Robert de Haan and Maurice Henry have been crowned joint-winners of the 2021 Ginetta Junior Scholarship, the first time in the event’s history that two drivers have emerged with the prize of a fully-funded season in the championship.
An intense three-day competition (18-20 December) saw 65 young drivers battle it out at Ginetta’s own test track, Blyton Park in Lincolnshire. Competing for one of the biggest prizes in UK motorsport, the entrants completed a number of driving, fitness and media assessments.
Overseeing proceedings were Ginetta factory drivers Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson, while helping assess the drivers’ in-car talents were Ginetta alumni Max Coates, Jake Hill, Ben Green and Sennan Fielding, plus James Littlejohn and James Gornall.
Off-track, the entrants were put through their paces with a number of physical challenges to test their fitness and determination, while Richard John Neil, the lead Ginetta commentator for ITV, evaluated their media and communication skills.
A talented group of 27 drivers made it through to the final day of competition, where they tackled more evaluations before the field was narrowed down to a top 8 and then a top 4, who tackled a final shootout behind the wheel of a Ginetta G40.
As the judges deliberated as to whom would emerge victorious, it became clear that it was an incredibly close call between de Haan and Henry. That led Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson to make the unprecedented decision to award two scholarships.
Both drivers will be making their car-racing debuts next season; Henry (15, Birmingham) joins the grid with previous experience in karting and junior rallying, while the first ever overseas winner of the Scholarship, de Haan (14, Holland), enters as a former Rotax Max Junior World Champion.
Their full prize packages include all entry fees, use of a G40 Junior race car for the whole season including consumables, insurance and a season supply of race tyres and fuel, and professional car preparation from an experienced team for the duration of the season.
Robert de Haan: “This is a really great opportunity for me to be in the Ginetta Junior Championship next year. I’m delighted to have won and it will help me a lot in my career. I can enjoy Christmas with the family now and then look forward to the new season.”
Maurice Henry: “I’m lost for words. I can’t quite process what has happened. I’m so thankful to everyone at Ginetta for giving me this opportunity to race in 2021. I am so proud to have been chosen and it’s full focus now on planning for next season.”
Ashley Gallagher, Ginetta Motorsports Manager: “We seem to say this every year, but once again this feels like it’s been the most competitive and close fought Ginetta Junior Scholarship we’ve ever had. The level of talent and professionalism in the entrants this year was extremely high.
“Both Maurice and Robert were exceptional throughout the contest. They shined in both the on and off track assessments and when it came down to the final decision making progress, there was truly nothing between them, which led to Lawrence choosing to support both drivers.
“This is an unprecedented moment in Ginetta history and we’re delighted to be able to give this opportunity to Maurice and Robert. We’re excited to welcome them to the grid next year, and hope they’ll be joined by a number of the other talented drivers that contested the Scholarship.”
Final 4: Harri Reynolds, Maxwell Dodds
Final 8: Aqil Alibhai, Robbie Stapleford, Fergus Chalmers, Alisa Palmowski
Final 27: Silas Rutter, Edward Pearson, Theo Micouris, Jack James, Ian Aguilera, Josh Rowledge, Harvey Riby, Jack Sherwood, Harley Haughton, Connor Clifford, Thomas Jack Lee, Dan Morris, Ethan Lomax, Finn Hunter-Johnson, Maximus Hall, Macie Hitter, Luke Watts, James McGing, Marton Csollak