Local kart star Tom Wood impresses at Ginetta Junior Scholarship!
As part of his prize for winning the FKS Junior Championship this year, 14-year-old Tom Wood was given a free entry into the 2016 Kick Start Ginetta Junior Scholarship. The competition this year saw sixty aspiring 13-15 year olds all going head to head for just one prize!
The competition took place over three days at Bedford Autodrome, the first two days saw the entrants split into two groups of thirty. The drivers were assessed in Fitness, Media and Driving where they were each given two sessions in the Ginetta Junior Car beside instructors including British Touring Car Drivers Tom Ingram, Adam Morgan and Bradley Smith.
At the end of the day around ten drivers from each day went through to the third and final day. Tom passed the first day with flying colours and was crucially into the final day where sixty drivers became twenty three.
So on Wednesday Tom and his fellow finalists were given more media assessments and due to a late start just one session in the car. The weather really played a part with the track flooded, giving Tom a whole new challenge.
After some deliberation the judges then narrowed it down to just twelve drivers which Tom made! Other finalists included Seb Priaulx, Enzo Fittipaldi, Jordan Collard and Alex Quinn.
At this stage the drivers were each given another session in the car but this time with no help from the instructors.
Tom was put in with Bradley Smith and did an impressive job! He was one of many to have a spin in the tricky conditions, but that spurred him on even more as his lap times started to come down!
Once all drivers had completed their session the judges announced the final three which Tom was unfortunately not in. However, looking back on the day with his lack of experience and age he did a fantastic job and has the chance to compete again next year where he’ll come back even stronger!
On his performance Tom commented “Winning the FKS junior title gave me a fantastic opportunity with a free entry to the Ginetta Junior Scholarship. I really enjoyed the event and I came away having learnt a lot about driving, media and fitness. For many of us it was the first time driving the car and the instructors were fantastic. I was thrilled to have made it through to the second day and to the final 12 drivers. Although I was disappointed not to win, it was a great experience and gave me an insight into the Ginetta Junior Championship and the progression that it offers young drivers such as me. Ashley Gallagher and the rest of the team made it a truly worthwhile event.”
Tom’s instructor Bradley Smith commented "Tom showed great car control and maturity in his runs in the Ginetta Junior which is one of the main reasons we sent him through to the final. Coming from karting there is a lot of extra elements to think about such as gears, front brakes and weight transfer which Tom developed a good understanding very quickly. Unfortunately, a spin on the wet track in his final run cost him in what was a very closely ran competition, but I can see a bright future for Tom in motorsport."
A spokesperson for Ginetta commented “The Ginetta Junior Scholarship is an ideal first step for anyone wanting to gain first-hand experience of the driving, fitness and media skills required to become a racing driver. We wish Tom all the best for the future and look forward to following his progress.”
The competition in the end was won by Northern Ireland’s Daniel Harper.