Jack Mitchell feels exploiting his early pace and then focusing on consistently picking up points were the key elements to his championship-winning efforts in the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship.
Mitchell’s title challenge got off to an ideal start with a dominant run in his JHR Developments-prepared Ginetta G40J, with six wins in the first eight races giving him a 66 point lead at the head of the standings as he left Oulton Park.
Speaking to TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk, Mitchell believes a comprehensive pre-season programme was vital to his early success.
“The start of the season we put in so much testing to try and get the car sorted from last year, and we found so much time in myself and the car, which meant we came into the first few rounds with so much pace,” Mitchell explained.
“After our success, the others started to put in a similar amount of testing themselves and they started to catch up, so by mid-season the pace was fairly similar at the front.
“That’s when I started to focus on not doing anything silly, because I didn’t want to lose any points in the championship, I just wanted to keep consistent.”
Mitchell pinpointed one particular incident at Thruxton in May that changed his mindset for the season, when an attempted last lap move for the lead at the final chicane ended with a spin and a sixth place finish.
“After Thruxton when I went for the move on Jamie [Caroline] in the second race and spun, that was when I learnt my lesson and knew I needed to focus on being consistent, as I lost a lot of points from that and didn’t want to do it again,” he reflected.
From Croft prior to the summer break onwards, it was Mitchell’s rivals HHC Motorsport who established themselves as the dominant force in the series, taking nine of the final twelve race wins.
While Mitchell only picked up five podium finishes in that spell, adding one more race win to his tally on the penultimate weekend at Silverstone, the champion admits HHC’s pace didn’t phase him as he focused on the long-term objective.
“I wasn’t really that bothered with their wins, as I wanted to win the championship at the end of the season rather than win races,” stated the 16 year old. “Ultimately, I’m happy with the number of wins we’ve had and the championship result.”
Steadily accruing points over the second half of the season, Mitchell nearly wrapped up the title with a weekend to spare at Silverstone, fourth in the final race just not quite proving enough.
Instead, he headed to the season finale at Brands Hatch needing to take one point to seal the crown, securing the honours at the home circuit for himself and for the Motorbase Performance team that have supported him this season.
“It all paid off, as we were able to come to Brands and have a fairly easy weekend,” he reflected. “It’s really good to have wrapped it up here, as I’ve got all my friends and family here to support me and it’s good to have them around me to celebrate the championship win with me.”
Whilst Mitchell acknowledges its early days yet in terms of his plans for next season, a return to the BTCC support package is the primary objective.
Mitchell concluded: “We’re not too sure yet, we’re going to start testing some cars soon and then decide. We are looking to stay on this BTCC package though, with the television coverage and the crowds, it’s the place to be really.”