Liverpool-based teenager Declan Jones made his debut in a Chevron B16 at Aintree last weekend.
The 17-year-old, who is competing this year in both the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and the French V de V Championship, was taking in the track day on the 1.5 mile Aintree Club Circuit as part of his preparations for his next 2 hour V de V race at Magny Cours later this month (October 26-28).
In total he did at least 50 laps in the Peter McLaughlin-owned Chevron B16 - which incidentally is up for sale - running in eight 10-15 minute sessions during the course of the day at what was once the home of the F1 British Grand Prix, and fondly regarded as the 'Goodwood of the North'. Although no official times were taken, the Halewood Village-based youngster's best laps were all just under the minute marker.
“It was great to get behind the wheel of the Chevron B16 today for the first time,” said Declan. “It is a lovely car to drive and I felt comfortable in it straight away. It has got to be the most powerful car I have driven. Obviously it is not as quick through the corners as the Ginetta G50, but the G50 has got various aero bits on it. But it is definitely a really fantastic car to drive.
“I am really looking forward to competing in it now at Magny Cours. Obviously we will be able to work on it a little bit more there. At Aintree we had to be a bit careful, because there is a golf course in the middle of the track and the odd tree dotted around the perimeter. You could push it, but I'll be able to push it even more at Magny Cours.”
Declan's dad and manager, Kelvin Jones meanwhile confirmed that the Chevron B16 ran without a hitch.
“The test went really well. I actually built this car about seven years ago for Peter [McLaughlin], who is of course the CEO of Chicago Soft, one of Declan's two main sponsors and one of my customers. He has sent the car back to me now to sell it in Europe for him and we are taking it to Magny Cours to show it off,” Kelvin explained. “We installed the engine on the Friday and we were up at Aintree the following day so Declan could give it a shakedown and get a bit of experience behind the wheel.
“Interestingly Declan is now possibly the youngest ever driver to pilot a Chevron around Aintree and that is a nice little footnote given this is the track where Chevron founder Derek Bennett use to take the cars and test them in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact it is the track where the Chevron B16 first ran and Derek arrived with a B16 and broke the track record.
“In the last session, Dec was flying and was even outpacing this big M1 McLaren with 600 brakehorse power. He really enjoyed himself and the car was perfect. It looked very impressive.
“I'd like to thank Liverpool Motor Club for organising the track day - they did a great job and the organisation was superb. Aintree is very special to everyone in this part of the country and it has a great history. It was the place Sir Stirling Moss won his first F1 grand prix and to see Dec driving around there was really enjoyable. It was a really useful day for us. The rain stayed away too! We couldn't have asked for more.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about Peter McLaughlin's Chevron B16 should contact Kelvin direct on +44 (0)7989 585186. Kelvin can also be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declan will now be out in action again this coming weekend when he heads to Silverstone (October 6-7) for the penultimate round in the 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup. He is due to test for that event on Wednesday (October 3). Declan's driving partner for the French V de V event at Magny Cours has still to be confirmed.