JHR Developments racer James Hedley underlined his satisfaction at how winter testing has progressed ahead of his debut in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
The 16-year old graduates into single-seaters as the reigning Ginetta Junior champion, securing the hotly-contested title in 2019 with seven wins and a further eleven podium finishes.
He will be looking to emulate the likes of McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, British GT Championship racer Jamie Caroline and current British Formula 3 star Kiern Jewiss in graduating from Ginettas into immediate success in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.
Speaking at the series’ official Season Launch at Donington Park, Hedley expressed his happiness at his initial testing with JHR and believes there is potential for the partnership with Steven Hunter’s outfit to challenge for the ultimate prize.
“I’m starting to get used to [the car]; the more and more I drive it, the more I get used to it,” explained Hedley.
“The car seems to be really good, to be honest, the setup is strong, especially at circuits like Thruxton. I haven’t been to all the tracks, but so far, so good.
“JHR are a good team, they’ve finished second twice in the championship, so they’ve got potential. Hopefully it’s third time lucky for them.”
Adapting from the Ginetta to a British F4 car is no mean feat, but Hedley has taken to the task with aplomb, particularly in the wet conditions.
“It’s been harder to learn in the dry than the wet, one reason being the lack of dry testing,” he explained.
“The transition from a Ginetta Junior to an F4 is easier in the wet conditions than the dry conditions. You actually have grip, and you have a choice between two tyres, which is really nice.”
Though the prize eventually went to Argenti Motorsport racer Casper Stevenson, Hedley did set the quickest time during the championship’s inaugural Scholarship Assessment Day at Silverstone last autumn, something the man himself draws confidence from.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster, but obviously everyone’s going to have a lot more testing since then.
“But it was good to know that we were the fastest then, when everyone hasn’t had a lot of testing. If we can go into that and be the fastest, it was definitely a confidence boost and keeps me motivated through all my tests.
“Obviously we’ll see at the first round where we are and what everyone’s doing.”
Reverse-grid races are something else the Brit is keen to experience, and Hedley also believes his experience in Ginetta in managing a championship bid over a long season will give him an edge over his rivals.
“That obviously gives me confidence, and probably a mental advantage as well. I’m looking forward to the reverse grid races, it’s just something different, I’ve never had it before, maybe in karting but I can’t actually remember the karting days, we didn’t do a lot.”
The new season begins at Donington Park, Leicestershire, over the weekend of 28-29 March, 2020.