My name is Jacob Heap and I am 15 years old. I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my parents and 12 year old sister. My passion is racing and one day I want to race against the best in the world – and beat them.
Since I started we have been funding the racing ourselves but, as I climb the ladder my parents are now struggling with the rising costs. This is why I am hoping to get some sponsorship so that I can keep competing and enter the JSCC championship this year. Racing cars has always been my dream and one day I would like to become a professional driver. I also attended the Junior Ginetta Scholarship in October 2019 but because I don’t have the financial backing I didn’t win.
Here are a few details about my racing career so far. I had tried many other sports but couldn’t find one that I really liked. I immediately fell in love with driving. We took the kart to our local track and it was a hard start with lots of crashes and bruises. Then I joined a team and raced at Wombwell, Barnsley. To be honest I didn’t learn a great deal and was running around the back, but it was a great experience. I then moved to another team and raced at Fullbeck, Newark. I did well there and was soon competing at the front. I was really proud to finish third in the MSA series of 2016 and it told me that I wanted more.
I moved into a brand new class called X30 Mini and stayed with the same team. In 2017 I entered the LGM series run by John Mills so I could race against some of the best divers in the country. It was hard, and I learnt a lot, but I was again running at the back. A gentleman called Lee Kellet took me under his wing and he started to coach me one to one.
Lee took me back to the basics of driving technique. He taught me so much about braking and corner speed, and how a kart works. We spent a lot of time at tracks working on my corner entry speed and getting the energy into the chassis and holding the brake into the corners. I then joined one of the largest and best teams in the country called Coles Racing.
In 2018 I entered the LGM series again, and the first round was at PFI in Lincolnshire. Before race day I hadn’t been in my kart for 5 weeks due to the financial cost of racing. My kart was 2 years old and needed to be jigged and welded, so I was on the back foot. On the Saturday I managed to qualify 9th out of 34 drivers but slipped to 12th as I had a drop down bumper. On race day my engine had a fault in the first heat, and I only managed to gain 2 places. In heat 2 my engine cut out on the warm up lap and I had a DNF. So, I dropped to 24th position for the 8 minute final. Nevertheless, I was so fired up I came through the field strongly taking 6th place winning my first major trophy. Since then, unfortunately, we have struggled financially and not been able to change an old and damaged chassis.
As Lewis Hamilton said on the Graham Norton show, the talented drivers don’t have the funding to get out there and show their talent, so only the rich people can actually afford to race.
I competed in the Ginetta scholarship, but unfortunately didn’t get through as my family didn’t have the money for me to practice and do the media day. Following that, I then decided I wanted to race cars – not karts.
I received excellent feedback from Ginetta. They said that I came across well in the media assessment and that I excelled in the fitness test. In the car, my lines were perfect and very smooth, but I could have been braking harder and gaining more time. I would like to progress with Ginetta but the cost is prohibitive as I don’t come from a very wealthy background that could support the cost of racing them. Having investigated other options I am looking to join the JSCC (Junior Saloon Car Championship).
I did the JSCC scholarship last February to try and win a fully funded season in the championship. I have never driven a car before, let alone a geared Saxo, but I managed to finish in the top 3 against previous championship contenders who were looking for a free drive. I missed out winning by 1 or 2 points. I was extremely disappointed with the result as I had put a lot of preparation in before the event to give myself the best chance. However, all my disappointment was lifted the following day when Dave Beecroft, who runs the championship called to say he was impressed with my driving and presentation.
In the last 2 sessions, he had seen I scored maximum points 80/80, so because of my ability, he wants me in the championship. When moving out of karting we purchased a Saxo to enter the 2020 season but when we had the opportunity to enter the scholarship, our time was focused on winning this event so our car was put on the back foot. Therefore, it was not ready for the 2020 season as we couldn’t afford it. My dad takes on extra jobs on a night and weekend to pay for my racing, but it’s now getting too expensive. I have proven that with an old kart and one average engine I can compete against some excellent drivers, many of whom are out racing every weekend and for whom money isn’t a barrier.
I can only imagine what could be achieved if I were properly equipped. I honestly do believe that I have the skill required to get to the top. This is not a hobby for me but my passion and my goal. I am determined to show the world that talent will finally shine through and you don’t have to be super rich. I’m willing to do whatever it takes and what is asked of me. I take this very seriously and go to the gym, watch my diet and constantly study videos of other drivers, learning lines and braking points. I work hard at school and got the highest maths score, and second highest Sats result in my school. Any help with some sponsorship would be really appreciated.