James Gahagan - Clio 182 Driver
1. When did you start racing and where?
Technically I started last year at Croft with the 750mc. But for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go racing. I came close to racing my first full season back in 2015, with a team competing in the BRSCC Fiesta ST Championship, but just a few weeks before the season started, the team dissolved – and so to avoid any further disappointment, I decided to establish my own team. After pulling together a group of like-minded friends, JG Racing was born and we set about building our little Clio for the 750mc. To be honest, not getting the chance to race in that Fiesta turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It’s been such good fun learning together as a team of mates.
2. Would you consider racing in another formula?
Possibly. I would consider any sort of tintop racing to be honest. I’m a big fan of rallycross but I also like the idea of competing in longer track races too and I’ve been speaking to some more established teams about doing a one-off 24hr race later this year. Something else that I have my eye on, is the Clio Cup (obviously) and also the Mini Challenge, but realistically I want more race experience before I consider racing with those sort of eye-watering budgets! I certainly wouldn’t be looking to change formula anytime soon. I struggle to believe you can have as much fun racing anything else on the same budgets as the 750mc Clio Champ - these little cars are such good fun to drive.
3. What’s your most memorable moment in 2017?
Without doubt, it was my first race weekend with the team. The JG Racing Clio was built from scratch, mostly by my race mechanic Steve Gray, but it was a real combined team effort to get it race-ready. Especially when ‘somebody’ *cough cough* blew the engine and gearbox at our first test session which meant we missed the first two rounds. It’s going to sound soppy, but I truly am blessed with some amazing mates who have all helped in some way to get me on the grid and JG Racing wouldn’t the team it is without them. What made it better, is none of us had any experience of building a race car and it took what felt like an age to get it finished. When we got through scrutineering at Croft, it really hit home that we were finally going racing! I even bought it back in once piece and I didn’t finish last!
4. Tell us a random fact about yourself!
Back in 2008 I put together an online touring car championship called Essex Online Racing. This was long before Sim-Racing was as cool as it is today and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the first of its kind. I used to host the races from home, using my PC as a server for grids of 30+ people around the world and then calculate the results table using an actual calculator! At the time, it was probably seen as a geeky thing to do, it’s crazy to think that now 10 years later, sim-racing is competed on a world stage with prizes worth hundreds of thousands of pounds! I do believe that all those years on a simulator have helped in some way towards my development as a driver.
5. What is your favourite race circuit?
I raced so many circuits last year for the first time and with each new circuit came a new favourite. But if I had to pick one right now, it would be Donington. I had only been there before as a spectator for the BTCC, but since racing there at the last round last year I can’t wait to go back. It just seems to suit the way I drive. I am sure my choice will have changed again by the end of the year!
6. Sum up your 2017 season in 5 words?
Really hard to narrow this down to five words… but I will go with Awesome, Educational, Entertaining, Eye-Opening and Addictive… If I’m allowed six, my wife told me to say ‘Expensive’ haha!
7. Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
No. But I do like that I get to race with my lucky number 14.
8. What are your hopes for 2018?
I want to be pushing for regular top ten results this year. I came close with an 11th last year but having learnt as much as we have, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be higher up the grid. I’m more determined this year to do well and having had a season in the car I’m obviously feeling more confident. However, being mid-pack in a tight field is going to bring its own challenges…. so let’s wait a see what happens!
9. How was your first year racing with 750 Motor Club?
It really has been brilliant. Before JG Racing, I had spent time with other teams in the BRSCC, so I knew what to expect over the course of a race weekend, but what I wasn’t counting on, or even thinking about before joining, was the new mates I have made along the way. It’s a great community of really passionate but also genuinely nice people. I can’t say that I met even one person last year who wasn’t willing to help us out or (in most cases) lend us something! The admin staff too have helped enormously this year and trust me, as a new team we had plenty of stupid questions!
10. Who are your racing idols?
I really don’t have an idol but I am a big fan of drivers that can be quick and ‘racey’ across different formulas such as Sebastien Loeb and Juan Pablo Montoya.
For 2018, JG Racing is sponsored by:
All First Aid Training (www.allfirstaidtraining.co.uk)
East Yorkshire Roofing Services (www.eastyorkshireroofingservices.co.uk)
Essex Driver Training (www.essexdriver.co.uk)
JG Media Group
Photo Credits: JG Racing, Anthony Lubrano, MSVT photography and Sam Nudd