DRIVER NEWS: Jack Butel continues with JHR Developments for 2016

DRIVER NEWS 17 January, 2016 – Nineteen-year-old Jerseyman Jack Butel has signed to continue to drive for JHR Developments for the 2016 MSA Formula Series.

After switching to JHR Developments mid-season last year, Butel has pinned his colours to the mast early by electing to continue the good work with the Derbyshire squad. Acclimatising himself well on his debut for JHR at Croft in Yorkshire in June last year, the St Saviour resident’s progress then gained momentum as he felt more confident with the car, notching up four top-10 finishes in the run to the end of the year, with a solid sixth overall at Silverstone last September.

Jack Butel is looking forward to the new season. With the contract signed early and another major sponsor coming on board in the form of Yuasa Batteries, his season is set to be a year of progression with everything remaining a constant for the year ahead.

“I’m very pleased that I’m racing with JHR in the MSA Formula in 2016. The team is fantastic to work with and it really helps you develop inside and outside of the car,” enthused Butel. “My race pace was good last year and this year with a season under my belt I hope to be qualifying higher up the grid to be consistently running in the top 10. My hopes for this year are to break into the top five and then on to the podium. With the knowledge, data and experience I have, this has to be our target and we have to hit the ground running right from the off. I can’t wait to get started.

“I am excited that leading battery firm Yuasa have joined us for the 2016 season. To have such a big brand backing me is a great feeling and I look forward to working with them to achieve our goals in the new season ahead.”

Yuasa is no stranger to the TOCA racing package as it helped power Honda Yuasa Racing to the manufactures trophy as well as Gordon Shedden to a title winning British Touring Car Championship-campaign in 2015. “We are pleased to be joining Jack Butel as one of his main sponsors for the 2016 MSA Formula Championship,” announced James Douglas, Marketing Executive at Yuasa Battery Sales (UK) Ltd.

“Jack is really beginning to make his mark on the championship and we are delighted he will be racing under the Yuasa Motorsport banner this year. After a fantastic run of results at the end of last season he is definitely a driver to watch out for, and we are excited to see what he can achieve.

“Yuasa has a long and proud heritage in motorsport. We have enjoyed a huge amount of success with Honda Yuasa Racing in the British Touring Car Championship and Repsol Honda in MotoGP over the past few years. As the world’s leading battery manufacturer our motorsport sponsorship programme is key to maintaining our brand profile whilst reflecting our own core values of performance, reliability and quality.

“We are confident our partnership with Jack will deliver more on-track success and we can’t wait to see him in action at the Brands Hatch season opener in March.”

Jack’s 2016 JHR machine will be adorned with the Yuasa colours and complimented by a host of other sponsors including FAI Auto Parts, Rockford IT, Draper Tools, First Line, UAN, itgroup, Comma and Express Autoparts.

Butel is planning to start his pre-season testing campaign next month at Thruxton and JHR Developments Team Principal Steven Hunter is delighted to welcome Butel back to his squad for the new year: “I am delighted to welcome back Jack into the JHR fold for 2016. When Jack joined us mid-season last year he was extremely committed to his racing and was very clear with where he wanted to be by the end of the season. With a new year we have new expectations for Jack as we want him to break into the top five and eventually the podium and we are fully behind him to make that happen.”

DRIVER NEWS: Butel brings exciting MSA Formula season to a close

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 12 OCTOBER, 2015 – The dramatic and highly charged MSA Formula single-seater series came to a close at Brands Hatch last weekend (10/11 October). After his best showing this season at Silverstone last time out, Jersey racing driver Jack Butel secured further strong results in the highly competitive FIA certified championship – recording 12th, 17th and 14th. This allowed Butel to claim a top 20 championship position in his first year in the Ford EcoBoost-powered formula.

In the previous round at Silverstone, Butel had his best weekend to date as he chalked an impressive sixth overall at the home of British motorsport. Two weeks on and Jack faced his biggest challenge of the season – the daunting Brands Hatch Grand prix layout.

On the Saturday Butel notched up 17th on the grid for qualifying ahead of the first race of the day. Aboard his JHR prepared machine the 19-year-old made one of his position-gaining trademark starts as the lights went out at the start of race one. Steering clear of trouble once again he settled for 12th at the fall of the flag.

