Kimpton racer James Grint sets sights on winning 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship
PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 March 2016
James Grint is gearing up for a second season in the the hot-seat at Dumfries-based rallycross team Albatec Racing and he believes he is a title contender this time around.
The Kimpton racer heads to Croft, North Yorkshire, for the first race of the 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship this Sunday [March 6] looking for a first final of his short rallycross career.
Grint, brother of Harry Potter star Rupert, achieved three supercar semi-finals in his debut British and Euro RX seasons but was in the shadow of team-mate Jérôme Grosset-Janin on the European scene as the Frenchman finished vice-champion of the series. However, he hopes to be more of a threat this year.
Grint told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I’m really excited to be staying with Albatec.
“The car was very reliable last year. Everything was how it needed to be and I learnt a lot from my experience. It was a steep learning curve from what I’d been doing a couple of years before.
“I learnt a lot from five-time drivers’ champion Julian Godfrey as well as Jérôme.
“My initial plan in my first season was to do both the British and European championships. That didn’t come together because of our scheduling but I still got a lot of racing in.
“The British championship means a lot to both me and my sponsors so it was a deciding factor but I’ll be working hard to top up the calendar with some Euro RX races.
“Although I’m still a relative newcomer to rallycross compared to the rest of the supercar drivers in Britain, I think with the Albatec car being as fast as it is I should be a championship contender for sure.”
The 25-year-old began racing RX150 buggies before test-driving rallycross supercars with former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
It was big step up for Grint but a challenge he enjoyed immensely.
He continued: “It was so different to what I’d been doing before. The cars are worlds apart.
“This is proper rally driving. The cars are much faster and there’s no-one to navigate you. They can get from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds which is amazing. It’s like a toy.
“I managed to tame the car a bit when I got a sixth place, out of 41 racers, at one of the European events last year so that was a good boost to my confidence and something to build on.”
Grint is yet to hand-pick the European races he wants to compete in 2016 but is certain he will test himself abroad again this year.
He said: “I would need to find more sponsorship if I was to compete at both series. Money is a big thing in this kind of racing as much as it is in other motorsport series.
“There is no overlap between series so if I had the financial backing I could have done both but it won’t happen this season. I am hoping to at least do two races though.”
He added: “For now, I’m just looking to the first race at Croft.
“It’s a really quick course so it’s a good race to test just how much you’ve learnt over the off-season and where you are with the car.
“It would be great to make a final in the first race of the season.”