Money keeps Kellett on sidelines

18-year-old Leeds-born motor racing driver and national champion James Kellett.
18-year-old Leeds-born motor racing driver and national champion James Kellett.
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Leeds teen racer James Kellett has secured one of his sport’s most coveted awards – yet faces the entire year on the sidelines due to the financial restrictions of motorsport.

Kellett, 18, took the British GT5 Championship last year and was awarded the BRDC Rising Star status at Silverstone this week.

Yet even one of the country’s most talented teen racers is facing an entire season without a drive with Kellett instead spending Wednesday at Thruxton this week instructing other drivers to earn a few quid.

Kellett’s dad Lee admitted: “Unfortunately he won’t be racing, unless of course a drive is put before him and its free! We are just not in any financial position to pay for him anymore, the teams now are wanting payers not winners.

“Even though he’s won pretty much everything he’s raced since the age of eight, it all counts for nothing in this gam these days unless you can back it up with a huge cheque book. With that in mind, James took his instructors badge at the end of the season after winning GT5 and has put it to some use in terms of instructing racing drivers.

“He’d ideally like to be racing this year but needs must and this is a way he can keep his hand in and hopefully sit next to and meet a wealthy businessman who’s looking to race GTs and needs a fast co-pilot that can put the car to the front. That’s how it works in GT racing as they are endurance races generally, shared by two drivers. However it does cost about 250k per season per seat.

“At least one of the governing bodies recognises his talent and the BRDC is a very prestigious club and a great accolade to have on your CV.”