Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn claimed the Avon Tyres British GT4 Championship title at Snetterton yesterday (August 23) with a fourth place finish in the second of the Norfolk double-header’s rain-shortened races.
The Beechdean AMR teenagers – Chadwick 17, Gunn 18 – have been the crew to beat for much of the season, their level of consistency at such a young age perhaps the most striking element of a maiden British GT campaign that saw them win twice and score a further three podiums in the six rounds held before this weekend’s two hour-long races.
Beechdean, of course, have form. It was their Aston Martin V8 Challenge that propelled Jake Giddings and Ross Wylie to the GT4 crown last year, and in Ginetta Junior convert Chadwick and one-time single-seater racer Gunn they have unearthed and nurtured another young, championship-winning crew.
Only this time it’s a history-making one, too; the youngest combined age in British GT history no less at 33 years and 330 days.
Chadwick also now stands alone as the series’ youngest ever champion of any class, her 17 years and 95 days eclipsing that of Jonny Cocker who was 18 years and six days old when he won the NGT crown in 2004. Jamie is also the first female driver to win any form of British GT title since its inception in 1993.
Not that she’s especially concerned by the scale of her achievements.
“We didn’t really expect it after Race 1 but I guess conditions played into our hands a little bit,” recounted Chadwick after the second race. “Needless to say I’m absolutely delighted, and to do it a round early is the icing on the cake. Those stats are a bonus, though. I’m here just to race and hopefully win. Ross has done a formidable job and I’m delighted with how it’s turned out, but to be the youngest and first female is just a nice extra.
“I wasn’t really expecting this after stepping up from Ginettas, although we knew coming in with Beechdean and the credentials they have would put us there or thereabouts. But at the end of the day it was up to Ross and I to deliver. It was evident straight away what amazing pace he had and we clicked quite quickly. I think halfway through the season, with those two wins under our belt, we knew it was about being consistent. The Aston Martin’s reliability played into our hands, too. To win it is just unbelievable and awesome!”
Gunn, meanwhile, was quick to pay tribute to the team that helped breathe fresh life into a young career that had run its course in single-seaters.
“It’s quite unbelievable. All the hard work we’ve put in throughout the year has been leading up to this,” he said. “I’m absolutely over the moon. We’ve been in the mix all year, which I have to say comes down to the efforts of Aston Martin Racing and Beechdean AMR who have given us an incredibly reliable and quick race car. I also need to say a big personal thanks to Andrew and Susie Howard who took me on at the start of the year when I had absolutely nothing. From where I was to now is a dream, a real dream.”
Both drivers’ promising campaigns had already been recognised by the British Racing Drivers’ Club prior to the weekend having been named BRDC Rising Stars. Stars that will no doubt shine a little brighter this morning.
Did you know?
Although Chadwick and Gunn have wrapped up the overall GT4 title, it’s still all to play for in the class’ Pro/Am championship at the Donington season finale next month. ISSY Racing’s Gavan Kershaw and Oz Yusuf currently lead the way by 19.5 points from Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson, while Tolman Motorsport’s Luke Davenport and David Pattison are also still in the mix.