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He is moving forward fast, is Luke Whitworth, and just a handful of weeks after testing his mettle in a racing car for the first time in a Formula BMW single-seater, the highly-rated young Rotherham karting star has been described as having ‘a huge amount of potential’ following a run in a Ginetta G40.
Having revelled in his Formula BMW baptism at Brands Hatch, Luke jumped at the chance to try out the Ginetta G40 at Bedford Autodrome – his prize for finishing a commendable 18th out of 67 in the Junior Rotax class of the national Super 1 Series in 2011, his maiden campaign in the fiercely-contested British championship.
“It was a brilliant day!” Luke enthused. “It was another new experience for me, and it has definitely opened my eyes with regard to options for the future. I didn’t expect the Ginetta to be that much different to the Formula BMW, but it was actually massively different. The Formula BMW test did help a bit in that it meant I had already been in a racing car, but the Ginetta is heavier, not as stiff and going round corners, it moves around more.
“It’s quick, too, and the extra weight affects the way you brake going into corners and get on the throttle coming out of them again. The back end of the car feels quite loose on the entry, so you need to try to find the right balance to ensure that you have enough rear grip on the exit.
“The brakes are also a lot sharper than I had expected and it was certainly a big step-up from a kart, with the clutch and gears to get used to and the weight shift to have to think about as well – there’s generally a lot more to be aware of – but I felt I adapted to it all pretty quickly.
“It was damp in the morning and really slippery; the back end stepped out a few times, but that just made it even more fun! The afternoon session was then dry and there was a lot more grip, so we got the best of both conditions.
“I learned from my instructor, and he gave me feedback after each of my runs that I tried to put into practice the next time. He gave me a lot of advice so that I could learn from my mistakes, and that helped me to get used to everything and understand what I was doing a lot better. Later on, I was really pushing to go as fast as I could – I was practically jumping out of the seat, I was so excited!”
Making a point of thanking both Ginetta and Super 1 for the tremendous opportunity, Luke improved every time he took to the track and greatly impressed with the pace at which he progressed and the raw lap times he began to produce by the end of the day. His instructor Ian Parsons – a former karting front-runner at both British and international level and an erstwhile single-seater protagonist – tipped the Wickersley School and Sports College student for a bright future in the sport indeed.
“In the morning, Luke was nervous like all the others, but he obviously has a lot of natural ability and he genuinely listened and took notice of what we were saying and acted upon it,” Parsons remarked. “By the end of the second session, he had found some pretty serious pace.
“If he spent another day or day-and-a-half in the car with an instructor, I’m convinced we could get him right up-to-speed and have him competing at the sharp end pretty quickly. Luke was definitely one of the most talented drivers there on the day, and he clearly has a huge amount of potential.”