It’s been eleven years since Chinese Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton took the 2003 Formula Renault U.K championship. Today a new set of drivers are hoping to graduate to the dizzying heights of Formula One, celebrity riches and ridiculous flat-peak caps by proving themselves on the BTCC support bill. Badger has been taking a look at those best placed to emerge from the British junior formulae.
As the first Harrison something since the raider of the lost ark, Harrison Scott has much to live up to. Nevertheless, the 17-year-old Essex lad has been lighting up the Formula Ford U.K series in recent times, taking the Scholarship Championship last season. This year he has four podium finished from four races, including a stunning victory last time out at a sodden Donington Park.
With 1.6-litre turbo engines that are all torque and no revs, Scott agrees with the notion that it lines up well with 2014-style F1. “The car’s always moving around, and you really need to adapt to that as a driver.
“It’s very good as a junior package, because you need to have the car control both with throttle and steering, more so than in other junior formulas.”
Looking above and beyond Formula Ford, have a guess where Scott’s intentions lie…
“Obviously I want to be in the F1 paddock, competing in the races, but we all know how hard it is to get there. I’m going to try my best on the track and with sponsors, which are of course a big help. We’ll see how high we can get , but I just love motorsport and want to make a living out of it.”
One of the most impressive performances of late in British motorsport has stemmed from the talents of 16-year-old Ginetta Junior Cup racer Jack Mitchell. Having won no less than four races from a grand total of four races so far in 2014, Mitchell has proved every bit the promising talent he threatened to be in the series last year. We’re sure too that with Airwaves backing he probably warrants some form of cringe-worthy pun about being a breath of fresh air, but that’s for another day.
Speaking to Mitchell, it seems the streak of victories isn’t about to end if he gets his way. “We’ve got maximum points in all four races so it’s the best possible start we could have asked for really. I’m just hoping we can keep it up for the next couple of rounds and build up a big lead in the championship.”
Hold tight ladies and gents, the boy can drive.
Despite an impressive and fast rise through a series of British formula, 21-year-old peddler Tom Ingram is one of a few that ISN’T aiming for the heights of F1. Instead, the BTCC driver’s dreams have already been realised…
“Touring cars is where I’ve always wanted to be. It’s what I’ve always wanted to get into, but I wouldn’t discount anything further on than this because who knows what’s going to happen? But the BTCC is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first started karting; it’s what got me interested in motorsport in the first place.
It’s not as if Ingram has just struck lucky either. In his debut season, one in which he lines-up alongside seven previous BTCC champions, the High Wycombe driver lies tenth in the standings after two race weekends that Ingram is happy with, but keen to improve on. Typical racing driver: “The first two weekends have been what I hoped them to be, but still I hope to be even faster because if you speak to any racing driver, they want to be faster!
“Considering that this is only my second weekend in the BTCC though, I’m pretty pleased with how we’re doing. But as the year goes on I’ll get more comfortable with the car and the results are going to start coming. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but yeah I think we’ll be there towards the end.”
Question: what are the three similarities between the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix and the 2014 U.K Renault Clio Cup?
No? Well: Hamilton-esque defensive driving, wheel-to-wheel racecraft, and absolutely zilch care given in the way of team orders. It’s an odd link between two series diverse in nature, but one that links Hamilton and Clio-hopeful Josh Cook.
Cook made it two wins from two in the double-header at Donington last weekend, winning the opener in the wet before dominating a chaotic dry race two. With the wind in his sails, Cook is on target to take the title in 2014. “Looking to the end of the season, I really am looking to get the championship.
“I think the title is definitely reachable, we just have to keep getting the finishes and the points and hopefully let it come to me.”
No sweat for Cook, however. He’s only up against 3-time Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett, team-mate and current championship leader Alex Morgan, and fellow SV Racing team-mates Anthony Whorton-Eales and Ash Hand- both race winners.
So that concludes our Mystic Meg predictions on the next driver to emerge from the BTCC support paddock. With such a proud history of producing the stars of tomorrow, the TOCA race package looks to have that highly-regarded mantel in safe hands.