Exciting young racing talent Will Jenkins continued his impressive rookie Ginetta Junior Championship season with a valuable points haul at Thruxton this past weekend (19/20 September).
The 15 year old driver and his team headed to the fastest circuit in the UK for the fourth meeting of the season. He headed there full of confidence after a superb performance last time out at Knockhill, recording a maiden rookie class podium finish and a great fourth place finish overall.
Both practice sessions on Friday ran in ideal sunny conditions. Over the course of the day, Jenkins and his team focused on getting their car setup for the high-speed circuit and practicing their strategy for qualifying.
On Saturday morning, the Hopkins Motorsport sponsored driver got one last practice session to fine-tune the car setup ahead of qualifying. A solid performance in that session saw him finish the session in 11th, despite not getting an effective tow and having the disadvantage of brand-new tyres which didn’t offer the desired grip levels.
Jenkins made a good launch off the line in race one but was pushed off at the complex and dropped back to P14. Over the course of the next four laps, the Staffordshire racer picked off his rivals one-by-one and broke into the top ten.
Unfortunately, with two laps to go, he was forced out wide again and lost more places, but he clawed back a spot at the end of the race to take a positive 12th place. He was later promoted another position due to a post-race penalty for another driver.
The Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph UK backed driver lined up for the second race on Sunday in 15th position. Racing in front of the live ITV2 television cameras, he enjoyed a good first lap and moved up to 11th.
Unfortunately he had to take evasive action at the start of lap two and fell back to P15 again, however he immediately began a fightback and was up to 12th when the red flags came out due to an incident behind him.
The race eventually restarted with a shortened race distance of five laps. Unfortunately once the racing resumed, Jenkins realised his Ginetta G40 had sustained suspension damage and he fought hard to retain 12th place to the finish.
After a run of five consecutive points finishes, Jenkins sits as the 10th highest rookie in the drivers' standings. The next rounds take place this weekend (26/27 September) at Silverstone in Northamptonshire.
Will Jenkins: “I was very proud with my performance at the last race at Knockhill and that made me very motivated to keep the momentum going here at Thruxton.
“Over the practice sessions, me and my team just focused on making sure we had a good car for the weekend and eventually we found an ideal setup ahead of qualifying. The car was much more stable and predictable under braking, but sadly we didn’t have the optimum grip levels as the tyres were brand new.
"I was also trying to work with another privateer in order to get a good tow down the straights, however, I didn’t end up getting that much performance out of this strategy.
“Race one was good though. I got pushed off on the first lap, but I kept my head down and I was able to move up and get up to tenth at one stage. But, with two laps to go, I was forced wide again and managed to salvage 11th in the end.
“In the second race, it looked promising at the beginning. I made a good start but then lost places avoiding an incident ahead. I got up to 12th before the restart, but after that the suspension damage meant I no longer had the optimum performance.
"Therefore bringing the car home in 12th capped off a solid weekend. Despite the fact we were a bit unlucky in both races, I am pleased with the results and to come away with a good haul of points.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.