North East racer Scott McKenna clinched his first major National championship by securing the British GT-supporting Ginetta GT5 Challenge title at Donington Park, as he looks towards a step up into GT racing in 2020.
The Yorkshireman went into the final three races of the ultra-competitive one-make series leading the championship after six wins and 10 podium finishes, knowing that a solid and consistent weekend would be enough to seal the deal for himself and fellow North East team, Xentek Motorsport.
Saturday’s qualifying session set the tone as McKenna briefly held the top spot in the closing minutes around the popular Leicestershire circuit, only to be bumped down to second place on the grid by Gordie Mutch by 0.147s in a tight session.
The opening race of the weekend was Scott’s first chance to clinch the championship, and he duly completed his goal in a race that was stymied by a lengthy safety car interruption.
Surpassing the G40 of pole man Mutch heading into the chicane for the first time, McKenna settled into second place behind a charging Geri Nicosia, the latter moving by the Xentek Motorsport racer at Redgate on lap two. Behind, a four-car incident took time to clear, meaning the race ended behind the safety car after just one lap of racing.
Second place was enough to put the title out of reach for his competitors, leaving Scott free to celebrate with his friends, family and sponsors on an emotional podium as Ginetta GT5 Challenge champion, including father Andrew, mother Alison and brother Ben.
Not willing to risk an incident and any potential points penalty that could come the following day, McKenna opted out of competing in the second and third races of the weekend, but his objective had been achieved.
Scott McKenna (#27 Xentek Motorsport):
“Honestly, words can’t describe it. Every time I go to talk about it I start crying! Three years have made up to this and without my family there and my sponsors, we would not be here. To be here now having just won the championship, I’m lost for words, and a lot of the hard work was done earlier in the season.
“I can’t explain how much it means to me, my Mum, my Dad, my brother and all those that have helped me. It’s mad. I let the others do what they want, just to get it done and get to the end. It’s been an amazing season. Just a huge, huge thank you to all of the people and sponsors that have supported me.
“All of the people at Xentek Motorsport have been brilliant and loyal to me, and we’ve put everything into this to achieve our dreams – I can’t thank them enough. I also had a test in a McLaren British GT car recently, and that was something else. It’s something we’re looking towards, and what I want to be doing a lot more of next season!”