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Hill aiming for great season
Hill aiming for great season

Kent’s Jake Hill is without a doubt one of the fastest drivers in the British Touring Cars Championship, his 12 race wins and 43 podiums speak for themself. However, it hasn’t been an easy route to the top for the 29-year-old. 

Hill made his debut in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2009, picking up three podiums, including one race win in the first five rounds of the season. He then unfortunately had to miss the next eight races due to problems with funding. 

“It’s the worst feeling in the world, you don’t quite realize, especially when so many of the drivers were rubbish, there was only a select few that had the chance to go all the way and you know you’ve got people that are just tugging around doing it when you know that you should be fighting for wins.” 

Despite showing his evident talent in the early 2009 season, Hill did not have the luxury of having parents that could pay tens of thousands of pounds to supply him with the drive. 

However, Hill is very grateful to have his Dad (Simon Hill), who has always been there working at the maximum for his son’s career, His Dad constantly worked to provide him with sponsors and doing everything he can to help progress his racing career. 

Hill fondly reminisced of one time his Dad placed a massive gamble, but ultimate faith in his son, going on to say “what was really nice is that when we came back and raced for the last round in 2009 at Brands, my favourite circuit. My Dad did a deal with someone, where they’d pay for the weekend but if I didn’t get two wins, he’d have to pay them back, I have no clue how that was going to happen, but happily for Dad I came back with two poles, two wins and two fastest laps, it was a really nice way to finish it off and sign out on a high ready for next year.” 

As motorsport has become more mainstream, the issue with funding has got worse, with current Ginetta Junior drivers having to find £150,000 to compete in a championship season. Hill firmly believes that funding is the biggest problem in motorsport. 

“It’s nearly stopped me multiple times, and to be honest it’s the biggest issue in motorsport and I don’t see a way around it, that’s the problem because ultimately to run a racing car is expensive. It’s a shame because from my experience, I know a lot of really quick drivers that don’t have any money and a lot of the wealthy ones that just aren’t fast enough but have the funds to always be on the grid, often in the best cars. Racing’s always been that way.”

This shows why the price to get into motorsport is a major issue, as some of the faster drivers do not have the financial backing to progress and get a career out of motorsport, whereas, some slower drivers are able to make it to the top as they are the only one’s that can afford it. 

Hill recently welcomed his first child into the world, but highly doubts that his son, Jude Hill, will ever have a career in racing. “I can’t see it personally because it’s the funding that stops it, and I know how much of a struggle it has been for me and my dad to find it and we’re lucky we made it out the other end and can go racing every year in an amazing car in an amazing championship.” 

“I don’t know the answer on how to fund the kids that can’t afford it, I know what it’s like and I really am one of those and I’m really lucky to have a Dad that would never give up.” 

Hill now finds himself going into 2024 as a genuine contender to win the British Touring Cars Championship Title after renewing his contract with Laser Tools Racing, it will be his third season driving the BMW. There has been constant development from Hill during his time in the championship and after finishing third in the championship for the last two seasons, he has his eyes on that championship title. 

“I definitely get on with the BMW extremely well, it’s a car I clicked with immediately from the first few laps I did in it at a cold wet horrible Brands Indy back in December in 2021, it’s been a really good car that I’ve enjoyed a lot, and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress again and hopefully try and keep up with the NAPA rocket ships for the next year. I’d like to think we’re in a good position for 2024 to keep our championship hopes alive and let’s just see, as long as we’re there at the end I’ll be happy.” 

Despite now being at the top of one of the most prestigious racing championships in the UK, it has not been an easy journey for Hill and his family. Funding is a major problem in motorsport and Hill’s career is an example of that. 

Featured image: Jakob Ebrey Photography