Racing in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli UK Championship for the first time, Jason Ambrose (Dick Lovett Swindon) joined the Coppa Shell series at his favourite circuit, Oulton Park, immediately making an impression with some of the established racers of the series.
“Oulton Park is a beautiful circuit, one for the real racers. It’s tight, with no run-off and some hilly sections. It’s a romantic but dangerous track, one for the brave.” Confident both on and off the track, Ambrose placed his car third on the grid for Race 1, an impressive debut. “That first race was one of my most enjoyable this year; I started in third and managed to gain a place to finish on the second step of the podium. I love Oulton Park and that was just a perfect start to the season.” Ambrose would take another podium finish, coming third in Race 2.
Eyes were on Ambrose for Round 2 at Snetterton and the newcomer didn’t disappoint. Day 1 saw Ambrose take his first pole position and first race win, an impressive achievement. Ambrose missed out on a second pole position by a fraction of a second, but in Race 2, that pace returned for Ambrose to take a second race win of the weekend and four podiums out of four races.
Round 3 took the drivers to Donington and Ambrose was on fine form throughout the weekend, taking two pole positions and two race wins to surge ahead in the championship, an advantage he would come to rely on for the rest of the season.
“I’d just had an operation the day before Round 4 at Brands Hatch, so I was all over the place. I qualified in third place on both days, but I lost places in Race 1 to finish in fifth. Race 2 was better but I was still off the pace, only managing a second place finish.”
Going into the final round at Silverstone, Ambrose was full of praise and hope. “I love this series. Its my first season and what a season it has been. Seven podiums in eight races and leading the championship. I couldn’t of hoped for a better start to my racing career.”
“Everyone involved is amazing. I’ve made life long friends this year – the team has been amazing, the car is amazing, everyone involved is amazing, it has completely exceeded my expectations.”
At Silverstone, Ambrose qualified for Race 1 in second place but a multicar incident left him in last place. He recovered to finish fourth, heading into Race 2 as favourite to win the championship. With a second place finish, he accumulated enough points to take the title as Coppa Shell UK Champion in his very first season of racing any type of car, a dream debut year for the rookie racer.
“Winning is a bit of a bitter sweet victory. It means I could be in the Trofeo Pirelli class next year which is far more challenging for me. It also means I’ve taken victory from Paul Rogers (JCT600 Brooklands) who has been racing in the series for three years. But what a first season, winning it is incredible. I want to go into GT3 next, but I’ll still be here next year – I’ll miss my friends too much if I don’t!”.