While he may have missed out on the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship title to Jack Mitchell, James Kellett has told TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk of his delight at finishing runner-up in what he sees as “probably the hardest junior championship in the world.”
The HHC Motorsport racer headed into the year as the pre-season championship favourite after picking up the main championship Rookie Cup honours and the Winter Series title during his maiden campaign in 2013.
A slow start to the season ultimately cost Kellett his chance at the title though, the 16 year old taking just one podium finish in the first six races, coupled with first lap contact at the Brands opener and a retirement at Donington Park.
That meant that even with his first race win at Croft in late June, he finished the first half of the season over one hundred points behind Mitchell.
The Leeds-based racer did go on to hit top form in the second half of the year though, with four more race wins meaning he outscored the eventual champion by 48 points over the final ten races.
While it proved too little too late for the title, those results did allow Kellett to fend off the advances of his rookie team-mate Lando Norris to secure the runners-up spot.
“It’s been a brilliant season of racing. I had a bit of bad luck at the start of the season, but I put that behind me and the second half has been absolutely amazing,” said Kellett.
“I was fighting for the championship to the very end, but Jack [Mitchell] got a good lead, so it just wasn’t enough in that respect. I had to keep my sights on second too though, and had to work really hard in the last few meetings to ensure I kept the spot.
“It’s probably the hardest junior championship in the world, there’s some really good, close racing and some great drivers that have come from the Juniors, so it’s a privilege to finish second in the series.”
Ending the season with eleven podium finishes, four pole positions and six fastest laps under his belt, Kellett feels he has made huge stride forwards as a driver over the course of the campaign.
“I’ve definitely become a better driver this season,” the Yorkshireman reflected.
“I’ve kept my calm, been more consistent as a driver on track which is good for teams looking at me, and my racecraft has definitely improved, so now I can go into something next year with confidence I can do well.”
With two years of Ginetta Juniors under his belt, Kellett is now ready to move away from the series and make the next step in his career.
Similar to his HHC stablemate Charlie Robertson, who followed his spell in the Juniors with a year in BRDC Formula 4 before returning to Ginetta’s, Kellett is eyeing up a switch to single-seaters next season ahead of a return to GT’s or tin-tops in 2016.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to do a little bit of single-seaters next year, but it obviously depends the money side of things,” Kellett concluded.
“I’d like to do a year of single-seaters to get it under my belt, to get that racing experience, and then go onto something bigger and better than the G40’s after that.”