Amid the activity on the Ginetta stand at Autosport International, surrounded by his company’s cars, Lawrence Tomlinson is a man excited about the 2013 season.
Ginetta’s ‘ladder’ of single marque – if not single model – championships remains strong, with prospective customers flocking to the stand over the four day event. However, to the Ginetta Junior, GT Supercup and GT5 Challenge series the Yorkshire based company are adding to their activity this year, stepping up their involvement in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship while encouraging young drivers into motorsport through a new partnership with Easykart.
The excitement may simply be down to the fact that Tomlinson will return to the driving seat of the Ginetta G55 GT3 for a full season (or as full as business commitments allow) in British GT alongside Richard Sykes.
However, both the announcement of the works GT team and the Easykart partnership add further rungs to the Ginetta ladder in British racing that Tomlinson and Ginetta have worked so hard to make a success.
It’s hard to disagree with them, with drivers progressing through the Junior and Supercup series that share the TOCA package with the BTCC and now looking at progressing into endurance racing in the British GT Championship. Proof, if any where needed is provided by GT Supercup stalwarts Tom Sharp and Colin White joining forces as IDL Racing with CWS and entering British GT with a G55 GT3.
Especially if a number of off-season developments aimed at treating an reliability Achilles Heal that was arrowed all too often in races during 2012 the GT3 adds a top rung onto the ladder, Sharp and White the first to test the theory.
“It’s just proves the Ginetta ladder,” Tomlinson says, “people coming in from junior motorsport up in to G50, G55’s and actually missing out GT4 and going straight into GT3.”
Tomlinson also points out that the ladder not only caters for ‘career’ drivers progressing up the series, but for gentleman drivers, a fact important as the latest step in the ladder takes Ginetta into a series where the Pro-Am make-up of driver combinations is help aloft as a selling point. He puts forward the case of his own new teammate for the season.
“He came to watch me race at Le Mans in 2006, he then brought a G20 – several G20s – and ran those, ran in the G50s and then came back and did some G40 driving, drove in the Britcar 24 in a G40 and now he’s coming back into GT3 and I’ll think he’ll be a shining example of how a gentleman driver who’s very, very good can start from G20 and get up into GT3 it’s a fantastic example of the ladder.”
While the strengthening of their GT3 product adds at the top of the ladder, the new partnership with Easykart throws down a line to those prospective drivers below the catchment currently catered for by Ginetta Juniors. As Tomlinson outlines the workings of the arrangements it is clear that the deal will benefit both karting and Ginetta, and the UK racing scene in general.
“We’ll help provide people into karting and then Easykart will work with us so that at 14 people can decide to continue in karting or take a car racing path,” he explains. “We’re working with the industry, not just taking from it, but putting back in and showing people who come into kart – them and their parents – how they can make a career in motorsport.”
The long-term goal of the Easykart partnership is to find drivers who in the future will progress up the Ginetta ladder, one day representing them at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Though the company doesn’t currently have a car eligible for Le Mans, though when Tomlinson says “yet” it is easy to get the impression it is more a matter of time. A GTE car topping the Ginetta pricelists would extend the ladder still further towards the pinnacle of GT racing.
In 2013 Ginetta’s works racing in Europe will been confined to a limited number of races, at most. Tomlinson mentions the possibility of GT races in Spain, as well as the prospect of tackling the 24 hour races on both the Nurburgring and Spa circuits, both of which currently have GT3 cars as their premier classes.
“It’s [about] going out and proving the car in new markets,” Tomlinson explains the thinking behind expanding Ginetta’s sights into Europe. “If we ran at the Spa 24 we’d have to run in the G3 category because we’re nationally homologated, but we can still go there and enjoy it and fly the flag for Ginetta.”
Taking the Ginetta G55 GT3 – almost certainly in the brand’s orange livery – into Europe would add yet another level to the Ginetta progression, the ladder bridging the channel extending still further the principle that has become central to the company’s racing exploits.