Image credit: Red Firecraker/SportsCarGlobal.
Growing up in the 1980’s if you wanted to race there were karts. If you wanted to progress you went to Silverstone Racing School or Jim Russell, these were fine for single-seaters, but an MG Maestro was classified as the first rung of the ladder for ‘sportscars’ and there ended many a career!
However ……. Nowadays Ginetta run the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year olds running 100bhp restricted G40s utilising Ford’s venerable 1.8 Zetec engine. At the recent Ginetta media day at Brands Hatch SportsCarGlobal ‘s Nick Holland took some time to speak with Charlie Fagg (CF) of HHC Motorsport who, by his own admission, has gone from backmarker to front-runner in just 6months with the support of EDGE Sporting Management. Here’s more –
SCG – Hi Charlie, good to meet you, do you mind us asking how old you are?
CF – Hi, of course not, I’m 16 hence in the middle of the 14-17 year old age bracket for the Ginetta Juniors.
SCG – What prior motorsport experience have you brought to the Series
CF – Very little really, I started karting aged 14 at a local pro-kart track, completing 6 or 7 races, enjoyed that and moved swiftly on into Ginetta Juniors, but could only complete half a season as my dad wanted me to focus on my GCSEs!
SCG – A wise man, as a father myself, I can fully understand and respect his view!
CF – I did a brief winter series last year, got some podiums, led a race etc.. but I’m really looking forward to a full season in 2016
SCG – So what was so attractive about Ginetta?
CF – Well it is quite simple really, I was doing a Mini-day for young drivers at Croft circuit really learning how to drive and handle a road car. We started to look at karts nothing serious, and one of the guys running the event introduced themselves, happened to work for HHC Motorsport who run Ginetta Juniors. They offered the opportunity of a test, and everything kind of escalated from there.
SCG – Do you have a coach helping you?
CF – Yes, I’m supported by EDGE Sporting Management, Phil Glew is my driver coach, he helped me throughout last year and the start of this year.
SCG – How have you got on at Brands Hatch today?
CF – So far we’ve had our first session, we’ve had a little problem with the engine which we have carried over from Donington Park, we’re losing about 7/10th of second at the moment, top end on the straights, but the HHC Motorsport team are doing a great job, they’ve made some changes to the gearbox which should help, as we shift into fifth the engine isn’t pulling quite right, but the team are addressing it.
SCG – Well I was lucky enough to have a go this morning in a Ginetta G40, and my instructor didn’t even tell me there was a fifth! so you’re clearly doing something right! What tyres do you run?
CF – All Ginetta Junior runners are on control road performance Michelin tyres, they are good, long lasting. Unlike a race slick where you’d want fresh and new, with these you actually want worn treads to get a better contact patch, so it is difficult to judge on a practice day who is running what.
SCG – Indeed it is only testing. So when is the first race?
CF – 2nd April, here at Brands Hatch on the Indy Circuit as per this test
SCG – Best of Luck Charlie, all at SportsCarGlobal.com will be looking out for your progress in the Matt Black and Metallic Blue with Bright Green stripe Chung-Bor / Differenti-8 Sponsored Ginetta G40.
In Charlie’s garage we spotted Joe Bradley (JB) of our favourite Sportscar commentary team Radio Show Limited so we took a little time to chat with Joe too
SCG – Quite a surprise so soon after Mugello to see you here Joe, what are you up to ?
JB – I’m an interested friend of the family really. Charlie is just starting out on his first full season and unfortunately for his father, he is going pretty well! (chortle) Joking aside Charlie is on an upward trajectory and rapidly approaching the sharp-end of the grid and expectations are for consistent top-5 finishes. He is in this distinctively liveried Chung Bor G40 run by HHC Motorsport, one of the more successful teams in the series. HHC are always looking for potential and Charlie has certainly shown that.
In this Championship Ginetta have created the first rung of the ladder to Le Mans, to think you can get six seasons of experience under your belt before you are twenty is phenomenal.
SCG – When we look at the car, its all between the axles really, lightweight radiator out front under a single-piece composite bonnet, similar at the rear nothing beyond the rear axle, apart from the form of a small boot largely to mount the rear wing on!
JB – Indeed, Ford Zetec capped at 100bhp with treaded Michelin performance road tyres, so the cars can move about a lot, and beyond learning racecraft these young drivers are learning about mechanical grip and rotating the car into a corner. Its wonderful that without stepping from the Ginetta family a driver can progress from here to the Ginetta Racing Drivers Club, the Plus Series, GT5, 4, 3 and even to the wonderful G57.
SCG – Absolutely, and that it is just possible (rumour) could be a platform for a future US LM-PC car in the future! Thanks for your time Joe, and we look forward to tracking Charlie Fagg’s progress this year and beyond.
Footnote – Other drivers in or formally from the EDGE Sporting Management include the likes of Duncan Tappy, Josh Hill, Jack Mitchell (2014 Ginetta Junior Champion) and Pietro Fittipaldi (who’s younger brother Enzo(14) is making his Ginetta Junior debut this season).