4 February, 2015
Off the back of a truly outstanding rookie season in the ITV4-televised Ginetta Junior Championship in 2014, Dan Zelos will return to the fiercely-contested BTCC support category in 2015 with defending champions JHR Developments – and the gifted young Norfolk ace has ‘more victories and podiums’ firmly in his sights.
Zelos made phenomenal progress over the course of his maiden car racing campaign last year, tallying a brace of victories at Thruxton and Rockingham, seven further rostrums and 15 top ten finishes from 20 starts behind the wheel of his distinctive, Evergreen Tyres-sponsored Ginetta G40.
Remarkably, the highly-rated Dereham-based hotshot saw the chequered flag in every single race – one of just three drivers to do so – en route to a superb fourth position out of 24 contenders in the final standings, outperforming a whole host of second-year protagonists along the way.
Now a series sophomore himself, Zelos has reaffirmed his commitment to JHR – an established outfit that clinched both the drivers’ and teams’ crowns in 2014 and whose calibre and results need no introduction – as he targets sustained success and even more silverware second time around.
“I’m a much stronger driver now than I was this time last year, and the experience that comes with being a second-year competitor really can’t be underestimated – I know the team, I know the circuits and most importantly of all, I know what to expect,” asserted the 16-year-old Dereham Sixth Form College AS-Level student. “I feel really comfortable and settled at JHR, and that means we can focus straightaway on the job in-hand – which is going as fast as possible and picking up as many points as possible.
“JHR have put a lot of time and effort into helping me to develop as a driver, which has really paid off and there’s a huge level of knowledge and expertise inside the team – you only have to look at what they have achieved over the years to see that. More than that, they’re a great bunch of guys and I’ve forged a really close relationship with everybody there – we’re good friends both at the circuit as well as away from it. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“We had a fantastic year together in 2014, which far exceeded my expectations. I learned a tremendous amount, and combined with the results we attained, that gives me a lot of confidence going into my second season in Ginetta Juniors and stands me in good stead to really push on in 2015.
“The goal is clearly more victories and a lot of podium finishes – because consistency will play an important role. Ultimately, JHR always race to win – and so do I – but as the saying goes, to finish first, first you have to finish. We’ll just stick to our game plan throughout – and then see where that leaves us come the end of the season...”
Indeed, JHR has invariably been a leading light in Ginetta Juniors – a championship that allows precociously talented 14-to-17-year-olds to earn their racing spurs before they can even legally drive on the road.
The burgeoning popularity and high profile of the UK’s premier series for aspiring young racers has seen it attract a maximum capacity, 26-strong grid for 2015, setting the scene for one of the most competitive campaigns in its history. JHR team principal Steven Hunter is convinced that East Anglian teenager Zelos will be a force to be reckoned with right from the word ‘go’.
“We’re delighted to have Dan on-board again, especially after he enjoyed such a successful rookie season in Ginetta Juniors,” he underlined. “Given the pace he displayed in 2014, I’m sure he will be a consistent front-runner and title challenger this time around, particularly with a year’s experience under his belt.
“Dan showed immense ability in 2014, outclassing the rest of the field on two occasions and proving to be the fastest and highest-scoring JHR representative over the second half of the season. In so doing, he played a key role in helping us to secure the teams’ championship – which it is obviously our steadfast intention to retain – and we hope to be able to repay that vital contribution by supporting Dan to the drivers’ title this year.”
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