A YOUNG North Yorkshire racing driver was delighted with his creditable performance despite the odds being stacked against him on his return to the prestigious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

Ethan Hammerton, 20, took a late call from Dan Kirby, the boss of the GKR Trade Price Cars Racing team, asking him to race in last weekend’s Snetterton rounds of the BTCC after damage to his car ruled him out of the JCW Mini Championship.

“I’d experienced total brake failure racing at 125mph at Silverstone and although I was just shaken, the car was badly damaged and wasn’t ready for last weekend,” Ethan, from Northallerton, explained.

“However, just days before last weekend’s meet Dan rang me and asked if I would like to drive for the GKR Trade Price Cars Racing team as Bobby Thompson had been injured. Of course, I jumped at the chance to return to the BTCC, but I was under no illusion about how tricky that would be, with zero testing,” he added.

Not only had Ethan not driven the GKR Trade Price Audi S3 before last weekend, but a revised BTCC practice format reduced free practice from two sessions to one, and a new qualifying format also limited his time acclimatising to the car.

“It wasn’t ideal, but I qualified in 25th place for the first race and set personal best sectors lap after lap as I was getting used to the car,” Ethan said.

Ethan became the third youngest driver in the 60-year history of the BTCC when he competed at Silverstone and Brands Hatch in 2018 at just 17 years old. At the time he was racing for Team Hard Trade Price Cars.

Racing conditions were extremely difficult for Ethan for the first race last weekend – starting on a damp track with slick tyres in a car he’d only driven for 12 flying laps. He persevered, however, and finished an admirable 24th.

Ethan improved his performance for the second race – racing on a dry track he improved on his qualifying times lap after lap and completed some great overtakes to finish in 19th place.

In a tough third race, Ethan was pushed off track sideways at turn two on lap one, but managed to recover to fight his way back up the field and finished in 22nd place.

“I was delighted with three solid finishes and I was improving throughout the day as I familiarised myself with the car. It was a hugely enjoyable return to British Touring cars and my eyes are now firmly set on a full-time seat in the Championship for next year,” said Ethan.

“Huge thanks to Dan Kirby and all of the GKR Trade Price Cars Racing Team for all of the support over the weekend and for providing a great car.

“I would like to thank my loyal sponsors for their continued support throughout my racing career as without these none of this would be possible, special thanks to Hadrian Health Care, Lynx Precast, Twin Services, Geoffrey Robinson, AEL Electrical, AEL Systems, DSR Paving, Premier Roofing, Sigma Catering, Northern Floorcraft, S&B Insulation’s, ATF Supplies, B C Stewart, Bernard Interiors, Mathewson Underfloor Heating, Eco Surv, ISL Scaffolding,” he added.

Team BMW’s Colin Turkington took the chequered flag in Races 1 and 2 at Snetterton, with Ollie Jackson (Motorbase Performance) claiming victory in the last race. This year’s Kwik Fit BTCC will conclude with three races around the famous Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on November 14 and 15.

Before competing in the BTCC in 2018, Ethan had finished Vice Champion in both the UK Renault Clio Junior Championship and the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2017.

He went on to compete in the BTCC support series during 2019, racing in the UK Renault Clio Cup where he secured a win at Thruxton and multiple podium finishes, before moving to the JCW Mini Championship earlier this year.

Only Formula 1 and America’s NASCAR stock car series have longer histories than the BTCC – since its inception in 1958 it has attracted and captivated millions of motor racing fans around the world.

ITV has agreed a long-term contract extension up until the end of 2022, providing a perfect platform of millions of viewers for sponsors to raise their profiles and reputations.

If you would like to sponsor Ethan please contact him on Facebook, via his racing page @Ethan Hammerton Racing or email him at hammerton23@outlook.com for sponsorship opportunities.