Student Toby Chanell has written a report on the race day he spent at the British Touring Car championships. He, along with fellow student Abbey-Leigh Hopkins won the prize of a day at the BTC races plus a tour behind the scenes and in the pit lane, courtesy of Ginetta and Michelin. Their reports will be published on the Michelin website.
Toby said: ‘For me the best bit of the day was interviewing the drivers because you got find out about their background. I also enjoyed being in the pits when they were changing the tyres and testing the engines.'
It was a misty morning when we arrived at Rockingham Speedway. We met a lady from Ginetta called Ruth Harrison; Ruth is the public relations for Ginetta and arranges jam (junior academy media) for young people such as myself who enjoy the thrills and spills of motor racing. Ruth told us that the majority of the Ginetta cars are loaned to the teams and cost between 50 to 80,000 pounds per year to race. This is why many teams rely on sponsorship to pay for their racing. We went in and saw a bit of the touring car qualifying and many people will know some of the more well-known names such as Jason Plato and Alain Menu. Once that had finished we went up into the media room - it was very busy with people commentating and timings of the laps were recorded from the previous race. We had hoped to see the free practice session for the Ginetta Juniors but unfortunately the fog was too bad for the Ginetta junior cars to come out. We therefore headed back from the media room to track-side where the fog had cleared significantly allowing the Ginetta junior cars to come out for their free practice session at the later time of 10:40. After free practice we headed to the centre of the track where we watched further races.
The day got even better when we saw the actual qualifying for the Ginetta junior championships. It was a thrilling qualifying with Lando Norris a rookie in his first year for Ginetta gaining pole position. Posting a time of 1:38:302 with James Kellett coming second with a time of 1:38:355 Jamie Caroline 3rd and bringing up the rear in 18th position was Esmee Hawkey.
Back at the pits I interviewed a junior driver called Alex Sedgwick who won the scholarship prize last year to race within junior Ginetta. He said the fastest car he had ever driven was a Porsche Cayman. His inspiration was Michael Schumacher because he worked really hard. Alex is 15 and this is his first year in Ginetta. The first race he had ever won was at Forest Edge park track when he was 10. He likes racing because he gets to challenge himself against other drivers. He has been to 16 races with Ginetta. Before a race he looks at the tracks on YouTube. Alex Sedgwick ended up qualifying 9th with just over a 1 second gap between him and first. Overall it was a good day out and I got to see a lot of the drivers and I would definitely do it all again.'