Race two brought Jack 17th in a difficult contest. In Sunday’s final race of the weekend, from the ninth row of the grid, Butel rocketed off the start line and overtook several rivals within the first few laps. The St Saviour resident used his mature head to pounce on others’ mistakes as he found himself in 14th as the clock hit zero for the final time this season.

“I had never driven the Grand Prix part of the circuit before and it certainly takes time to get used to,” said Jack. “My objective for the final meeting was to gain experience and data for next year and complete every race, and we did just that. I fell in love with the circuit by the end of the weekend. It is just incredible; so many fast corners which if you get right puts a massive smile on your face.

“My first season in the MSA Formula Championship has gone well. From mid season it all clicked and I felt comfortable fighting towards the sharp end of the field and we hope to be back fighting towards the front more often in 2016.”

DRIVER NEWS: Butel shines at Silverstone

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 29 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – After a weekend of mixed fortunes last time out at Rockingham, Jersey racing driver Jack Butel stormed to his best result this season at Silverstone last weekend. Butel secured sixth overall in the final race of the weekend with a fine eighth and 12th in the other two races to back up his most successful weekend to date in the competitive MSA Formula Championship.

In the previous round at Rockingham Butel had a disappointing weekend by his now high standards and went into the second leg of the Northampton double header at Silverstone feeling confident of progressing in the FIA certified single-seater championship. Jack has historically gone well on the short National configuration of the iconic Silverstone venue, recording eighth in the Formula Renault series last year. The Channel Islander was optimistic as he arrived at the home of British motorsport and soon found his feet, setting respective lap times just a second away from pole position in qualifying.

Butel – now sporting the famous JHR team colours, made one of his position-gaining trademark starts as the lights went out at the start of race one. As the St Saviour resident flew around the 1.64 mile Northamptonshire venue he gained a handful of places as the race unfolded, settling for a position on the cusp of the top ten in 12th at the fall of the flag.

Autumn may now be upon us, but this certainly didn’t deter thousands of spectators who made the journey on Sunday to Silverstone under strong September sunshine. Fans filled the grandstands in anticipation for the three British Touring Car races that day and in and amongst were two nail-biting, highly exciting MSA Formula races powered by Ford EcoBoost. Hundreds of thousands tuned into live uninterrupted ITV4 coverage, and this was the perfect opportunity for the single-seater stars to shine and prove the championship is the breeding ground for the best young drivers in the world.

The second race of the weekend and first of the day would see Jack line up in 12th, one of his best grid positions to date this year. From the off the young gun soon made headway as he picked off further positions to chalk up a career best eighth position as the clock hit zero. More was to come for the Jerseyman that afternoon, however.

In the final race of the weekend, from the ninth row of the grid, Butel rocketed off the start line in his turbocharged missile and overtook several rivals going into the first corner. The first lap was to see sheer carnage as eager young drivers looked for gaps that weren’t there, causing chaos throughout the packed grid. The 19-year-old Jerseyman made some impressive avoidances to get out of the way of drama around him and the former De La Salle student used his mature head to pounce on others’ mistakes as he found himself in eighth after the first lap.

With the destruction and debris left around the Silverstone circuit a safety car was launched to allow the marshals to safely clear away the damaged cars. After a lengthy period behind the safety car, there was to be a 10-minute dash to the flag. Looking competitive after the restart Jack started to hone in on the pack in front.
With just two minutes to go, Butel picked off another two positions as others faulted, elevating the youngster into a career-best sixth – a position which he defended to the flag.

ITV4 MSA Formula race commentators Richard John Neil and Phil Glew were delighted for the Jersey resident as they described the exciting race to the hundreds of thousands watching on screens across the country. Richard John Neil said: “The experience he has gained and the results he has picked up will certainly build his confidence.”

Said Jack: “Qualifying was not so good again but I knew we had the potential come the races. Race one was all about moving through the pack and getting close to the top-ten. 12th was a good race one result and a springboard for the rest of the weekend.

