Rotherham’s James Taylor has won the biggest and one of the most sought-after prizes in UK motorsport; the 2018 Ginetta Junior Scholarship providing a fully-funded season in the 2018 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship.
The 15 year-old schoolboy kart racer has secured an all-inclusive drive in the British Touring Car Championship–supporting series for 14-to-17 year-olds that arguably provides the most entertaining races of the weekend.
He will get the use of a Ginetta G40 race car, with his series entry paid for the 2018 Ginetta Junior Championship along with insurance, consumables, tyres and fuel plus professional car preparation from an experienced team for the duration of the season.
So as to be race-ready for the 2018 season start, his bespoke package includes a day of driver-training by top motorsport driving mentors on iZone’s state-of-the-art simulators worth £800 and media training with renowned television presenter, Louise Goodman.
Launched in 2009, the Scholarship is awarded to the one driver who impresses across the board demonstrating not just speed, but also the professionalism needed to succeed in Leeds-based Ginetta’s sponsorship-backed, 100bhp, G40 racing car.
In a three day shoot-out event - featuring two qualification days – that took place at Ginetta’s own Blyton Park circuit, sixty-six teenage hopefuls aged 13-to-15 years-old - with no previous race car experience - gave it their all.
Thirty-three youngsters on each of the initial two days, were subjected to assessment of their driving, fitness and media-handling abilities, so that on the third day, the 24 most promising drivers were invited back for the grand finale.
This group was then whittled down to twelve before the top-six - Taylor and five others - battled it out to impress Ginetta factory racing driver, Mike Simpson sitting alongside them in the passenger seat, in two further 3-lap runs with limited instruction.
Before they joined the track they were given a mock media interview in the car, and another ‘how was it?’ media interview as soon as they re-entered the pit area.
Following their hot laps, the hopeful six waited nervously, while the Ginetta judges conducted long deliberations over a combination of the lap times and how they conducted themselves in the interviews before finally, a shocked Taylor emerged victorious as the 2018 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner.
“I can’t believe it!”, announced an awestruck Taylor.
“I’ve been karting for seven years and always admired the Ginetta Junior Championship. I entered the competition for the experience and I’ve learned a lot. Ginetta have given me a great opportunity so I’m going to work really hard and make a success of this!”
“He has raw talent”, commented Ginetta judge, Mike Simpson who was full of praise for Taylor’s performance, “Just a ‘dad and lad’ rolling up for a challenge. James did everything perfectly: his fitness was mega, his media skills were not so good, at first. But when he went out in the final six, I saw he had raw talent, great potential. He was half a second up on his last lap – the potential is there, but there is a lot of work to do”.
Taylor’s karting career begin under the guidance of Mark Baines at the F1 Indoor karting race school.
Progressing to outdoor karting, Taylor finished 2nd in the NKF Comer Cadet Championship.
Once Baines had established his MBM karting team, Taylor joined the team racing in Comer Cadet before progressing to IAME Cadet races.
Moving to the Kato Motorsport team in 2016, Taylor won Wombwell circuit’s Cock of the North trophy in X30 Junior. While this year he finished X30 Junior Rookie runner-up in the main Super 1 series category.