Born 22nd February 1994 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Jake Hill was exposed to motorsport even before he was born. His dad Simon was racing in Formula Ford at the time and was instructing and coaching at his local circuit Brands Hatch when he persuaded his pregnant wife Tina to take a high-speed passenger ride with him around the circuit – cue one screaming passenger and much kicking from her passenger!
A couple of months later Jake was born and at just 12 days old Jake was taken to Brands Hatch by his mum as Dad was racing in the opening round of the Champion of Brands series. All in all a pretty unusual start to life.
Growing up around motorsport whilst Dad raced in Formula Renault, Renault Spiders, Lotus Elise and GTs it was perhaps understandable that racing cars were to become Jake’s focus too. Firstly with R/C Cars, Scalextric and Playstation Games, then working for Porsche Carrera Cup team Red Line Racing at the British Touring Car Championship at 11 years-old.
Jake took in four kart races when he was 8 years-old, but had to wait until he was 13 to race again. Despite the 5 year gap he was on the pace, racing in the Mini Max series at local track Bayford Meadows, winning four of his five Novice races, then running at the front in the Summer Series, finishing a superb fifth in the Championship.
Soon after the final meeting of the season, Jake passed his ARDS test at Brands Hatch having learned to drive a car in the car park of a local freight distribution centre in his Dad’s 1.2 Clio only a few days earlier. After a ‘taster’ day in a Ginetta Junior at the Elvington Airfield, Jake proved he was ready to start racing cars, so sponsorship was found for Jake to race in the Winter Series with Tollbar Racing, who also ran his Dad in the Renault Spider Series a decade earlier.
In his first run at Mallory Park, Jake lapped within 0.5 of the lap record, and soon after took in his first ever car race at a greasy Snetterton in November 2008. He qualified an impressive eighth and finished seventh and eighth in the two races, then a week later at Rockingham stunned the establishment by leading only his third ever race and eventually taking an incredible third place.
Finishing the Winter Series as top rookie and fourth overall, Jake then focussed on a full season in the ultra-competitive Ginetta Junior series for drivers aged 14 – 17 years, again with Tollbar Racing. Starting at his home circuit, Brands Hatch, the championship supported Britain’s highest profile motorsport series, the British Touring Car Championship.
In a remarkable season, Jake was on the pace at every circuit – starting 11 times out of 12 races on the front row of the grid, taking five pole positions, five fastest laps and being quickest in three of the six official practice sessions. Perhaps most impressively Jake led every race and won three of them, despite only competing in half the season due to budget issues.
Going into 2010 an all-new Ginetta Junior, the G40, would again be raced by a grid of fiercely competitive 14 to 17 year-olds, and despite getting a deal to race with Tollbar Racing only 5 days before the start of the season Jake took two poles, the lap record and a win to leave the opening weekend at Thruxton as the championship leader.
As the season unfolded it became a record-breaker for Jake: An incredible 10 wins from the 20 races, the only driver to finish on the podium at every circuit (a total of 13 podiums finishes) eight pole positions, nine fastest laps including lap records at five circuits, Jake also led 16 races and was fastest in official practice at six of the 10 circuits visited.
At the end of a superb season Jake Hill became the most successful driver in the history of the Ginetta Junior Championship: Most wins; Most fastest laps; Most pole positions.
For 2011 Jake made the step up into a 300bhp Ginetta G50, racing in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup. The youngest driver in the championship, Jake finished on the podium in 17 of the 27 races – most race weekends featured three races per weekend – and took 4 wins, 4 fastest race laps and started on pole position three times.
The focus for 2012 is to race in GT cars in the UK or Europe