Hill makes the big step
July 2nd 2013
For 19-year-old Jake Hill, the Croft round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was the realisation of a dream when he joined the BTCC grid with Motorbase Performance.
The one-off opportunity for the promising youngster from Kent came about when Liam Griffin was unable to compete at the North Yorkshire track in the Addison Lee Ford Focus.
"David Bartrum was aware that Liam wasn't going to be able to do Croft," said Hill. "As I'd done well in the test that he kindly gave me last November, David and the team manager Oly Collins said 'let's give it a go'.
"It is a massive deal for me. I can't thank David and Oly enough for giving me this chance and to see my name on the side of a touring car is what I've dreamt of for a long time. I've been around the touring car paddock since I was 11-years-old and working for Redline Racing cleaning wheels. To do my first touring car race was so special.
"Free practice on Saturday morning was the first time I'd driven the car since the test last November. My aim was to win at least once in the Jack Sears Trophy for the S2000 cars. I know I had the best S2000 car possible and the best team to run me.
"These were my first races of the season. It is frustrating, but I'd rather do this one weekend properly then maybe do something else half-heartedly. I wanted to do the best job I could and impress the team and then see if anything comes out of it. I'll try my very hardest to see if we can get back out maybe later in the year and certainly next year.
"Lesley Hayes, who died recently, was a great lady and a big supporter for me. She kindly helped me for this weekend in a deal that was set up some time ago. Mike Flounders at Tollbar Racing has helped me from day one in Ginettas, so a huge thank you to him. Then I want to thank all the sponsors who have helped me along the way. People like Tommy Dreelan and Jim Geddie; Maxi Jazz helped me again for the Croft weekend, Fuji Film, Drift Cameras and lots of other people. My dad Simon has worked unbelievably hard to get this chance. He is my number one fan as well as my dad!"
"Overall, it's been really good," said Jake. "I qualified second and won the Jack Sears Trophy in the first race. I think it was a really good drive. In the second race I got caught up behind David Nye, but it was still a very good race and I learnt a lot. In the third race I got my official welcome to touring cars. I got royally beaten up. The car was very good in the wet and we were challenging the NGTC cars but I got really heavily whacked at the hairpin and it broke the steering.
"I absolutely want to be in the BTCC again and we'll just have to wait and see what happens."