One lucky driver will become the latest recipient of a fully-funded season in the Ginetta Junior Championship tomorrow (26 October), as more than twenty drivers battle it out to become the latest car-racing rookie to win the coveted Ginetta Junior Scholarship.
Since its inception in 2009, the Scholarship has provided over 200 drivers with the chance to get behind the wheel of a Ginetta G40 and fight it out for a one of the biggest prizes in UK Junior motorsport – for many it marking their first ever chance to drive a race car.
Unsurprisingly, a number of talented drivers have participated in the contest over recent seasons, with participants already going on to enjoy successful careers in GT racing, tin-tops and single-seaters – with the last two Ginetta Junior champions having previously been finalists in the Scholarship.
The winner for the 2013 season was Jamie Chadwick, who followed up a two-year spell in the Juniors by making British GT Championship history in 2015, taking the GT4 drivers title to become the youngest ever champion and the first ever female champion in the series.
Joining her in the final four of the Scholarship that year were Mikel Azcona, a top three championship finisher in both the Seat Leon Eurocup and Renault Clio Eurocup since, and current BRDC British F3 podium finisher and 2015 Formula Jedi champion Ben Hingeley.
The following year it was Alex Sedgwick’s turn to take the Scholarship crown as he fended off the challenge of 2015 Ginetta Junior champion Jamie Caroline, 2015 Winter Series winner and reigning vice-champion Stuart Middleton, and 2016 Ginetta GT5 Challenge vice-champion Matt Chapman.
One year on and it would be second time lucky for Middleton as he beat a final four that included the man who pipped him to the Ginetta Junior title this season, Will Tregurtha. The Scholarship finalists that year also included fellow Junior front-runners Cameron Roberts and Kyle Hornby.
Twelve months ago it was Daniel Harper who came away with the honours and the Northern Irishman maximised his opportunity this season as he became the most successful Scholar so far with two outright race victories, a top five championship finish and the Rookie Cup title.
Remarkably, the top three in the Scholarship last year finished in the same positions in this year’s Rookie standings, with Seb Priaulx and Harry King in hot pursuit of Harper. Fellow Scholarship finalist Alex Quinn meanwhile would go on to win the Rookie honours in the F4 British Championship.
Going further back in time meanwhile, Sennan Fielding won the Scholarship back in 2010 and has since gone on to become a two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist and 2016 British F4 vice-champion, while his successor Oliver Basey-Fisher was the 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge champion.
With a track record of producing talented teenage racers like that, all eyes will be on Blyton Park in Lincolnshire tomorrow to see the potential stars of the future, and to see who will be chosen as the 2017 Ginetta Junior Scholar.