Maurice Henry Column: Ginetta scholar ready for the new season – The Checkered Flag

As that is my first weblog I wish to thanks for taking an curiosity in me. I’ll inform you a bit about myself and my preparation for my racing this season within the Ginetta Junior Championship. I’ll then share my experiences all through the season. This can be a enormous step for me in my racing profession and the primary race can’t come quickly sufficient! I’m taking my first steps in my quest to grow to be a GT racing driver.

I’m a 16-year-old multi-discipline racing driver. I’m returning to circuit racing from the rally and I intention to grow to be a GT racing driver. I’ve not too long ago taken an enormous step forwards by successful the Ginetta Junior Scholarship and so might be racing stay on ITV4 alongside the British Touring Automobile Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup GB. It’s a very thrilling time!

It has taken a variety of work to get this far. I began karting after I was 8 years outdated. It felt very pure however very difficult similtaneously there have been many components to optimise and we began by optimising only a few of them! But nonetheless, I used to be capable of win the South Yorkshire Honda Cadet Championship in my first season. My Dad was studying as he went alongside, however he at all times had the philosophy that to progress, we wouldn’t do something twice as soon as it’s completed.

Credit score: Cecil Henry

Due to this fact we moved to larger golf equipment to compete in larger grids (however will at all times keep in mind the place it began at Cheshire and South Yorkshire kart golf equipment) and in 2016 I gained the Shenington Kart Membership Honda Cadet championship after which 2017 the Norther Karting Federation vice-champion, once more in Honda Cadet.

Time was working out in karting. Dad had at all times deliberate to not go previous cadet class in karting and in 2018 we purchased a junior rally automobile desiring to get my BARS licence and begin competing as quickly as I turned 14. Rally driving could be very totally different to circuit racing. To push to the restrict on a unfastened floor means the automobile is at all times misbehaving and it’s important to work with that, significantly when the floor is altering from sealed to damaged throughout braking and within the junior rally you don’t get the choice to apply the rally stage beforehand.

2020 began nicely. The primary spherical of the championship was the Questmead Phases at Three Sisters. An atypical venue for a rally as many of the junior rallies is held on an airfield with various terrain within the infield or on MoD land on roads in varied states of disrepair. I lead from the very first stage and was rising my lead till my Dad and Co-Driver acquired me to decelerate for concern of throwing it off and risking a sure win. By the top of stage 11, I gained the occasion by 12 seconds. We had discovered a set-up that enabled me to really feel the automobile’s behaviour a lot better and it was wanting prefer it was going to be a robust season and problem for the championship, nonetheless, the remainder of the rally season was cancelled because of the pandemic. I’ll at all times remorse not having the ability to safe my historical past within the Junior Rally Championship, however as at all times, considering one season forward, we already had different plans to work on for 2021…

My profession up to now had been led by Dad doing his finest to present me alternatives to develop my driving abilities. Having no motorsport expertise himself, I’d say he did a reasonably good job! And it has enabled me to have the ability to make a clearer choice on my profession course and I needed to return to circuit racing!

I entered the Ginetta Junior Scholarship. If I might win this, it might be step one on the ladder to turning into a GT racing driver, the intention being, to grow to be a works or manufacturing facility driver for a race automobile producer. The choices for getting ready for the scholarship trial have been both to arrange within the Ginetta G40 Junior race automobile or put together within the simulator. We opted for the latter, however this could imply turning as much as the scholarship weekend having by no means pushed the Ginetta, or any rear-wheel-drive automobile. It was a lot quicker than something I had ever pushed! It behaved otherwise too. I needed to be taught rapidly with every trial run within the automobile and exhibit enchancment primarily based on the teacher’s enter and rising my pace to be aggressive. As I made it by way of every of the elimination rounds, I needed to win this an increasing number of. Once I made it by way of to the ultimate 4, I made certain I took the automobile to my limits in each nook and it was sufficient to win!

Credit score: Jakob Ebrey Pictures

Celebrating successful the scholarship was fairly short-lived. While on the Scholarship weekend, talking to all of the skilled race groups and Ginetta workers facilitating the scholarship, we realised the scale of the problem. For a lot of, testing had already begun. By the point we hit the observe once more, it might be February 2021 and on full-size racing circuits. This was utterly totally different, each by way of pace and the way the automobile behaves throughout cornering at larger speeds. My expertise from driving a front-wheel-drive rally automobile on rally phases is totally totally different to how a rear-wheel-drive race automobile behaves on a high-speed race circuit. The Ginetta G40 has a a lot decrease centre of the centre of gravity, higher brakes, higher gear ratios and extra energy than my earlier Citroen C1 Junior Rally automobile which was just about an ordinary highway automobile mechanically, with a roll cage.

It’s been a busy time, getting the mandatory race gear, finishing all of the administration to enter the championship, establishing social media, contributing to press releases about successful the scholarship and trying to find sponsors. Then, after all, going to check days, settling into the crew adapting to the automobile and the extent of health required.

I selected to affix Fox Motorsport as a consequence of their skilled expertise throughout many ranges of GT racing. Additionally, having identified Staff Principal Paul McNeilly and his son second-year driver, Liam McNeilly from our days racing at Zipkart, I knew it might be the proper setting for me to adapt to. It has been very fascinating to get into the element of driving method and the driving dynamics of the Ginetta G40 working with the Fox Motorsport crew. The expertise within the crew is wonderful, analysing the info to grasp the place I would like to enhance. Liam as a second-year driver could be very supportive together with his steerage The automobile could be very attentive to set-up modifications and getting used to how the behaviour of the tyre modifications at totally different tread depths is fascinating too. The engineers on the automobile and the driving force coaches who work on me, work laborious to offer the working setting for the driving force.

We’ve got been engaged on driving method earlier than rising the tempo and now I’m rising the tempo to align to the drivers with extra expertise or who’ve began their preparation earlier. I’ve been testing at Oulton Park, Manufacturers Hatch, Snetterton, Thruxton and Donington. There are just a few extra circuits to be taught. My favorite circuit to date is Snetterton because it has all kinds of forms of corners.

Credit score: Jakob Ebrey Pictures

The Ginetta Scholarship offers a funded season of racing within the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship. Because it doesn’t embody the pre-season apply days with the crew, nor the injury restore prices incurred throughout racing we’ve working to deliver companions on board to offer them with the advantage of a excessive profile advertising and marketing platform and entry to the race weekend setting. I’m very grateful to Built-in Air Methods Ltd.  and Trustic Motors who’ve come on board and enabled me to maximise my pre-season preparation. I’m wanting forwards to seeing my automobile in its livery and I’ll have this to point out you in my subsequent weblog subsequent month and in addition share with you my expertise of my first race weekend.

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