Motorsport News - Renault
Gamble To Make Formula Renault BARC Switch With Hillspeed
3rd May 2012Leading national motor racing team Hillspeed is delighted to confirm multiple Ginetta Junior race winner George Gamble will remain with the squad for his rumoured transition to single-seater racing later this year, after agreeing a deal to switch to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship.
Although the Nottingham 15-year-old, who chose to withdraw from Ginetta Junior after a multi-car accident in round three at Donington Park, is currently too young to compete in Formula Renault BARC he only has around two and a half months to wait until his 16th birthday in mid-July.
This means Gamble will be eligible to contest the final three events of the burgeoning single-seater category’s 2012 season; namely rounds eight and nine at Croft on 21st/22nd July, rounds 10, 11 and 12 at Donington Park on 18th/19th August and the blue riband championship finale, rounds 13 and 14, on 6th/7th October at Silverstone in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
From Hillspeed’s perspective, the intention is to test Gamble in a ‘slicks and wings’ FR 2.0 car as soon as possible to get him fully up-to-speed prior to his single-seater race debut. When he joins the grid at Croft in July, Gamble will be, by far, the youngest driver in the series.
“This really is an exciting new challenge for me, we’ve always wanted to progress into single-seaters and it’s just come a bit sooner than expected”, said Gamble, “Everything’s moved forward so quickly since we took the decision to stop racing in Ginetta. The aim at the start of the year was to win the title there but after everything that happened at Donington we decided to move on.
“As soon as we made the announcement about leaving Ginetta we had a lot of different offers but we always wanted to look at moving to Formula Renault BARC and we definitely wanted to stay with Hillspeed, it was the natural choice. I know there’s going to be a lot to learn, and I’ll be the youngest driver on the grid, but this is a very exciting time for my career. I can’t wait to get started.”
Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw is delighted Gamble is remaining with the team for his switch to single-seaters and is confident the talented youngster will shine in Protyre Formula Renault BARC which has become the UK’s most popular, heavily subscribed and competitive series of its kind.
“Throughout the 2011 season Hillspeed watched George develop as a driver and we targeted him as the one we wanted in our squad for this year”, said Ollerenshaw, “This was always on the basis of one year in Ginetta Junior, dovetailing a testing programme in Formula Renault BARC and then going on to make his race debut in the Winter Series – if one took place – and the main 2013 season.
“With George’s decision after Donington, it meant we had to look at things again and see how best to get George up to speed ahead of his 16th birthday to prepare him as well as possible for his debut in BARC in July. Looking at this year, how well he’s driven on-track, how well he’s worked with the team and how hard he works off-track, we know he’ll be very competitive in single-seaters.”
Ginetta Junior front-runner Massot confirms full season
In other news, Spanish teenager Pepe Massot has confirmed his place with Hillspeed in the Ginetta Junior Championship for the remainder of the 2012 season having extended his deal which originally covered only the first four races of the campaign at Brands Hatch and Donington Park.
Massot did also appear at Thruxton this past weekend for rounds five and six of the campaign but has only now been able to confirm he will contest the entire championship, having secured the full backing to ensure his tremendous debut season progress can continue to be built upon.
Stunning the established order with some remarkable performances thus far, the car racing rookie was nothing short of a revelation at Donington in mid-April when he bounced back from a massive car-wrecking collision in round three to achieve his maiden podium the next day – and all in a spare, untested car!
“Pepe has been truly outstanding since making his car racing debut with us at Brands Hatch”, added Ollerenshaw, “He ran as high as fourth place on his debut weekend in Ginetta Junior and picked up an incredible second place at Donington in round four. To achieve what he did there, after such a huge accident the day before, was unbelievable.
“Up to the green flag lap on the Sunday morning, Pepe hadn’t driven the spare car at all and we only had very limited time to get the car prepared, fitted with his pedals and seat, and ready to go. We really couldn’t have asked for more from him, he’s been superb. All credit to Pepe and his family for the hard work they’ve done back home in Spain to find the budget to complete the season.”
Massot’s extended deal means he will continue to race alongside fellow rookie Nathan Harrison for the remainder of the 20-race championship. From the fourth event of the season at Oulton Park in June, Hillspeed plans to field a third driver once again in Ginetta Junior to fill the slot left vacant after Gamble’s departure from the series – the team is currently in talks with several drivers for the seat.
Hillspeed’s next track action will be the second event of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season, rounds four and five, over the weekend 19th/20th May at Rockingham in Northamptonshire. Rounds seven and eight of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship will follow on 9th/10th June at Oulton Park.
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