(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
As the 2017 British Touring Car Championship season looms ever closer, teams, drivers and mechanics will all be preparing themselves for a new season with their tried and tested routines however there are some drivers who enter their first season into the series. Four currently confirmed rookies will be competing in the BTCC for the first time in 2017 and are eligible for the Jack Sears Trophy, where the rookie with the most points at the end of the season wins the prestigious accolade.
All four drivers have racing pedigree behind them and have reached the BTCC in a variety of ways. This time it is the turn of 26 year-old Will Burns.
Burns’ motorsport career by his own admissions started relatively late as he only made his debut in 2011 racing at his local circuit Castle Combe. After enjoying success in competitive saloon car categories he raised enough funds to buy and compete in a Ginetta G40 in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
He competed in this series for three years before graduating into the Ginetta GT4 Supercup in 2014 with Academy Motorsport, part of the TOCA support package of the BTCC. Despite this being Burns’ rookie season in the series he scored consistently and at Croft he achieved his first podium of the year. He went onto achieve a further three podiums on his way to seventh in the standings.
With a year’s worth of experience, Burns’ moved to front running team HHC Motorsport for 2015 and was teammates with the experienced Jamie Orton and former champion Car Breeze. Burns’ pace was evident in a season which included eleven podiums however a string of retirements meant he only finished fifth in the championship.
Following HHC Motorsport’s withdrawal from the series, Burns moved to Douglas Motorsport for 2016 in their sole car. Burns’ consistency returns as he finished the entire season without a single DNF which included three wins and a further fourteen podiums. This form ensured he took the championship down to the wire however he finished fourteen points behind eventual champion Tom Wrigley however his strong performances were enough to catch the eye of Team HARD Team Principal Tony Gilham.
In November 2016, Burns became the first rookie to be confirmed for the 2017 season, in one of Team HARD’s new VW CC cars. Speaking at the time of the announcement Gilham was quoted in saying, “We have been talking to Will and his family for a few months now and have already formed a great relationship”
Burns himself said at the time, “I am absolutely delighted to be stepping up to the British Touring Car Championship, I’ve watched the BTCC since I was a child, and when I started racing back in 2011 I could have never imagined I’d be on the grid”
It ensures Burns goes up against Senna Proctor, Luke Davenport and Ant Whorton-Eales for the Jack Sears Trophy.