This weekend will mark the first round of the 2016 Junior Saloon Car Championship when the action gets underway at Oulton Park. The highly competitive championship is open to driver aged 14-17 where they will learn the basics of saloon car racing in Citroen Saxo’s. Following the success of some of the series past drivers, this season has seen record entries with all drivers believing they have what it takes to be crowned champion. The first two races of the season will take place on Saturday where the drivers will tackle the Island layout of the Oulton Park circuit. In total there will be 18 races in 2016 taking place over nine weekends including trips to Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Looking to make their mark over the course of the season will be four lady racers who are aiming to forge a career in motorsport.
One driver returning to the series after a successful 2015 is Katie Milner. Katie finished her debut year in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in ninth place after a season where she got to grips with the car and learnt the different circuits on the calendar. The highlight of Katie’s year came at her home track of Croft where she qualified in fourth position and collected a pair of top-5 results of the course of the weekend, narrowly missing out on the podium in race two. Milner will be targeting regular podium finishes in 2016 as she returns to the championship eager to improve on her rookie year. Consistency will be vital throughout the season and if she starts the season well, Katie could find herself involved in a championship battle during the second half of the year.
One of the newcomers to the Junior Saloon Car Championship for 2016 is Shanel Drewe. Shanel has been involved in motorsport for a number of years and will be familiar with the mechanical side of the sport having worked with Simon James on his Citroen Saxo during the Tricolore Trophy last season, in addition to helping write race reports for the team. Drewe has also spent time with Kevin Mills Formula Ford team to gain extra knowledge into single seaters as well as saloon cars; this experience could prove vital as the young driver moves up the motorsport ladder. With some crucial winter testing under her belt, Shanel will be hopeful to put her skills into practice as she lines up for the first Junior Saloon Car Championship race this weekend. As a rookie in the series it’ll be a steep learning curve for Drewe but she has both the talent and knowledge to succeed in her first year of car racing.
Also joining the Junior Saloon Car Championship grid for the upcoming season is Emily Glanvill. After competing in Autograss racing during the majority of 2015, Emily decided to enter the Junior Saloon Car Championship scholarship event last month in an attempt to win herself a place on the grid. After a mixture of both fitness and driving related examinations, Glanvill was crowned the winner meaning she had won herself a full funded drive in this season’s Junior Saloon Car Championship in connection with the Teenage Cancer Trust. With very limited time to prepare for the first round at Oulton Park this weekend, Emily has fully utilised her testing opportunities and will believe that she can challenge the leading drivers from the outset.
Hoping to join the grid later in the season will be young driver Lydia Walmsley. Lydia is currently the Minimax karting champion at Ellough Park and is moving up to compete in the Junior Rotax class this year. During the course of the season, Walmsley is hoping to make the step into car racing via the Junior Saloon Car Championship when her car has been fully prepared and she has carried out some testing. Lydia is still seeking sponsorship to compete in as many rounds as possible but is hopeful to on the grid by the end of the season with her karting commitments ensuring she is race sharp.
With the relatively low costs compared to other tin top series, the Junior Saloon Car Championship provides the perfect stepping stone into circuit racing with competitive grids and a large calendar that features 18 races over nine weekends whilst visiting the most historic tracks in the country. The 2016 season is set to be one of the most competitive yet with a number of drivers fighting it out to be crowned champion. The opening round of the championship gets underway with a pair of races taking place at Oulton Park on Saturday 19th March before going onto Pembrey for the second round in five weeks’ time.