With four different winners in the opening five races, unpredictability and competition are the key ingredients in the Ginetta Junior Championship this season as the series prepares to head south for its annual visit to Thruxton this weekend (7/8 May).
Following a successful first triple-header meeting at Donington Park three weeks ago, the championship reverts back to its usual two race format this weekend, but there’s sure to be no less thrills and spills as the field battle for supremacy around the high-speed Hampshire circuit.
Heading the pack at the moment is Stuart Middleton, who has started the season in great style with a race win and a second place on each of the opening two weekends to secure himself an early 23 point championship lead.
The Douglas Motorsport ace will be confident of more success this weekend having taken pole position and a podium finish at the circuit twelve months ago, whilst also setting the pace in the official pre-event TOCA test there last month.
Consistency has been the key to Dave Wooder’s challenge so far with top four finishes in each of the five races to date, with a maiden victory the next target for the Total Control Racing ace – likewise for Kyle Hornby, who has had a tougher than hoped start to the season.
Two drivers who have already notched their first category wins so far this season are HHC Motorsport team-mates Will Tregurtha and Lewis Brown, the latter taking his long-awaited victory at the 43rd attempt.
Geri Nicosia heads to Hampshire buoyed by a best Junior finish so far of fifth at Donington, and he could be in the podium picture along with Cameron Roberts, who led a Junior race for the first time in the first reverse grid encounter of the season.
Three drivers keen to make an impression at the head of the field meanwhile will be Connor Grady, Seb Perez and Charlie Fagg. The latter two have secured top ten finishes so far, with Fagg in particular more than capable of challenging for front-running results.
The Thruxton meeting has been dominated by rookies in the last couple of years, with maiden victories for Dan Zelos and Jamie Caroline in 2014, and then a stunning double success for Sophia Floersch twelve months ago.
Leading the group hoping to continue that trend is Dan Harper, who made championship history at Donington Park by becoming the first Ginetta Scholarship winner to take an outright victory in his maiden campaign – that success coming as part of a stunning overall podium hat-trick.
Max Bird and Tom Gamble have enjoyed strong starts to their maiden campaigns with a pair of top six finishes each, and they could well be in contention for overall podium finishes at Thruxton, while Seb Priaulx could also be in the mix after producing top five results in both qualifying sessions so far.
Enzo Fittipaldi and Jordan Collard are the other two rookies in the field to post top ten overall finishes so far, and they’ll be keen to produce the same results this time out, while Elite Motorsport duo Tom Wood and Harry King are firmly knocking on the door of that milestone.
Anthony Ayres and Greg Johnson meanwhile are sure to relish the latest chapter of their close-fought battle over the season so far, while Zak Fulk completes the entry on his return to the series after missing Donington Park.
With the official pre-event test taking place last month, the Junior field will only have a short fifteen minute practice session at 12:10 on Saturday lunchtime to get reacquainted with the unique 2.36 mile circuit ahead of the all-important qualifying session later that day at 15:40.
Both races follow on Sunday with the opener at 11:25, highlights of which are likely to be shown on ITV4 during the lunch break a couple of hours later, while the second encounter will be televised live at 15:55.
Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.