The Ginetta Junior Championship is to remain part of the TOCA package for at least two more years after extending its deal to act as a support race to the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The series, for drivers aged 14-17, joined the TOCA package at the start of the year on a one-year trial following the demise of the Formula BMW UK Championship but has quickly established itself as a fans favourite during the season to date.
As a result, a deal has now been done that will see the series continue as a BTCC support for 2009 and 2010, with the announcement being made to the current Ginetta grid during the Oulton Park race weekend.
“It was with some trepidation that I took you on for this year,” BTCC chief Alan Gow told the class of 2008, “because I was a bit nervous about a bunch of young kids trying to prove themselves in front of a big crowd and a big TV audience and I imagined we'd be having red flags and race stoppages every two laps with cars in the gravel.
“But you've proved to be exactly the opposite. There's been great racing, the spectators have absolutely loved it both trackside and on TV and you've driven with a great deal of maturity well beyond your years.
“It's for that reason that I'm very happy to extend it for another two years. I hope that next year, the drivers that are in the championship next year and the year after are as good as you guys.”
Ginetta boss Richard Dean added that the drivers currently competing in the series would do well to look at the success achieved by the likes of Tom Chilton, Tom Onslow-Cole and Andy Jordan – who have come through various junior formulae to make it into the BTCC.
“It's a credit to you that we're in a position now that TOCA and Alan Gow have put great faith in Ginetta Junior this year, and have given this extension,” he said. “It means stability for the championship, stability for the teams & stability for the regulations that help with the cost and makes it more affordable.
“Junior championships started off with T-Cars and it was a great series. But Ginetta's taken off now as probably the world's best Junior Championship and it's only a few years ago that Tom, Tom and Andrew were in your position.
“Here they are now on the grid in the world's best touring cars championship. This is within touching distance for you Ginetta Junior racers.”