SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD SET FOR FORMULA FORD BAPTISM


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James Webb will make his Formula Ford race debut at Brands Hatch at the end of this month. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com

James Webb will be the youngest ever racer of an EcoBoost Formula Ford car when he lines up on the grid for this season’s Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. The Warwickshire-based driver, who announced his signing with the SWB Motorsport team on Monday, turns 16 tomorrow, a week ahead of the opening rounds at Brands Hatch.

Webb was SWB’s second driver signing within a matter of days – last Friday the team announced Australian Greg Holloway as the pilot of the first of its pair of EcoBoost Sinter chassis.

James had planned to continue in the Ginetta Junior series this season, but his chief sponsor wanted him to pursue a single-seater career. Explains his father, Richard Webb: “We were going to go back to into Ginettas but we have a backer who wanted him to go into single-seaters; it will be a steep learning curve for him and the aim is for James to gain experience and, hopefully, to emerge as the quickest driver in the Scholarship class.”

James started racing aged nine in cadet karts and moved on to Rotax Juniors; his karting successes include winning the Whilton Mill Kart Club Championship in 2010 and the National Midland Championship the following season. He made his circuit-racing debut at Silverstone in 2012, just 10 days after his 14th birthday, in the SaxMax series. He went on to finish sixth in that championship before stepping up to the Ginetta Junior series for 2013.

Webb will get his first taste of EcoBoost power this week, and has several tests planned ahead of the Brands Hatch meeting. James is backed by Ultimo GT and Carcliq.

SWB Motorsport was formed by Simon Baldry in 2010, and the team has enjoyed considerable success in karting, Intersteps and Formula Renault. It fielded a Sinter chassis in Formula Ford last season with a number of different drivers in the hot seat, including Fred Martin-Dye, Zaid Ashkanani and Jack Dex.

Said Baldry: “Everyone within SWB is so happy that we will finally be on the grid as a proper two-car team. James will be a great asset to the squad and has shown a lot of promise – we are so looking forward to working with him, and with Greg.”

There are nine days before the opening shots are fired in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, with official pre-event testing scheduled for Friday 28 March at Brands Hatch. Qualifying and rounds one and two follow the next day and there will be live ITV4 coverage of round three at lunchtime on the Sunday, sandwiched between the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship action.