After a relatively successful 2019 campaign for JHR Developments, scoring five wins with their two full-time drivers of Josh Skelton and American Carter Williams, its safe to say that increasing the operation to a three car full-time 2020 season states their intention of further improvement.
And on top of that, they have a brand new driver lineup, with 2019 Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley joining the team and immediately looking for championship glory first time around, and Abbi Pulling joining after a promising season last year in the Ginetta GT5 category. They were both scheduled to be joined by Mikkel Grundtvig, but was recently replaced by Nathanael Hodgkiss just over a week before the season is set to begin at Donington Park this weekend.
Abbi Pulling feeling bullish ahead of debut F4 season
One driver that’s had a successful pre-season so far has been Britain’s Abbi Pulling. The 17-year old is joining the British F4 ranks this season off the back of a trying but overall consistent and successful outing in Ginetta GT5 last year. And with a successful record in karting prior to going from GT racing to single seaters, Pulling will be looking for immediate success, but the main goal is overall improvement across the board.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident with the car, especially after the scholarship which was wet! I’ve been using the simulator a lot at the JHR workshop to prepare for my switch from Ginetta to F4 machinery. It’s ideal because with my education at Loughborough college, they allow me to take as many days off as I want, so I’ve been able to prepare quite well with pre-season testing.
“There’s a bit difference in driving style between the GT5 and the F4 cars. You have to be so much more precise with your steering in the single seater, whereas you’re always sawing at the wheel when I was racing Ginetta because the car is much heavier. Judging by testing so far, and how the times have been, I would love to be a championship contender and battle for a few race wins for definite. But overall I’m just looking for improvement in my racing.
“It was never the ultimate goal to race in single seaters. The GT route seemed like the most realistic for me, mainly due to funding, but with the recent W Series popping up we thought it would be a great opportunity to try my hand at it. I wouldn’t mind missing that stepping stone [the W Series] and heading straight into British F3 if I can, but I can’t just forget it exists.
“I’m hoping the success from my karting career can help me in the single seaters as the characteristics of the car are more in line than they were in Ginetta. You’re driving the cars more on your finger tips, just like in a kart, so it should help me massively having that instinct.” said Pulling.
Ginetta champion Hedley gunning for immediate success
One of the drivers with the highest expectations heading into 2020 is last year’s Ginetta Junior champion, James Hedley. winning five races last season, Hedley took the title by an impressive 89 points after scoring an additional 11 podiums on top of the wins he amassed. And now with a switch over to single seaters at JHR, Hedley looks to stamp his authority on the championship.
“The immediate goal is to go for the championship, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could do it. JHR are a great team, and they’ve got plenty of potential.
“It’s been harder learning the car in the dry due to the lack of dry running we’ve been having in testing so far. The transition for [Ginetta] Juniors to F4 is a lot easier in the wet, because you actually have grip and can manage the conditions better. We need to maximise the running in the dry so we can be on the pace when the season begins.
“It’s hard to tell who your main rival are going to be, because everyone’s running different programs in testing. But Carlin are definitely going to be up there, and I would say one of the drivers from there will be my main competitors. It’s great with my team mates so far and its usual data for all of us, so that’s something that’s been going well so far. Being fastest in the scholarship is also a definite confidence boost, and it keeps me motivated for testing and going into the season.” said Hedley.
Late entrant Hodgkiss looking to be straight on the pace
You can see more about the news of Nathanael Hodgkiss replacing Mikkel Grundtvig and what Nathanael thinks of the upcoming season with JHR Developments in the story we covered last week down below.