DREAM COMES TRUE FOR YOUNGEST BRITISH TOURING CAR RACER

DREAM COMES TRUE FOR YOUNGEST BRITISH TOURING CAR RACER

A DREAM will come true for one of the UK’s most promising young motor racing talents when he makes his debut in a world famous championship later this month.

Ethan Hammerton, 17, will be the youngest current driver in the illustrious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) when he competes in the championship’s last two rounds at the legendary Silverstone and Brands Hatch circuits.

Ethan will replace fellow Team Hard racer Michael Caine, 49, a former British GT Championship winner who has been racing in the BTCC since 2011.

Last year the Northallerton teenager beat off stiff competition from almost 100 other drivers to win the Team Hard GKR Scaffolding Scholarship and has since been racing in the prestigious VW Cup Championship, which is seen as a proven training ground for drivers with professional ambitions.

The move up to the BTCC has come far earlier than expected and is recognition of a rare talent.

“I have been watching British Touring Cars at Croft with my mum, dad and brother since I was a young boy and I can’t believe I am now going to be actually racing in the championship,” said Ethan.

 

“I switched from racing karts to racing cars in the Junior Saloon Car Championship when I was 15, in 2015, and it was my goal then to race in the BTCC and I’ve achieved that ambition – it’s a dream come true,” he added

 

Ethan will line-up on the BTCC’s Silverstone grid over the weekend of September 15 and 16, and will then compete in the season finale at Brands Hatch over the last weekend of September.

Only Formula 1 and America’s NASCAR stock car series have longer histories than the BTCC – since its inception in 1958 it has attracted and captivated millions of motor racing fans around the world.

Ethan was at the Rockingham motor racing circuit with Team Hard boss Tony Gilham when he learned a seat in the BTCC might be a possibility: “We were at the Rockingham round of the BTCC supporting Bobby Thompson and the rest of Team Hard when discussions started with Tony and I am over the moon that everything is now in place and I can’t wait to get out in the car,” he explained.

“I know it’s going to be tough given the lack of time in the car compared to the other drivers and the 45kg mandated ballast for new entrants. I fully appreciate the trust put in me and will put everything I have into doing well for Team Hard. I know how privileged I am to have been given this opportunity and I am realistic about my expectations

“I really want to be in the BTCC next year and am hoping that this is just the start of my BTCC career. I’d like to thank Tony Gilham, Team Hard, GKR Scaffolding, HMC Group, Hadrian Healthcare and my other sponsors for making this happen.”

Ethan is seen as an emerging talent in the world of motorsport having narrowly missed out in two junior championships last season. He finished on the podium a staggering 21 times out of 26 starts, with race wins, lap records and fastest laps in both the Renault UK Clio Junior Championship and the JSCC finishing as vice champion.

Having gained the Team Hard GKR Scaffolding scholarship, the young racer secured his first VW Cup Championship podium at Rockingham in only his third senior race. This season he has also raced in the Fun Cup Spa 25 hour race at Belgium’s Spa circuit, where he won the Evo 2 class.

Trackside crowd figures for the popular BTCC are now around 40,000 and major manufacturers such as BMW, Honda, Vauxhall and Subaru are all part of the championship roadshow.

ITV has agreed a long-term contract extension up until the end of 2022, providing a perfect platform of millions of viewers for sponsors to raise their profiles and reputations.

If you would like to sponsor Ethan in 2018/2019 please contact him on Facebook, via his racing page @Ethan Hammerton Racing or email him at hammerton23@outlook.com for sponsorship opportunities.

Ethan Hammerton BTCC

Interview with Ethan Hammerton

Interview with Ethan Hammerton

As our Scholarship winner how has your first race been?

It’s been a good day, there’s positives to take from it. I’m not quite where I’d like to be but I’m still learning all time. Conditions were tricky so let’s say what we happens tomorrow but I’m pretty pleased with how the first day has gone really.

As you say conditions were very tricky with a dry line appearing but very wet.

It was greasy this morning and then a dry line to start with but it was a bit tricky at times, especially going off line but it was a good race really.

So where did you qualify?

I qualified in 13th and finished the race in 12th. I did get up to 11th at one point and had some interesting battles but at the last few minutes ended up 12th. I was learning lap by lap with the car.

For your first weekend out we think that you’ve done remarkably well. Have you been able to give and receive lots of feedback from the mechanics and Tony (Gilham)?

Yes we’ve been making adjustments to the car throughout the day to set it up to how I like it and we are getting there.

How much testing have you had?

One day on Friday so it’s been limited.

So what are the things that you feel you need to improve on?

Mainly gear changes because they are very different from what I’m used to being a manual box and a left hand drive. So it’s just getting used to it with experience but that will come with time.

Where are you starting on the grid tomorrow and where would you like to finish?
I’d like to move up though the field and get a top 10 finish. I got a good start today but unfortunately lost out. So if I can get another good start then hopefully will move up and take the positives from the first race.

It’s then on to Rockingham. Is that a circuit that you’ve any experience of?

Yes I’ve won at Rockingham before and it’s probably my favourite circuit. So hopefully we’ll have a good round there.

You’re using the number 23 on your car is that for a specific reason.

Well, I’ve been 23 since I started karting. But it’s actually because Lewis Hamilton was 23 when I first started racing. Hopefully I can just stick with that number throughout my career.

Obviously, it’s going to be a learning curve in you Scholarship year but what are your ultimate aspirations?

I want to get into Touring Cars eventually but we’ll have to see what will happen with my learning and sponsors to get to that point. GKR Scaffolding are the main sponsor this year who have supported the Scholarship. I can’t thank them and the Team enough for the opportunity.

Race 2 report from Ethan’s Facebook:

“Sunday morning was completely different from Friday and Saturday as the track was dry and was going to be my first ever race on slick tyres. I heated my tyres up well on the warm up lap and made another great start moving from 12th to 10th on track by Copse corner when approaching Becketts a fellow competitor who spun on the warm up lap in front of me, lost control of his car going into Becketts and drove straight into my car causing considerable damage and very frustratingly causing me to retire and a visit to the medical centre to get checked out!

Still a lot of positives to take from the weekend and I would like to thank Tony Gilham of Team-HARD and Neil Rowswell from GKR scaffolding for this amazing opportunity and to thank my mechanics Steve, Tom and all the staff from Team-HARD for their excellent work all weekend!

Already looking forward to rounds 3 and 4 at a Rockingham in 4 weeks supporting the British GT Championship.”