Finalist in Ginetta Junior scholarship

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As part of his prize for winning the FKS Junior Championship this year, Tom just turned 14 years old, was  given a free entry into the 2016 Kick Start Ginetta Junior Scholarship. The competition this year saw sixty aspiring 13-15 year olds all going head to head for just one prize!

The competition took place over three days at Bedford Autodrome, the first two days saw the entrants split into two groups of thirty. The drivers were assessed in Fitness, Media and Driving where they were each given two sessions in the Ginetta Junior Car beside instructors including British Touring Car Drivers Tom Ingram, Adam Morgan and Bradley Smith.

At the end of the day around ten drivers from each day went through to the third and final day. Tom passed the first day with flying colours and was crucially into the final day where sixty drivers became twenty three.

So on Wednesday Tom and his fellow finalists were given more media assessments and due to a late start just one session in the car. The weather really played a part with the track flooded, giving Tom a whole new challenge.

After some deliberation the judges then narrowed it down to just twelve drivers which Tom made! Other finalists included Seb Priaulx, Enzo Fittipaldi, Jordan Collard and Alex Quinn.

At this stage the drivers were each given another session in the car but this time with no help from the instructors.

Tom was put in with Bradley Smith and did an impressive job! He was one of many to have a spin in the tricky conditions, but that spurred him on even more as his lap times started to come down!

Once all drivers had completed their session the judges announced the final three which Tom was unfortunately not in. However, looking back on the day with his lack of experience and age he did a fantastic job and has the chance to compete again next year where he’ll come back even stronger!

On his performance Tom commented “Winning the FKS junior title gave me a fantastic opportunity with a free entry to the Ginetta Junior Scholarship. I really enjoyed the event and I came away having learnt a lot about driving, media and fitness.  For many of us it was the first time driving the car and the instructors were fantastic. I was thrilled to have made it through to the second day and to the final 12 drivers.  Although I was disappointed not to win, it was a great experience and gave me an insight into the Ginetta Junior Championship and the progression that it offers young drivers such as me. Ashley Gallagher and the rest of the team made it a truly worthwhile event.”

Tom’s instructor Bradley Smith commented “Tom showed great car control and maturity in his runs in the Ginetta Junior which is one of the main reasons we sent him through to the final. Coming from karting there is a lot of extra elements to think about such as gears, front brakes and weight transfer which Tom developed a good understanding very quickly. Unfortunately, a spin on the wet track in his final run cost him in what was a very closely ran competition, but I can see a bright future for Tom in motorsport.”

A spokesperson for Ginetta commented “The Ginetta Junior Scholarship is an ideal first step for anyone wanting to gain first-hand experience of the driving, fitness and media skills required to become a racing driver. We wish Tom all the best for the future and look forward to following his progress.”

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World Karting Finals

 

world finals

 

After winning the MSA British Kartmasters X30 Junior Grand Prix title in August, Tom qualified and won a free entry to the World Iame Karting Finals in Le Mans, France.

Tom  finished in the top 10 at France’s famous Le Mans track in October. He went head-to-head with over 100 of the best young drivers in the world before finishing a hugely credible eighth overall.

He had looked on course for an even more impressive end result after romping through his five qualifying races with two wins, two seconds and a fourth. But a 10 second penalty for accelerating too early in one of the heats saw Tom positioned P8 on the grid for the Pre Final, before a power issue and then an unsuccessful tyre gamble in the Grand Final led to him to finishing in eighth place. Still another oustanding result to add to his CV.

Tom commented “It has been a fantastic experience here in Le Mans. It was disappointing that I had a loss of power in the Pre Final and a grip issue in the Final, which made it difficult to catch  the leaders. I’d like to thank Piers sexton for all his hard work in running me. Also thank you to TVKC for giving me this fantastic opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

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NW Leicestershire Junior Sportsman of the Year

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Tom attended the North West Leicestershire  awards evening on Thursday after being nominated for Junior Sportsman of the year. As a sportsman, he has excelled in motorsport and has demonstrated considerable commitment and is an inspiration and positive role model to others. He has also used his achievements and experiences to make a positive impact on his community.

