Dan Zelos is targeting a top three championship finish in the Kick Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship this season as he prepares for his sophomore year in the BTCC support category.
Zelos established himself as one of the stars of the championship in his maiden year. A superb breakthrough victory early on at Thruxton set the tone, with a second race win at Rockingham and seven other podium finishes following as he finished fourth in the standings.
Returning as part of a six car line-up for reigning champions JHR Developments, his team-mate Jack Mitchell having secured the title last year, Zelos is looking forward to the year ahead with a sold-out 26 car entry set for the Brands Hatch opener.
“I can’t wait for the season to start,” said Zelos. “There’s some guys I know from karting that are joining the championship as well as a few drivers returning from last year, so it’s nice to have some good friends in the paddock, but once we’re on track we’re racing drivers and I’ll want to beat them.
“I think it will be a good season, it will be very close at the front with some top guys returning from last year and some quick newcomers, so I think they’ll be some unexpected names at the front. We’ve got a big team this year with six of us, so that should hopefully help us.”
Zelos’ preparations for the new season started with the Winter Series at his home circuit of Snetterton last November, during which the Dereham-based racer picked up a hat-trick of second place finishes.
Over that weekend, Zelos was ultimately unable to match the pace of eventual champions Jamie Caroline and HHC Motorsport, but feels progress on this has been made in his pre-season testing since.
“I wanted to go in there at Snetterton, a circuit close to home, and get a win or two, but unfortunately we weren’t quick enough against the HHC boys, so that’s what we’re working on in pre-season,” he explains.
“We’ve had a couple of test days so far since and even though it’s been mixed conditions, we feel like we’ve made a few steps forward. We’ve got a few more things to try in a few more test days to come before Brands Hatch.”
After such an impressive rookie campaign, Zelos rightfully heads into the new season as one of the early favourites for the title, especially with the 16 year old being the highest placed returning driver from 2014.
Zelos has his feet firmly on the ground though and whilst he admits he’d love to follow the likes of Dino Zamparelli, Seb Morris and Charlie Robertson into the record books as a Junior champion, he says his focus is on continuing to learn his craft in his second season of car-racing.
“I don’t want to come out and say ‘I’m going out to win it’, when this season and this championship is still about me building my experience in cars, learning the tracks and building my racecraft to help me go on to bigger things in the future,” Zelos concluded.
“I would love to win the title, it would be amazing to do so, but it’s going to be a very competitive year with plenty of carnage I expect, so I’d definitely be happy with a top three championship finish whilst building my experience and enjoying my racing.”