British and European karting sensation Nathan Harrison has been confirmed as Hillspeed’s first driver signing for the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship with the 15-year-old set to make his eagerly anticipated car racing debut with the reigning champions.
Having claimed its second consecutive driver’s title last season, in addition to the coveted team championship, the Hathersage-based squad is keen to make it a hat-trick of successes. Naturally, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw is delighted to have agreed terms with the talented rookie.
“We’re incredibly pleased to have signed a deal with Nathan for his first season in cars and we’re confident he’ll make strong progress and become a real force in Ginetta Junior”, said the Hillspeed boss, “We can’t wait to begin our pre-season testing programme with him, it’s fantastic to have the chance to work with a driver boasting such a superb karting pedigree.
“This deal with Nathan only came about because, thanks to Ginetta, he’d had the chance to test a G40 at Bedford Autodrome just before Christmas.
“It’s that level of support and commitment from such a proactive manufacturer which helps the championship thrive and stand-out from the competition. Lawrence Tomlinson (Ginetta Cars Chairman) and his team deserve a lot of credit.”
Regarded as one of the UK’s top young karters, Harrison has enjoyed tremendous success during his eight-year tenure in karting – not least in 2009 when he became Super 1 ABkC Mini Max Karting Champion, Southern Karting Champion and West Midlands Karting Champion. He also took a highly creditable fourth place in the Mini Max class of that season’s MSA Kartmasters Grand Prix.
Competing in Rotax Max Junior for the past couple of years, the youngster concluded his karting career in 2011 by claiming the Vice-Champion’s position in the Super 1 National Rotax Max Junior Championship and he also became Vice-Champion in the Rotax Max Euro Challenge. Notably, he was also ranked a highly impressive sixth in the world in Rotax Max karting.
Looking ahead to his debut season in car racing, Harrison said: “I’m really looking forward to making my debut in Ginetta Junior – I really can’t wait.
“We always knew we’d come into cars when I was old enough, karting is the foundation and there wasn’t much else we could do there really. This is most definitely the right time to make the step-up and take on a new challenge.
“We’re confident it’s going to be a great year driving with Hillspeed.
“We know it’ll be tough, there are going to be some very experienced second and third year drivers in the championship, but we’re aiming for a strong debut and focused on fighting at the front.”
Welcoming the former Mini Max Champion to Ginetta Junior, Lawrence Tomlinson said: “It’s great to see Nathan taking his first step into sportscars.
“The Ginetta Juniors provide a great platform for young racing drivers at the early stages of their career, the benefits and experience they gain prepares them for any series.
“I wish Nathan all the best for his first season as a Ginetta Junior driver and I look forward to watching him progress.”
Since debuting in Ginetta Junior at the beginning of 2010 when the new Ginetta G40 was introduced, Hillspeed has enjoyed massive success in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship-support category and has firmly established itself as the team to beat.
After taking Tom Ingram to the driver’s title in its first year in Ginetta, Hillspeed went on to win the 2010 Winter Series crown with Seb Morris before the Welsh racer added the main season title to his CV following a thoroughly dominant campaign last year.
Rounds one and two of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship will take place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent over the weekend of March 31/April 1.