The 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship is set to be the biggest and best in recent memory with a sold out 26 car entry set to commence battle in twenty races across the country.
The eleventh running of the BTCC support championship will feature full title sponsorship from Kick Start Energy through an expanded partnership with Global Brands after a successful trial at the end of the last season.
Following a mixed few years in terms of grid sizes, the championship is enjoying a boom this year and is set to smash its all-time highest grid number which currently sits at 22, a number reached in 2008 and 2009.
With last year’s championship top three, Jack Mitchell, James Kellett and Lando Norris, moving onto pastures new, it’s two of the race-winning rookies from the previous campaign who top the bill this season, Dan Zelos and Jamie Caroline.
Zelos returns with reigning champions JHR Developments having secured a fourth place championship standing last year with wins at Thruxton and Rockingham, plus seven other top three finishes. Continuity with the team should prove the foundation for a championship challenge that is expected with Zelos coming back as the highest placed returning driver.
For Caroline meanwhile, a switch from Total Control Racing to HHC Motorsport for an ultimately title-winning run in the Winter Series has led to a full season deal. Returning with backing from Pirtek and 2013 BTCC champion Andrew Jordan, the double-winner from the main campaign is hoping to make it three drivers’ titles in four years for HHC.
JHR will also be challenging for the title with Senna Proctor, who took an outright podium finish at Knockhill last year and the runners-up spot in the Winter Series last year. Those performances caught the eye of leading BTCC squad Team BMR, with them signing him up to the team to run under their banner, with JHR preparing the car.
Hoping to battle with them at the front of the field will be a host of second year drivers who are aiming to move up the grid with the experience of their maiden campaigns under their belts, including Flashman Finneran (Tollbar Racing), Lewis Brown (R&J Motorsport) and Harry Mailer (Hillspeed).
Jonathan Hadfield looks likely to be a front-runner, the R&J runner having broken into the top six from the off last year, whilst regular top ten finishers Matt Chapman and Billy Monger will have podiums in their sights with Total Control racing and JHR Developments respectively.
As always, a pack of rookies are joining the championship for their first seasons in car-racing and within them are the top four finishers from last year’s Ginetta Junior Scholarship competition.
Winner Stuart Middleton is embarking on his fully-funded season with Douglas Motorsport, who return to the series after a year away, while runners-up Cameron Roberts, Will Stacey and Will Tregurtha will be hoping to beat him with Total Control Racing, JamSport and Richardson Chassis Engineering respectively, the latter two being new teams to the series.
Some of the Rookie Cup entrants already have a handful of races under their belt already, with many of them impressing during last November’s Winter Series. Patrik Matthiesen took a podium finish with HHC, as did Elite Motorsport’s reigning BRSCC Fiesta Junior champion Geri Nicosia, earmarking both as early contenders for the Rookie honours.
Esmee Hawkey will be hoping to challenge them with JHR, the 17 year old having broken into the top fifteen during a six race spell at the end of last season, whilst Tollbar’s Alex Day has strong pedigree having won races in the Junior Saloon Car Championship last year alongside a top five finish in the Junior Winter Series.
Ben Green (SuperGreen Racing) also made his debut in the Winter Series, whilst returning to the grid after appearances in the main 2014 campaign are Benjamin Wallace (Hillspeed), who ran at three meetings, and Brands Hatch finale debutant Sebastian Perez (JHR Developments).
Alongside the four Scholarship finalists, there are six other complete drivers who enter the upcoming season with absolutely no previous car-racing experience: Dave Wooder (Total Control Racing), Sophia Floersch (HHC Motorsport), Tristan Charpentier (Tollbar Racing), Rowan Bailey (JHR Developments) and Kyle Hornby and Frank Bird (both R&J Motorsport).
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