Fifteen year old Daniel Harper from Anahilt took a rookie class victory on his first ever weekend car racing in the Ginetta Junior Race series at Brands Hatch.
Described by commentators as “their new hero”, Harper said he was ‘really pleased to have scored good points’.
After sensationally winning the Ginetta Scholarship, earning him a year’s racing thanks to Ginetta cars, Daniel has been trying to learn the circuits, and the car prepared by Northern Ireland team-Douglas Motorsport.
“The weekend was unbelievable,” said the Dromore High School student. “It’s totally different than karts, the defending is different, the car feels so different to the Junior rally car or the kart.
“The car is really enjoyable to drive though with its sequential gearbox, and it’s amazing when you have twenty odd other Ginetta’s buzzing around you!”
The first race on Saturday would bring an excellent seventh place and and third rookie after much dicing in the frenetic pack.
Race two on the Sunday was live on ITV4. “The atmosphere was really good. There were so many people there. Once you are in the race though you don’t notice anyone, and it’s not until the finish when you see some of them waving that you see them again.”
If the first race was good for Daniel, the second was at times sensational. Starting seventh on the grid he had worked his way up to third place, but once again he was hit and pushed out wide in the closing stages, dropping to seventh before claiming sixth and first in the rookie cup on the final laps.
“I’m really pleased to have scored good points at the weekend,” said Daniel. “It’s a bit of pressure off with the first races completed. The next round of the series is at Donington Park, and I can’t wait.”
With support from his school, father Stan an accomplished rally team manager, and his family and friends, Daniel looks set to make tracks on these new tracks in the Ginetta.