“A massive relief.” – That’s how Katie Milner has described being officially crowned the 2016 Junior Saloon Car Champion last week, after a Motor Sports Association (MSA) appeals court hearing crucially overturned her technical exclusion from Knockhill earlier this season.
Matteo Zanetti was provisionally crowned the champion following last month’s season finale at Silverstone, but that was pending Milner’s appeal against her exclusion from a victory and a second place in Scotland for an engine-seal irregularity.
The successful appeal means Milner ended her second JSCC campaign with eight wins and four other podium finishes, with the former junior Autograss champion telling TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk that the success is met with a mixture of relief and elation.
“I can’t really describe the feeling. It’s taken this long and it’s a shame we didn’t get to celebrate properly at Silverstone, but it’s amazing to be the champion and the team thoroughly deserve it, they put in so much hard work through the season,” Milner reflected.
“The whole season was unexpected. We headed into it aiming just to get some more experience in junior racing and maybe get a win or two if we’re lucky, but after Pembrey we were all blown away and that’s when everything clicked for us – I knew how to win and it all went from there.
“I was at college when I got the phone call telling me we’d won the appeal and I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, but then we got the official letter and it was just a massive relief that all the hard work and the effort through the year was worthwhile. I’m delighted.”
Milner’s focus is now firmly on next year, and with the seventeen year old seriously considering the Ginetta GT5 Challenge as the next step in her career, she made her Ginetta racing debut last weekend during the annual Junior Winter Series at Brands Hatch.
Linking up with the Elite Motorsport team, it proved to be a baptism of fire for Milner as she made her rear-wheel drive racing bow in tricky weather conditions across the weekend, securing a best finish of eleventh in her Ginetta G40.
“This weekend is really just a present for the end of the year, a chance to get our racing in the winter, get some more experience under my belt against a different crowd, and try out rear-wheel drive for the first time as a head-start for next season,” she explained.
“We were looking at doing the final rounds at Brands Hatch last month but didn’t want to lose focus on the JSCC. We’ve done a few tests before this weekend, which were all in the dry! We’re taking it as a learning experience, and to be honest it’s been really tough.”
“It’s a new experience to drive, there’s a lot more going on and a lot to get used to, plus the competition on track is really high. It’s been a good chance to see what level I need to be on next year though, as we think Ginetta’s is where we want to be for the next season or two.”