Adam Smalley has been crowned the 2017 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner, beating over fifty other drivers to win a fully-funded season in next year’s Ginetta Junior Championship.
Smalley follows in the footsteps of the likes of 2015 British GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick, 2016 Ginetta Junior vice-champion Stuart Middleton and 2016 Rookie Cup champion Daniel Harper in winning the Scholarship, following three days of intense competition at Blyton Park.
23 drivers made it through to today’s (26th October) final, with the field being whittled down to ten before a final three battled it out, with Smalley emerging victorious ahead of Matt Luff and Toby Goodman.
“I just can’t believe I’ve won. There was such a high calibre of drivers here throughout the whole competition, that to be chosen as the person out of 53 others to win this life-changing prize is absolutely incredible,” said the 15 year old from Poulton-Le-Fylde.
“Thank you to all the staff who have made me feel welcome this week, and to the instructors who have turned me from a complete novice into the 2017 Ginetta Junior Scholar. I cannot wait to put everything I’ve learnt into practice and continue my development as a driver.”
The preliminary days saw a mammoth 54 driver entry take part in driving, media and fitness assessments, before the top 23 were taken through to the finale, where they received two more runs with limited instruction.
After long deliberations, the group was narrowed down to the final three, with Smalley, BSKC winner Luff and EasyKart Junior champion Goodman given just one final run to try and convince the judging panel to select them the winner.
Judging the competition was current BTCC drivers Mike Epps, Jake Hill and Tom Ingram, the latter a former three-time Ginetta champion, as well as GT racer Jody Fannin, with outgoing Scholarship winner Harper also on hand to offer advice on the final day.
Ingram said: “It’s been another fantastic event, the standard has been incredibly high once again. The final three were incredibly strong contenders and impressed us all. In the end, I think Adam is a very worthy winner and I look forward to watching his first race at Brands Hatch in 2017.”
The final ten drivers were Smalley, Goodman, Luff, Jenson Butterfield, Ruben Del Sarte, Thomas Rawlings, Robin Falkenbach, Elliot Payne, Noah Watt and Tom Canning – the latter having also reached the final twelve in last years contest, whilst Goodman had reached the last 23.
Ginetta Championships Manager Ashley Gallagher added: “It has been another great year for the Scholarship. Once again we have unearthed a whole host of new driving talent from a range of motorsport backgrounds, with drivers travelling from across the UK and around Europe to fight for this brilliant prize.”