There is little doubt that the Ginetta Junior Championship has proved to be a welcome addition to the British Touring Car Championship paddock in recent years – with the grid of teenage racers having produced some impressive racing over the past two years.
Joining the TOCA package on a one-year trial at the start of 2008 following the demise of the Formula BMW UK Championship, the Juniors gave a sign of things to come in the opening race at Brands Hatch when Dino Zamparelli took victory after beating Dominic Pettit to the line by just 0.025secs.
Having extended its deal with BTCC boss Alan Gow to remain part of the support bill, the Juniors again grabbed plenty of attention during 2009 as Sarah Moore became the first female driver to win a title on the TOCA package.
While Sarah returns to defend her title this season, she'll have to do so at the wheel of a new car – with the 'old' Junior car being pensioned off and replaced by the impressive G40.
Given its public debut at the Autosport International
show back in January, the G40 weighs in at just 745kg with power coming a restricted Ford Zetec 1800cc engine – the aim being to teach car control and racecraft to a field of drivers aged between 14 and 17 years old.
And it was during the annual Ginetta Media Day at Silverstone recently – where those Juniors were putting the G40 through its paces – that Crash.net
had the chance to go out for a spin...
Usually such events see the press consigned to the passenger seat, but this time around we were offered the opportunity to get behind the wheel – albeit with a warning from Ginetta chief Lawrence Tomlinson to keep repair bills to a minimum.
Shame no-one mentioned that to Radio 1
man Comedy Dave who went and shunted one...
When the time came to get behind the wheel, the first impression was that things were tight when you clamber in. Then again, I'm certainly not the same size as your typical 14-year-old!
With Clio Cup racer Phil House sitting alongside, the car grumbled off down pitlane ready to take to the circuit, with clear instructions being provided on the various signals that would be used while on track – the noise of the engine making it difficult for there to be much in the way of conversation.