Brands Hatch hosted the first round of the British Touring Car Championship at the weekend. The Simpson Ginetta Junior Championship is held at the same prestigious meeting and is watched by millions of TV viewers on ITV4.
Thousands of spectators attended an action packed weekends racing under sunny skies in Kent.
It was Tom’s first race in a car, and he has had a limited amount of testing in the Ginetta.
He is signed up with ‘Elite Motorsport’ a team based near Snetterton, run by Eddie Ives and his team mate is 15yr old Harry King.
He is extremely proud to have the continued backing from ‘Donington Park‘ who have been a tremendous support. Tom is also very happy to welcome his newest partner, the successful company ‘Cool Milk‘. Having two major sponsors behind him has given Tom’s career a huge boost, making it possible for Tom to progress from karts to cars this year, in front of a massive audience.
In practice on new tyres, Tom felt unhappy with the handling of the car compared to Fridays practice session. The car was under steering making it difficult to drive out of the corners, subsequently dropping off the pace. After the end of the session, checks were made and a broken tie bar was found to be the cause of the problem.
In the 15mins timed qualifying, Tom was confident with the car and at one point was lying P6. Getting held up and unable to get a clear lap, Tom was disappointed to finish P16. Still remaining confident with the car he felt he had good race pace and looked forward to the afternoons race.
In Race 1 Tom was slow to get off the line, bogging down a little. Going into the first corner he was sandwiched between 2 cars, dropping a place. After battling to keep his position for a couple of laps, the leaders had pulled a gap on him. There was an incident towards the end of the race, and the safety car led the field for two laps. Tom was not prepared for the restart and lost time on the car ahead. Although he had managed to make a place back, he came over the line to finish 15th. Both Tom’s car and his team mates car were slightly lacking in pace . A decision to make some changes to them was made overnight.
Race 2 (Sunday) Tom made a good start off the line and was on the inside going into turn one. He got a switch back on the car in front and got alongside him. There was contact which pushed Tom on to the grass. He managed to keep position as they went into turn 2. In the middle of turn 2 the car ahead spun and he had to take avoiding action but still gained 3 positions. The pack spread out and Tom, found himself struggling with pace and couldn’t catch the pack in front. There were a couple of incidents ahead of Tom where two drivers crashed, which then put Tom 12th. In the closing laps of the 15 minute race, Tom was managing to keep the gap to the driver behind. He crossed the line in 12th and a fantastic 3rd rookie place. Subsequently Tom was promoted to 11th place due to a penalty for another driver. After the race the team found that Tom’s car had suffered damage to the steering after the impact, causing him to lose pace.
Tom has made a good solid start to the season and is hoping to make his mark at his home track Donington park on 16th/17th April.
Tom’s comments “ I have really enjoyed the fantastic experience of racing in TOCA package, the Ginetta Junior Championship. I would have liked to have made more of an impression in the first round but there are still 9 rounds to go. I’d like to thank all my sponsors for giving me this amazing opportunity and to Ginetta for a brilliant championship. Also thank you to Ed Ives and Elite Motorsport for their hard work over the weekend. I am very excited to be racing at Donington Park in just over a weeks time in front of my home crowd, and hope I can make them proud.”