Taking place at Ginetta’s own test track, Blyton Park in Lincolnshire, the three-day event (28-30 October) saw 68 young drivers complete a number of driving, fitness and media assessments as they battled it out for one of the most sought-after prizes in UK motorsport.
With Ginetta’s factory World Endurance Championship driver Charlie Robertson overseeing proceedings, 2019 GT5 Challenge star Katie Milner and Ginetta alumni Max Coates, Jake Hill and Ben Green were in the passenger seat assessing the contenders’ driving talent.
As well as getting to grips with the Ginetta G40 Junior machinery on track, the entrants were also put through their paces with physical challenges to test their fitness and determination, while ITV commentator Richard John Neil assessed their media and communication skills.
25 drivers made it through to the final day, where they faced further media and fitness challenges, as well as the challenge of a new circuit layout to tackle. The field was narrowed down to a top 12 and then a top five, who faced a tense final two-lap shootout alongside Robertson.
After impressing across the event, Lebbon emerged as a deserving winner. The 14 year old karter from Bury St Edmunds will now make his car-racing debut next season with Ginetta, following in the footsteps of former scholars including Jamie Chadwick, Daniel Harper and Adam Smalley.
The full prize is entry into the 2020 Ginetta Junior Championship, use of a G40 Junior race car for the whole season including consumables, insurance and a season supply of race tyres and fuel, with professional car preparation from an experienced team for the duration of the season.
Tom Lebbon: “It feels amazing. I came into the competition never thinking I would win, with a few drivers having some more experience than me. I gave it everything and I’m delighted to have become the 2020 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner.
“I feel I got to grips well with the G40 and to think I’m now going to be racing one next year is awesome. Thank you so much to Ginetta for this opportunity, I can’t wait to get out there for the opening rounds at Donington Park in March.”
Ashley Gallagher, Ginetta Motorsports Manager: “Tom put in a brilliant performance throughout the Scholarship competition. His natural talent was clear on track and he progressed well, while showing great professionalism through his media and fitness sessions.
“The standard of drivers was extremely high and it was arguably one of the most competitive Scholarship contests so far. It looks like we’ve got many talented young drivers looking to enter Ginetta Juniors and we look forward to welcoming some to the grid next year.”
Final Five: Lebbon, Alex Dunne, Dan Morris, Will Jenkins, Tommy Pintos
Final 12: Thomas Edgar, Seb Hopkins, Jez Williams, Oliver Grey, Jack Meakin, Will Orton, Trennon Bettany
Final 25: Archie Thompson, Josh Miller, Dominic Bush, Josh Bates, Alex Ley, Luke Bennett, Ruben Stanislaus, Adam Harding, Aqil Alibhai, Joshua Vallance, Archie Kitching, Oliver Flashman, Georgi Dmitrov.