James Crawshaw has won the 2017 want2race competition bagging a fully funded season in Ginetta GRDC next season, coming out on top from nearly two hundred entrants.
The 28-year-old recruitment consultant from Buckinghamshire entered the National driver competition this year for the first time, having previously only taken part in some karting when he was a teen and more recently track days in his BMW M3 road car.
A fierce level of competition formed three days of intense on track activities, with drivers competing at Lincolnshire’s Blyton Park circuit to be pushed to the limit in the want2race fleet of racing Ginetta G40’s. Instructors such as Paul O’Neil, Tom Oliphant, David Pittard, Max Coates and Declan Jones were safely strapped into the passenger seat giving their invaluable expert instruction.
The judges selected twenty two drivers for the third and final day of competition and after a tense morning of free practice and double qualifying rounds it was Crawshaw, along with seven other talented finalists who made the competition’s infamous Head2Head shootout. These Grand Final drivers raced cat and mouse under pressure against the clock and themselves aiming to take the top prize worth ten’s of thousands of pounds.
Once the scores were in the judges announced James Crawshaw the winner, after receiving some of the highest scores ever in the competition’s seven-year history. Close runners-up were Tom Kempynck and Stephen Docker who both put in outstanding performances, raising their game at the shootout stage.
James, delighted to have won the main prize package, said: “When I joined the competition I was sceptical about the cars as initially it felt extremely alien to drive compared to the usual road car but after some laps with instructors Declan Jones and Tom Oliphant I felt at one with the car and it was like nothing I'd been given the opportunity to drive before. The cars and instructors in this competition teach you how to drive a race car like a racing driver, there's really nothing else like it out there.
The whole team are extremely professional and everybody in the competition was very friendly. With such talent coming from other drivers who took part in the competition it was tough, but that's what makes it so great, super close driving with the final shootout coming down to tenths of a second apart. I gained new friends along the way and learned vast amounts about the racing world and what to look forward to! A huge thanks to team owner Ben Hyland and his superb team who have given me a once in a lifetime opportunity with a fully funded season in a Ginetta G40 racing car in the 2018 GRDC Championship!”
Competition organiser and want2race co-owner Ben Hyland said; “We are extremely excited to see James win this year’s competition. A fabulous guy on and off the circuit, James stunned the judges with his driving style, speed and technique raising the bar each time he got into the race car. We have some winter testing plans to schedule and then the season starts for real next March with ARDS licence and preparation for round one. I must thank all our drivers this year for making it the biggest, most competitive and enjoyable yet.”
You can follow James’ progress on his Instagram account @jamescrawshaw racing and all the news from the competition and racing will be on the want2race website.
The competition to find a 2018 champion will be launched in January, in the meantime if anyone has any queries or would like to arrange a test or track day please get in touch.