Aspiring professional racing driver Matt Chapman begins the latest chapter of his burgeoning young career at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 16th/17th April, when the 2016 Ginetta GT5 Challenge starts at the renowned Kent track.
Graduating from the Ginetta Junior Championship this year with Total Control Racing, the squad he has competed with in cars for the past couple of years, the 16-year-old from Oxford is targeting a suitably successful maiden year in the GT5 Challenge.
While preferring not to set any particular goals for the season ahead, and refusing to take anything for granted, the Ginetta Junior podium finisher did light-up the timesheets during officially timed GT5 Challenge testing on Brands Hatch’s shorter Indy Circuit last month.
Dominating the pre-season ‘Media Day’ tests by posting the fastest time in all three sessions, Matt and TCR also went through a variety of set-up changes and completed a raft of important work which should stand them in very good stead for next weekend’s three races on the longer GP track.
While acknowledging some of his chief rivals for the new season weren’t at the pre-season test such was the level of performance produced, team and driver are feeling quietly confident of getting the campaign off to a very strong start. Added to that, he also lapped quickest at Thruxton in Hampshire yesterday, Thursday, 7th April, during the pre-event test for the second event of the season in May.
“I can’t wait for the first round next weekend, the Media Day test went faultlessly for us and we completed a lot of really important work”, said Matt, “It’s always fantastic to be quickest, topping every session was more than we could have hoped for and to be fastest at Thruxton this week too was great. We do need to be realistic too though.
“There are some very quick and experienced guys in the championship, and not everyone was at the official tests, so we’re not getting carried away. All we can do, though, is focus on our own schedule and try to be as quick as we can. We made a great start at the Media Day, the guys at TCR gave me a fantastic car, so now we’ve got to put all of that into practice next weekend on the GP track.”
Arriving in the British GT Championship support category as a podium finisher in the sister Ginetta Junior category, the coming season will mark Matt’s first racing on slick Michelin tyres and there is also more power to contend with in the GT5 specification Ginetta G40.
Following his impressive performances in timed testing, though, the Oxfordshire youngster certainly looks set to be in among the leading contenders when his maiden season in the ever-popular British GT Championship-supporting GT5 Challenge begins a week from now.
Qualifying at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit will begin at 10.40 on Saturday, 16th April, followed by round one of the season at 13.40. On Sunday, 17th April, rounds two and three will take place at 11.25 and 17.05 respectively.