He was rewarded for his outstanding achievements by being awarded the prestigious ‘Junior Sportsman of the Year’.

Tom commented ‘ I am very happy to receive this special award, and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have helped and supported me so far in my career. Also to NW Leics Sports Alliance for this wonderful award.’

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2015 British Formula Kart Stars Junior Champion

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FKS Rounds 11 and 12 were held at the Glan Y Gors circuit in Wales. Tom had already clinched the title, and watched the racing from the commentary box. He then lead the Juniors out on the circuit on his lap of honour for the Finals. It was a very special moment for Tom, with Number One on his kart and proudly representing Donington Park.

Tom was introduced to the guest of honour, former Formula One World Champion and two time Indy 500 champion – Emmerson Fittipaldi, who congratulated Tom for his championship win. It was certainly a very special moment !

As Junior Champion, Tom is invited to attend the Autosport Awards at the Grosvenor Hotel in London in December. He wins a free entry to the Championship next year. He also wins an entry to the Ginetta Scholarship in October.

Tom will attend the Official prize presentation at the Autosports Show in January.

Tom commented ” I have really enjoyed FKS, and think it has been a brilliant Championship.  The television coverage by Sky Sport F1 is amazing, and the whole experience has been fantastic. The prizes are superb and I’d like to thank Carolynn Hoy and the whole team for their hard work, to make it a very special Championship.

I am delighted to have won  Formula Kart Stars , and I am so very proud to represent Donington Park. I’d like to thank Christopher Tate for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to dedicate my Championship win to Mr Tom Wheatcroft.”

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Super One Minimax round 8

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Photos courtesy of Kartpix.net

 

Round 8 was held at Whilton Mill near Daventry.

Toms weekend saw some brilliant results in his heats and Final 1, but disaster struck in the Final 2 !

Qualifying was difficult with Tom being unable to get a good clear lap, but was still 5th fastest, just 5ooths sec off pole.

Heat 1 After a good start and a hard battle throughout the 10 minute race, Tom finished a strong 2nd place.

In heat 2 Tom started P5 and by lap 3 had got into third place. After battling hard, Tom got to 2nd place on lap 5 behind his team mate, but another driver knocked him onto the grass, which caused Tom to drop to 7th. Clawing his way back, Tom finished 5th.

Final 1 Tom started Pole and got a good start off the line. It was another hard and at times ‘rough’ race. Tom dropped down the order at one stage, after getting pushed wide, then misjudging the driver breaking early in front, Tom tapped the back of him, causing him to go wide. Tom finished P3, but a 5 place penalty for his earlier error, dropped his Final grid position to P8.

Final 2  After leaving the grid for the warm up lap, Tom got to the first corner, where his engine cut out. After numerous attempts to re start, Tom was unable to participate in the race.

Toms comments ” I  felt very confident with the kart set up and had good pace this weekend. I had a good chance of a win, so it was very disappointing to suffer more mechanical issues, and see more valuable points lost.”

 

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Tom wins the FKS Championship still with two rounds to go !

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Photos courtsey of Kartpix.net

Rounds 9 and 10 were held at Rowrah in the beautiful Lake District.

Round 9

An unfortunate error meant that Tom was called in prematurely in qualifying and had to settle for P4.

Heat 1 was a rushed change to wet tyres  after it starting raining. Tom soon got to the lead, pulling a gap and taking the win.

Heat 2 Tom started pole, on a wet track and pushed away with another driver. On the last lap, and after a mistake he finished P2.

Heat 3 on a drying track, overtook to take the lead,but his tyres were getting worn, due to to a drying track. After getting run on to the grass, Tom came over the line in 3rd.

The Final was held on a dry track, and Tom lead the race pulling a gap, and Taking the chequered flag an incredible 8 seconds ahead of the field.

Round 10

Qualifying was held on a dry track on Sunday.  Tom had a problem with his starter motor, but after a hurried change, Tom went out and took pole after only putting in 4 laps. His kart felt really good and with almost fresh tyres he looked good for the heats.

