Successful Porsche Carrera Cup GB outfit Team Parker Racing tasted success on their debut in the Ginetta Junior Championship at Thruxton last weekend. The team are running three cars for Chris Swanwick, Adam Bonham and Finlay Ratcliffe in the series for 2010, which has seen the debut of the brand new Ginetta G40 model replacing the old G20 Junior.
The series, which is for drivers between the ages of fourteen and seventeen supports the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and gives the youngsters a great place to be seen and noticed by the leading teams in other categories.
Swanwick, who is from Nottingham, took the team's maiden podium finish in their debut race. Qualifying third for the first race, Swanwick was with the lead pack for the whole race, and took the lead with a move on Jake Hill at the Complex, finishing the nine lap race second overall.
Swanwick's team mates Bonham and Ratcliffe both had encouraging races, second year driver Bonham finished the opening race sixth having qualified outside the top ten in eleventh place.
For Ratcliffe, this was his maiden car race and with limited karting experience meant that his debut wouldn't be easy. The qualifying session saw the youngster set the thirteenth best time of the session, before finishing his first race in fourteenth place.
Race two was a case of so near so far for Swanwick. As in the first race of the season, Swanwick was running solidly up with the leaders, but ended up finishing the race down in seventh place after contact while disputing the lead caused a spin, before a minor gearbox problem on the final lap robbed the Nottingham youngster of another top six finish and the chance to claim the new lap record. Swanwick crossed the line to finish race two in seventh. Speaking about his weekend, Swanwick said: “I could have won the first race, but I didn't want to do anything drastic or silly and throw it away. I need the points because I'm aiming for the championship, so it's a shame what happened in race two.”
For Bonham, another consistent race performance saw the youngster back up his sixth in race one with a tenth in race two, while debutant Ratcliffe backed up his fourteenth place in race one with eighteenth and last in race two.
Speaking about the teams weekend performance was Danny Buxton, former Clio Cup driver and Ginetta Junior driver coach for the team: “For our first race as a new team it was awesome, but I was so nervous! I've spent all winter in the car with our drivers, and it was so rewarding for Chris to get such a great result.
“The second race was ours for the taking until Chris's spin, but it bodes well for the championship because he's obviously the quickest out there.
“We know Adam's talented and he proved he can do it in the first race, while considering his lack of experience Finlay obviously has natural ability that needs honing.”
Race two of the twenty races Championship got live television coverage on ITV4, as part of the live BTCC coverage. The race was also streamed live on itv.com.
Rounds three and four of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship take place at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire on the 24/25 April.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography