Stuart Middleton has become the latest driver to win the coveted Ginetta Junior Scholarship competition, in the process securing himself a fully funded season in the 2015 championship.
The 15 year old finished in the top four during last year’s Scholarship competition, eventually losing out to outgoing Scholar Alex Sedgwick, and built on that experience to emerge victorious this time around.
“It’s been an amazing and fantastic time for me, to come so close last year was frustrating to say the least but all that is in the past now,” said the Northumberland-based racer, who suffers from a mild form of Asperger Syndrome.
“I can’t wait for the 2015 season to begin. There has been really tough competition this year and I am sure I will be meeting some of the other drivers on track soon.”
A total of 57 drivers took part in this year’s Scholarship competition, which took place at Bedford Autodrome over three days. Each driver took part in driving, media and fitness assessments over the first two days.
BTCC drivers Adam Morgan, Tom Ingram and Jack Goff were present as the official judges for the contest, giving each entrant one-on-one driver tuition, while Sedgwick, current Ginetta Junior champion Jack Mitchell and fellow race-winner Dan Zelos were also on hand to offer advice.
21 drivers got through to the today’s final (29 October), with each getting two further driving sessions with limited instruction. From there, Middleton, William Stacey, Cameron Roberts and William Tregurtha were selected as the final four.
They had one last ‘hot lap’ to complete, as well as a ‘live’ interview with ITV4 anchor Louise Goodman, before Middleton was selected the winner.
Alongside his prize season in the series, Middleton receives a media training session with Goodman and a half-day assessment at iZone driver performance centre at Silverstone.
“A very tough few days for all the Ginetta Junior Scholarship drivers, with rain putting added pressure on today’s finalists. It was a very close call between the final four drivers, with each quite deserving in their own right,” said chief instructor Ingram.
“In the end, I think Stuart is a very worthy winner, and I look forward to watching his first race at Brands Hatch in March 2015.”
The drivers to reach the final were Middleton, Stacey, Roberts, Tregurtha, Steven Prentice, Kyle Hornby, Max Bird, Jack Lemmer, Lewis Bowron, Harry King, Euan Wilson, Damani Marcano, Kieran Wragg, Sam Faulkner, Alex McRoberts, Theo Oliver Hesketh, Daniel Widdup, Bobby Trundley and four others.