15th April 2024



James Nicholas, Mike Taylor and Harry Gamble each took a brilliant race win on their Ginetta GT
Academy debuts as the 2024 season got underway at Oulton Park.

It was rookie talents who shone at the front of the field across the traditional Easter weekend
curtain-raiser, starting with Taylor topping the timesheets in qualifying ahead of his W2R team-mate
Nicholas and Elite Motorsport’s Gamble. Julian Wantling (E3 Sport) was the top GTA class runner in

A new addition to the championship for this year is rolling starts and from the outside of the front
row, it was Nicholas who made the best launch to take the race one lead heading out of Old Hall.
Gamble followed to take second, with Taylor unfortunately falling to the back of the field on lap one.
A wide moment for Gamble into Cascades on lap two allowed Nicholas to build a two second lead at
the front, but soon the top two were nose-to-tail again. An exciting duel played out at the front of
the field, with Nicholas holding on to take victory in his first ever car race as the inaugural winner of
the PalmerSport Ginetta Scholarship.

Gareth Thomas (W2R) moved up to third on the opening lap and stayed there throughout to
complete the overall and rookie class podiums, with Wantling securing GTA honours in fourth. Luke
Shaw (W2R) was next up ahead of team-mate Amy Tomlinson, who finished second in GTA.
In his distinctive blue and orange liveried Ginetta G56 GTA, Thomas Balfe (W2R) climbed from tenth
on the grid to seventh at the finish ahead of GTA podium finisher Marc Elman (SVG Motorsport) and
another driver to make good progress through the race, Mike West (E3 Sport) from 13th to ninth.
Peter Thompson (W2R) climbed into the top six early on before eventually signing off his debut race
with a top ten result ahead of Ali Al Juffali (SVG Motorsport), Emma Tomlinson (W2R), the
recovering Taylor and Ginetta stalwart Phil McGarty (Xentek Motorsport).

Race two would take place in heavy rainfall on the morning of Easter Monday and Taylor bounced
back from his opening race frustrations with a perfect lights-to-flag victory. Holding onto the lead
from pole, he quickly pulled a gap at the front of the field and controlled proceedings throughout.
Behind, a frenetic start to the race saw Wantling and Nicholas battling it out for second through the
first couple of corners. Gamble then challenged Nicholas at the hairpin but ran wide and dropped to
11 th , before Nicholas himself lost time exiting Knickerbrook.

That led to Wantling holding onto second with a new order behind of Shaw, Gareth Thomas and
Elman, the latter rising four places on the opening lap alone. Second place changed hands on at the
end of lap three as Shaw nipped past heading out of Lodge.
Closing onto their tail fast though was Gamble, who was lapping as the quickest car on circuit as he
fought back from his lap one moment. Passing Gareth Thomas and Elman on the same lap for fourth,
he then overtook Wantling on lap five prior to the safety car being introduced after an off for

There was a final one-lap shootout to the chequered flag, with Shaw just holding off Gamble as they
completed the overall and rookie top three. GTA top two Wantling and Elman were next up, with
Thompson completing the top six from tenth on the grid.

Paul Thomas (W2R) finished up seventh ahead of fellow rookie Balfe, as West completed the GTA
class podium in ninth overall ahead of McGarty. Having fallen back to 16th after his lap one issue,
Nicholas recovered well to 11th ahead of Al Juffali and the Tomlinson sisters Emma and Amy.
With the race two result setting the grid for the final outing, it was Taylor who led the field away
from pole position. Shaw ran second for the first few corners before straight-lining the chicane
dropped him a position to Gamble.

There was further drama two corners later as Taylor ran wide across the grass at Druids and dropped
to tenth, opening the door for Gamble to move into the race lead. Shaw settled into second ahead of
Wantling, Elman and Thompson prior to a pair of safety car periods.

Those interruptions meant there was sadly only one more racing lap in the race, with Gamble
executing it perfectly to follow in the footsteps of his brothers George and Tom in becoming a
Ginetta race-winner. Shaw completed a second-place double for the day, with Wantling a weekend
high third overall.

Elman followed home Wantling to complete the GTA top two again from rookie podium finisher
Thompson and Paul Thomas. Nicholas managed to move up four places in the limited racing laps to
finish seventh, with Taylor fighting back to eighth after his early moment ahead of Balfe.
West completed the GTA podium finish in tenth overall ahead of Al Juffali, while Lucie Hodgson
(W2R) signed off her Ginetta debut with a weekend high result of 12th overall.

Alongside his hat-trick of wins in the GTA class, Wantling also scored a perfect treble in the
Chairmans Cup – a class for drivers aged 45 and over. Thompson and West shared all three podiums
with him.

Full race results can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/241305
All three races can be watched back at www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv

Silverstone is next up for the 2024 Ginetta GT Academy grid, with two races around the world-
famous Grand Prix circuit over the weekend of 27/28 April.


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