Heat 1 Tom lead the race from start to finish, and after some brilliant defending on the last lap, took the win.

Heat 2  After the second place driver jumped the start, Tom was lying 2nd for 3 laps, then he overtook him and pulled away, winning by 0.790 secs.

In heat 3  Another jump start from the 2nd place driver off the line, dropped Tom to second, but Tom got past with 6 mins to go, and pulled away to take another win.

Final  Tom got into the lead by the end of the first lap, putting in consistently fast laps. By the end of the 20 mins race, he came over the line with an astounding 9.780 seconds lead and taking fastest lap.

Another remarkable double victory for Tom, and also gaining enough points to walk away Junior Champion and still with two rounds to go !!

Tom commented ” I am absolutely delighted to have won the Junior title, and still with two rounds left. A huge thank you to Piers Sexton (PSR) who has done a fantastic job running me in FKS. I am incredibly proud  for my sponsor Donington Park, and that I have had the opportunity to compete in a Championship with close links to Formula One.”

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Total domination in FKS Rounds 7 & 8 for Team Donington Park

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Photos by Chris walker @Kartpix.net

FKS Rounds 7 & 8 were held at Wigan at the weekend.

Tom had not been to the track for a few years, and was looking forward to racing at the Three Sisters circuit again.

Round 7  (Saturday)

Tom qualified P2, just 0.05secs off pole.

In heat one, starting on the outside, he made a great start, slotting into 3rd. On lap two, he was pushed down to 5th, but then soon made up a place, and pushed the driver in front, to catch the two leaders. With 3 laps to go, he made his move and took the lead, pulling a gap to take the win, by over two seconds.

In heat two, after a brilliant start from pole, Tom was able to pull a gap,  and drove the whole race with a comfortable lead, to take another win.

Heat 3  again starting  from pole,Tom pulled a gap at the start, but with two drivers behind working together, he was soon caught up the long straight, getting in his slipstream. Tom drove well, and after taking back the lead, with a swap of positions, managed to pull a gap, to take his third win of the day.

Final: Starting pole, Tom got a gap at the start, but quickly got caught on the straight.    They were joined by a train of three drivers and Tom dropped to 2nd.  He pushed the leader for 5 laps, before, getting shuffled back to 3rd. With 6 laps remaining, Tom made a move for 2nd and with the leader going wide, he took the lead. After defending well on the last lap, Tom took a well deserved victory. A clean sweep !

Round 8  (Sunday)

Tom did an awesome job, qualifying P1, putting in the quickest lap, with the least amount of laps in the 30 mins of qualifying.

In heat 1, Tom started P1, pulling a comfortable gap.  After consistently fast laps, the chasing group were unable to catch him and  Tom took the win.

Heat 2, from pole, Tom pulled a gap, but at one point the chasing group looked to be catching. Tom managed to maintain his lead, and took the win.

In heat 3, Tom dropped to 2nd at the start, but by lap 3, took back the lead. He couldn’t quite shake off the chasing driver, who was able to catch up in his slipstream. Defending well, on the last lap, Tom took the third win of the day.

Final, Starting from pole, he made a good start, and lead for two laps. He was then shuffled back to 5th.  With 8 drivers at the front there were continual changes of lead as everyone tried to unsuccessfully to break away.  With 3 laps to go, Tom made his move into 2nd and with the leader defending, Tom was hit hard from behind and did well to stay on track. This caused the leader to go wide and narrowly avoiding disaster, Tom made his move to take the lead.  He pulled a gap and drove brilliantly for the remaining two laps to take the chequered flag and victory !

Tom totally dominated the weekend, with 8 out of 8 wins. A superb display of quality racing. Tom said ” What an amazing weekend ! The kart felt fantastic, thanks to Piers Sexton. He has been terrific, and I couldn’t have done it without him. Sundays final was especially tough, but I’m so happy to have won both rounds. ”

Tom was also won the Bernie Ecclestone ‘Driver of the Day’ Award for outstanding results in Round 5 at Nutts Corner. Another amazing achievement.

Tom leads the Junior Championship:  Junior Standings

 

 

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