JHR Developments motor racing team have dramatically been banned from having further involvement in any Ginetta racing championships for the rest of 2017.
Leeds-based Ginetta were not happy about JHR managing to have overturned a steward’s decision to throw out their driver trio from the Thruxton meeting earlier in the season, with accusations of ‘engine irregularities’.
The Dronfield-based team’s boss Steven Hunter successfully appealed to the MSA National Court - UK motorsport’s governing body – and had the three Ginetta Junior drivers’ points reinstated.
Ginetta feels that the court’s findings were not “sufficiently comprehensive regards to the conduct of the team in question”.
The Ginetta Championship bulletin states: “Safeguarding the good sportsmanship that underpins our Championships is our top priority. Ginetta is suspending JHR Developments’ participation in our championships, pending a further investigation into the conduct of JHR and their employees.
“The investigation will consider whether their actions meet our regulatory standards of fairness and were in accord with the principles of good sportsmanship.
“We believe that allowing JHR to continue participation in our championships for the remainder of the season, during the investigation, would unfairly reflect on to their drivers and reasonably bring into question the veracity of their results.
“Following the conclusion of Ginetta’s investigation, depending on the outcome, JHR Developments will be informed whether they can support drivers in future championships”.
While the JHR Developments team is being investigated, their drivers are not, and free to remain in the categories with other teams.
So in the week before the Rockingham meeting, JHR’s six Ginetta Junior drivers and two Ginetta G55 Supercup drivers had to hurriedly find new teams to run them, including the current Ginetta-subsidised Junior scholarship winner.
The suspension means that not only can JHR no longer run cars in the BTCC support categories of Juniors and G55 Supercup, but also not compete in the Ginetta Junior Winter series or ‘scout’ for potential drivers for 2018 at the October half-term Ginetta Scholarship shoot-out.
Having eight drivers in two Ginetta Championships meant JHR Developments were almost guaranteed podium finishes – if not a race win – at each meeting.
In the final three meetings they were being run by JHR, prior to the bombshell-suspension, at Croft, George Gamble had his Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup 3rd and 4th podium of the year in rounds 10 and 11 with a 2nd and 3rd finish.
The Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior races saw Seb Priaulx take two wins with Tom Gamble re-inforcing his Championship lead with a win.
The Snetterton meeting round 14 had the Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner, Adam Smalley take his first podium, in 2nd-place, ahead of Priaulx in 3rd. Round 15 had Gamble take 3rd, giving Priaulx leading the Championship, and Gamble 11 points adrift in 2nd.
At Knockhill’s races a 4th and 3rd by Gamble cut Priaulx’s Championship lead to just 3 points.
JHR boss, Steven Hunter has been unavailable to comment on the matter.