Jason Plato and Jamie Chadwick have waxed lyrical about the quality and importance of the “undervalued” Ginetta Junior Championships as it enters a new era.
The one-make series had been a popular support package for the British Touring Car Championship rounds since 2008. It now features on the British GT programme. It has helped a host of names, including W Series dominant force and current Indy NXT rookie Chadwick, move from karting to cars between the ages of 14 and 17.
And the 24-year-old has admitted that Ginetta Junior Championships provided the “first big leg up” for her. Ginetta Juniors aided her quest to become a professional driver and is the perfect platform to progress as a driver.
“It really taught me everything I needed to learn, initially, about racing cars,” Chadwick said on Fuelling Around, a podcast co-hosted by BTCC legend Plato.
“It was so undervalued, being on the Touring Car package. Seeing the likes of Jason and the Touring Car drivers around and being like ‘that’s what I want to do, that’s insane’. As a 14-year-old running around not even being able to drive on the road but racing on these circuits around the UK with the crowds we had, it was definitely two years I wish I’d kind of enjoyed a bit more looking back at it.
“You can learn the tracks in a safe and controlled environment. It gives you a chance to learn a bit more about car racing.”
A series of support races will bolster the BTCC offering throughout 2023. But, Plato admits even the elite drivers will miss the teenagers learning the ropes on the same bill. They began their latest quest for junior glory at the weekend (April 8-10) at Oulton Park.
“I’ll let you into a little secret… As soon as the Ginetta Juniors left the grid to do their green flag lap, all of us touring car drivers ran to the fence to watch,” said the retired racer on the episode of the award-winning podcast.
“I promise you, that’s true. The racing is fantastic! I had to eat a bit of humble pie actually. When the idea of it was tabled, my initial reaction was: ‘Oh that’s ridiculous. That’s what karting’s for, it’s too young’. Within one season, you go ‘cor, I got that wrong’.”
Plato’s co-host, former Radio One broadcaster ‘Comedy’ Dave Vitty, added: “It’s mind blowing. I’ve watched it live and on TV and you just think the standard is so high’.
Fuelling Around is a podcast co-hosted by radio presenter, event host and broadcaster Dave Vitty and British Touring Car Championship legend and TV personality Jason Plato. Series 5: Episode 5 features dominating W Series Champion, Jamie Chadwick. She honors the Ginetta Junior Championship which fundamentally accelerated her successful career in motorsport. Watch the latest podcast here Fuelling Around podcast: Jamie Chadwick on her record-breaking W Series win and women in motorsport | Adrian Flux [34:44- 40:44].
Fuelling Around S5:E5 is available to listen online now. Find it on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and AudioBoom as well as several other podcast outlets.
Find out how you can get on track with Ginetta, here.