the chance to join Hillspeed arose courtesy of a third party prepared to fund the campaign.
“I am fortunate to have been offered a two-year deal by the team, which will allow me time to learn the circuits in 2012,” he confirmed, “However, even though I am going to be a rookie this year, I am confident that I will be able to get to grips with the different discipline of racing a car, and am keen to be running at the front of the field as soon as possible.”
While Harrison’s enthusiasm for joining Hillspeed is evident, the team is equally excited to have landed one of the top rated kart racers in the UK.
“Nathan is clearly a very exciting talent,” team owner Richard Ollerenshaw commented, “We weren’t aware that a switch to cars was imminent, and a deal only really came about because Ginetta was pro-active in giving kart racers a
chance to test at Bedford Autodrome in December. But Nathan really stood out. It was immediately apparent that he is a focused individual determined to succeed - and we’d always like to work with anyone who shows that sort of drive.”
As a result of his deal, Harrison will also be plying his trade before both a large live and television audience as the Ginetta Junior series supports the highly popular British Touring Car Championship. Seven hours of live raceday coverage captures all of the action as it happens, with additional highlight programmes also broadcast ‘free-to-air’ on ITV4. Television audiences were up by more than 40 per cent in 2011, building on the 14m+ that tuned in the previous season, while more than 350,000 race fans poured through the gates to watch live at the ten rounds, putting the BTCC package on a par with Premiership football and other major UK sporting events.
“It is very exciting to know that all my races will be shown live on national television,” Harrison concluded, “I’ve been involved in a lot of big events during my karting career, but this is a different level altogether. I can’t wait to get going – and hopefully bring more success to the Hillspeed team.”
Nathan is seeking sponsorship to help him to continue to progress his burgeoning career in 2012. If you are interested in supporting him, please contact Steve Harrison on 07710 380295 or at firstname.lastname@example.org