British GT

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK launch Young Driver Programme

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Sam Smelt and James Kell's #23 Speedworks GR Supra GT4 at Oulton Park last season.
James Kell ran the #23 Speedworks Motorsport Toyota GR Supra GT4 in British GT last season. Credit: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK

Speedworks Motorsport have announced they will be co-operating with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe to deliver a Young Driver Programme.

The news comes as the Cheshire team prepares for an assault on the Intelligent Money British GT Championship‘s GT4 class, in only their second season at this level.

Along with a promising maiden British GT campaign last year, Speedworks also took a Toyota Corolla to three wins and 11 podium finishes in the British Touring Car Championship.

Last season’s British GT outfit consisted of James Kell, Sam Smelt and the #23 GR Supra GT4 which took the pair to a pole position, a fastest lap and several podium finishes.

Speedworks say the programme itself will be targeted at drivers aged 25 or under, with some previous GT racing experience, “who demonstrate the ability and motivation to forge a professional career in the sport.”

Members of the programme will benefit from Speedworks’ and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK‘s experience as well as access to GAZOO Racing Europe (TGR-E)’s facilities in in Cologne, which include a full simulator.

Reigning FIA World Endurance Championship champion Mike Conway will be another font of knowledge for Toyota’s intake of new blood. The first member of the programme, and Speedworks’ full driver line-up for the 2021 British GT4 season, will be announced “in the coming weeks”.

Christian Dick, Team Principal of Speedworks Motorsport, is excited about the announcement.

“It is an immense honour to collaborate with TGR-E to establish the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Young Driver Programme, an exciting project that we have been working on for several months now.

“We have an excellent relationship with TGR-E and believe this new initiative can genuinely help to discover and develop British GT stars of the future.
“We have spent a lot of time evaluating potential drivers to become the first member of the programme, taking into account not only their pace and performance inside the cockpit but just as importantly their work ethic, attitude and media skills away from the car to ensure we make the right choice.
“This is a golden opportunity for initially one young driver – and, moving forward, hopefully more – to significantly advance their career prospects through an association with one of the most prestigious and successful companies in global motorsport, and we look forward to helping to guide the next generation in tandem with our friends at TGR-E over the coming months and years.

Meanwhile, Rob Leupen, Managing Director of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe, added:

“The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Young Driver Programme is a great initiative to support up-and-coming British talent and we are happy to co-operate with Speedworks on this project.

Christian and his team have a strong relationship with our colleagues at Toyota UK and participate in the BTCC under the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK banner, so they are already part of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing family.
“The GR Supra GT4 has made a positive impression in series around the world and we value the feedback and support of our customers, who have put their trust in TGR-E.

With the UK Young Driver Programme, we intend to add further value while supporting Speedworks to nurture a new generation of British talent.

The 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship is set to get underway at Brands Hatch on 22/23 May.

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