Will Jenkins produced impressive qualifying pace and valiant race performances during the 2020 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend (14/15 November).
The Hopkins Race Transporters supported driver made the journey to Kent for the final two races of the season motivated to end his encouraging rookie season on a high around the short Indy circuit.
Starting with free practice on Friday in changing conditions, Jenkins improved his speed across the two sessions and ended a strong fifth fastest. The 15 year old followed this up with one of his best qualifying performances of the season, finishing seventh overall just a quarter of a second off the top three.
The Staffordshire racer unfortunately struggled to get the car off the line in difficult conditions in race one, before contact at turn one pushed him back outside the top 10. A safety car period at the end of lap one, which turned into a red flag on lap three, prevented Jenkins from making any progress.
The race was eventually restarted and Jenkins was able to make up ground and move into P9 before the safety car was deployed again on the first lap. He fell back to tenth on the restart but couldn't respond as the race was stopped due to another accident.
The final race of the season on Sunday morning took place in slippery wet conditions. Jenkins made a decent start from twelfth place but couldn't progress from there as the race was red flagged almost immediately thanks to a crash on the start line.
After a lengthy delay, the race restarted and Jenkins was able to get away cleanly and stay out of trouble before the safety car was called out yet again before the end of the first lap. The race resumed on lap three and Jenkins made up some ground, but unfortunately made a mistake led to him being stuck in the gravel trap at Paddock Hill corner.
Despite the frustrating end to the season, the Asset Alliance Group, Digraph Transport Supplies and Corroconsult backed driver has plenty of positives to take from his maiden car-racing campaign, with the highlights being rookie class podium finishes at Knockhill and Croft, plus four overall top six results.
Will Jenkins: "I can't believe just how fast the season has gone by. Overall it's been a really solid rookie campaign and I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me out this year.
"The weekend started off well on Friday. Track conditions were not exactly perfect but nevertheless I was still able to get some productive track time in and work on finding more pace round the Indy circuit. It definitely helped having a few days testing on this layout before, as it meant we were not too focused on car setup and I could just work on myself.
"On Saturday, qualifying went well. I was pleased with my performance and with my fastest lap to go seventh fastest. I knew that this was a great position to be starting the first race from.
"The first race was pretty unfortunate for me. I didn't make the start I wanted and then contact at the first corner meant I lost some ground over my opponents. The red flag periods and the laps behind the safety car really didn't help with my recovery.
"However, I remained positive as I knew that I had good race pace and at the end of the day, P10 was still a good result.
"The last race on Sunday was a real disappointment though. I had a great second start after the race was stopped after the opening lap and I was starting to make up some good time until I made a small mistake and ended up beached in the gravel trap.
"Nevertheless, it's been a really enjoyable season racing in the Ginetta Junior Championship. I am very thankful to my family, sponsors and to Elite Motorsport for their support and help during my rookie campaign in the championship."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.