Motorsport: Kellett’s got lofty aims after season to savour

James Kellett.
James Kellett.
Have your say

In the literal sense, James Kellett lives life in the fast lane.

The Leeds-born motor racing driver finished second in the Ginetta Junior Championship last year, and is gunning for bigger things after the second half of the season saw him finish in the top two seven times in 10 races.

A poor start to his campaign all-but wrote off his chances of claiming the crown, but Kellett says he was still proud of the way of he raced.

“From the halfway point to the end of the championship, I was the number one driver out there,” said the former Roundhay High School student.

“I was winning basically every race, which was really good! The first half of the championship I had a bit of bad luck with getting taken out by other cars and we didn’t get our car spot on, but I was the fastest out there for the second half of the season, which is one good thing to take away from the Championship.”

It all began for Kellett when he was just eight years old, with a trip to Pole Position Indoor Karting sparking the owner to recommend the youngster try outdoor karting.

“The first time I went there I was extremely quick and extremely talented, and that was coming from the owner of PPIK,” explained 16-year-old Kellett.

“He told my dad that he wanted me to start outdoor racing, so I started doing that at a local track and it built up from there.

“I got into my first British Championship at 10 years old and finished quite high in that, and then built up from there.”

And build up from there he did, joining the Ginetta Junior Championship at the age of 15 where he won the Rookie Series Championship and the Winter Series Championship in his debut season.

Despite missing out on first place last time around, Kellett, who studies at Loughborough College on the MSA Academy Ace Programme, designed to fit education around racing, remains upbeat about his future – if he can get funding.

“Motorsport costs a lot of money to be able to do,” he continued. “I don’t come from a wealthy family so I have to get sponsorship to be able to clear the costs of being able to race.

“That was the same for last year, and now I’m going into a senior class (either GT4 or G55 series) it’s going to cost even more so we really have to look for the sponsorship.

“The long-term goal of any racing driver coming into the sport is to do Formula One, and that’s mine too, but now I’m a little bit older I know what the costs are of being able to get there. That is still my ultimate dream, but I have a bit of a backup plan with the GT Car route, which is where the Gentleman Drivers and the Professional Drivers get paid to race and make a career out of motorsport. That is probably the best way to go down because you can make a career out of it and you can make a lot of money out of it.” A career in Formula One would give Kellett the chance to race on live television in front of millions of viewers, which is something he already has experience of. His win at Knockhill in Fife, Scotland in 2014 was his first televised victory and he says it is a moment he will always cherish.

“Winning my first race on live TV was absolutely amazing,” enthused James.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to do that because as soon as you come off, you get interviewed by some of the best-known interviewers in the world and it goes out to millions of people around the world. You get a huge amount of pressure racing on live television because millions of people are watching it around the world, and if you make a mistake or you spin off or crash into somebody, it’s embarrassing. To be honest, it probably makes you a better driver overall.”