JHR Developments have confirmed reigning Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley will graduate into the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost for 2020.
The 16-year old proved to be the class of the field in the highly-competitive Ginetta Junior Championship last season, claiming top spot with 15 podiums – including five race victories – along with ten pole positions as he amassed the greatest winning margin in the category in over half a decade. That, combined with his Ginetta Junior Winter Series title at the end of 2018, has marked Hedley out as one to watch as he graduates into Britain’s FIA-sanctioned Formula 4 series.
Hedley also set the quickest time at the series’ inaugural Scholarship Assessment Day at Silverstone last November and has consistently hit the same heights in pre-season testing, putting morale high ahead of his debut season in single-seaters.
He will join fellow Ginetta alumnus Abbi Pulling at Steven Hunter’s outfit, with a third driver set to be confirmed in due course.
“We’ve had a lot of wet testing so far!” said Hedley. “It’s been going well considering we had to travel to Spain to get some dry running in. To come back after the winter break and remain on the pace has been encouraging. I haven’t been able to have too many days in the team’s simulator so far, because I live so far from where they’re based, but we try to go there when we can, especially to learn any new circuits. If you can drive a Ginetta Junior, you can drive anything, though it is a whole different ball game coming into Formula 4. The Ginetta slides a lot more but these cars, especially in the wet, feel much easier to drive. It has been helpful to be able to compare the two. Ultimately, we want to be fighting for the Drivers’ Championship this year. I wouldn’t be on the grid if I didn’t think I could challenge at the front. I also want to thank Hendy Group for its continued support of my journey and helping me make the move to F4.”
JHR Team Principal Steven Hunter formally welcomed Hedley to the team’s ranks and believes his positive pre-season form will translate across when the season gets underway. “We’re delighted to welcome James to the team officially, after some impressive testing performances with JHR Developments this winter,” commented Hunter. “He was the stand-out performer during the Scholarship assessment day last year and will be aiming to carry that into the season itself. His drives in the Ginetta Junior Championship last season were eye-catching. He was seriously quick, but also able to manage his races and performances to secure the ultimate goal, which was the championship title. He has a maturity beyond his years and we can’t wait for the first race of the season.”
Switching to British F4 means Hedley will benefit from the series’ unique position as the sole single-seater support category on the UK’s premier motorsport package – the British Touring Car Championship. That means capacity crowds spanning over 380,000 spectators across last season, along with live, free-to-air television coverage via ITV4.