The all new Stilp HARD. Academy is continuing to receive a fantastic response, with lots of plans for what promises to be a very exciting 2018! We are very pleased to announce the signing of Ralphie Reeves from Basingstoke, who at just five years old is already making a name for himself in the karting world, recently finishing 2nd overall in the UK Kart Championship at Shenington, competing against 6-8 year olds. Ralphie has already impressed us with his natural speed and talent, and as he moves up to a new category for this year will benefit from the additional support the academy can provide as he develops as a driver in the years to come.
Ralphie’s father Russell had this to say, ‘As a father I am so proud of my son and what a natural he is, he really took to it without much coaching and continues to improve each time we are out. He really is a little star in the making and is drawing some serious interest and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him, I will be with him every step of the way. Starting early and achieving so much already is a great taster of what’s to come, and we want him to go all the way with Team HARD!’
Team owner Tony Gilham added, ‘This is a very exciting time for all of us at Team HARD. Ralphie really stood out for us, not only as the youngest driver signed to the Stilp HARD Academy, but also with the social media following that he and his father Russell are already working on. We’re over the moon to be able to help Ralphie with his journey up the motorsport ladder, building a strong relationship to give him stability later on in his career. We feel there isn’t enough support for our young stars, and are fortunate to be able to give this with the new academy.
The all new Stilp HARD. Academy recently launched has had an amazing response over the last week or so and several meetings and conversations are now taking place as we look to end this season on a high and put plans in place for 2018.
AJ Sofroniou, who will now always be our #001, is the 1st driver to join our academy to begin an exciting new chapter in his racing career. In what is very much a family operation, it is so important to not only provide the development opportunity and support for up and coming racing drivers but to be able to build a career in house with one team is a real bonus.
Aj at just 9 years old is very excited, “I can’t wait to get started for next year and looking forward to meeting my new team mates when more drivers join the team. I think I can do very well in Super one with the Stilp HARD. Academy.”
Jordan said “Well what can I say, I’ve worked with Aj from the start, from the very first day this time last year, he really caught my eye with his natural ability to drive. Ever since that day I have worked as much as possible with him to really see what he has to offer. He has impressed, not just me, but a lot of people around the motorsport paddock, on and off the track. His ability to listen and take everything on board is great, and this is a major key to any driver’s success and Aj does this like it’s second nature. Aj has the ambition and determination to make it all the way and he’s shown his talent already in his first year. Now signing with Tony and I in the academy, we will make sure that Aj gets that extra support needed to build his profile. I feel that Aj is now ready for another big challenge, so we are entering him into the British Super One championship in 2018 and I cannot wait to see how he performs, I am extremely confident that he will succeed in this and his racing career will really start to build some momentum.”
Tom Kimber-Smith, driver manager added, “AJ has come a long way in such a short space of time. Last year was his first taste of Karting and having watched his final few races of the season you would not believe that he was a rookie. I have been in motorsport for many years and competing at the highest level, it amazes me how much hard work AJ is willing to put in. He understands already the dedication needed and the learning obstacles that he must overcome to succeed and win. Having signed with the Stilp HARD. Academy for the 2018 season, there is no reason now why AJ cannot win races.”
Tony concluded, “This is a real exciting time for the team all round and the Stilp HARD. Academy is the perfect start in motorsport for aspiring racing drivers to really learn what the industry is all about both on and off track. There isn’t enough support commercially for our stars of the future, so to be able to offer this kind of programme is amazing and we are very fortunate to be able to do so. There are some amazing talents out there and we are very much looking forward to seeing how far we can take them up the Motorsport ladder and build a strong relationship along the way. It all start now with our 1st signing Aj #001”
The Team HARD. Racing Motorsport ladder is now complete with the addition of our new race academy headed up by professional racing driver Jordan Stilp and Tony Gilham.
Jordan has been involved with the team for a few years now and the time is right to develop our relationship further and provide an opportunity that is very unique to Motorsport and take our development programme to a whole new level. It is a very unique concept that now offers stars of the future a one team journey from karting and junior racing all the way through to the top of the GT and Touring car world.
Tony said “Jordan has been great in helping our existing drivers develop as part of our GT programme whilst also working with his own junior drivers in the karting series. Karting is very new to me but I am very keen to learn all about it and help where possible to nurture young talent and assist them every step of the way.
The addition of the new Stilp HARD. Academy kart team will extend in to junior racing with the introduction of Ginetta Juniors for 2018. We have already signed our first academy driver with news to follow over the next few days.
Jordan added “I have been working with Tony and the team for a while now and have admired what they have built over the last few years. We have had several discussions over recent months and we both have the same vision with providing this opportunity for up and coming racing drivers. Motorsport is a very tough industry as I have found out myself, so to be able to work with Team HARD. and create something like this is a perfect platform on which to build on. We have lots of plans in place already and are very much looking forward to launching the academy and talking to interested parties.”
Tony went on to say “We all know Motorsport is one of the hardest places to be at times and so to be in a position to have built something so unique and offer what is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young drivers is testament to the people we have around us. We offer a full management programme and assist in every area a modern-day racing driver needs to be successful and rise to the very top. I cannot wait to get going and begin working with these little superstars.”