“Race two was a quiet affair but I pushed on and broke into the top-ten as I wanted to better my ninth place finish. I was really pleased to have done that and claim eighth at the chequered flag!

“The final race was just chaos! I could see everything going on around me so just had to pick gaps and hope nobody would take me out, after their own incidents. To come out of the first lap drama with eighth from the back of the grid was a great feeling and to then bag sixth was incredible. It was a great weekend. The team rolled out a perfect car and to claim my best results in front of so many supporters and sponsors has given me confidence going into the final race at Brands Hatch.”

DRIVER NEWS: Highland heroics from Jack Butel in Scotland

Jack Butel (GBR) JHR MSA Formula

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 25 AUGUST, 2015 – The exciting MSA Formula Championship made its way across the border for rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the fast and furious single-seater series last weekend. Jack Butel and JHR Developments made the trip to Scotland to tackle the picturesque Knockhill circuit in Dunfermline, Fife. Butel had one of his best weekends to date as the Jerseyman secured yet another impressive top-ten, with a ninth overall as well as 16th and 13th place finishes to bookend a successful trip to the most northern venue on the calendar.

At Snetterton a fortnight ago Butel was jubilant after securing his maiden top-ten result. After a brief trip back to the Island, Jack flew to Edinburgh to face the fast and flowing Knockhill circuit for the very first time. Against some of the best young drivers in the world, Jack steadily improved through every practice session and lined up 17th for the opening contest of the weekend after a difficult qualifying period.

In race one on Saturday afternoon, Butel pounded around the 1.3 mile ribbon of Scottish tarmac, learning the circuit with every turn – mastering the undulating rollercoaster circuit as the race developed. Jack eventually took a solid 16th at the fall of the flag in his Ford EcoBoost powered, JHR Developments single-seater.

On Sunday morning MSA Formula kicked off the proceedings and Butel was to show a strong turn of pace while avoiding incidents and trouble ahead. With rivals falling off left, right and centre the St Saviour resident kept a calm, mature head to pick off positions lap after lap. The former De La Salle student crossed the finish line after the 20 minute race in a fine ninth overall – collecting two championship points.

The final race of the day saw the grid line-up according to the second fastest qualifying position and after a difficult Saturday the good work from the previous race was undone as the Channel Islander had to start from the back of the grid. Undeterred, the 19-year-old once again moved forward and collected a solid 13th place at the end of the race.

Said Jack: “Having never been to Knockhill before I took it nice and easy to get used to the circuit layout and try to find a set-up on the car that suited me and the track. We were doing well at our first attempt with P14 but the session was red flagged and someone crashed into the back of me and damaged the car in the process, meaning I couldn’t have a stab at the final part of qualifying.

“In the races I wanted to gain solid finishes as we proved we can run in the top 10 last time out at Snetterton. Knockhill is a tricky circuit to master and difficult to overtake at times so I had to keep my head down and pick opportunities when I could. To come away with another ninth was satisfying and I want to continue this momentum into the final three race meetings.

“ Rockingham is up next and I am really looking forward to racing at the speedway once again. I want to push on and sort my qualifying out as that is what is stopping me from challenging towards the sharp end. Hopefully we have had our bad luck for the year.”

DRIVER NEWS: Breakthrough for Butel at Snetterton

Jack Butel (GBR) JHR Developments MSA Formula

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 10 AUGUST, 2015 – After a lengthy summer break, action resumed in the MSA Formula Championship last weekend. Jersey driver Jack Butel was back up to speed and made a breakthrough in his racing career with a fine top 10 result, netting ninth place in the second race of the weekend. The JHR Developments driver also claimed two solid race finishes with a 17th and 16th to bookend his weekend.

Last time out at Croft in June, Butel used the round as a learning weekend as he got used to his new car and team. After a solid test at Donington in July, Jack was buoyant ahead of rounds 16,17 and 18 of the FIA approved MSA Formula at Snetterton in Norfolk. The round was to bring Eastern Promise for the Channel Islander as he was to claim his best result to date and his first top-ten finish of the year – a position he had yearned for since he started his 2015 campaign.

In Practice and Qualifying, Jack initially struggled for performance, but with the help of the team, Butel was able to adjust to the Snetterton 300 layout and establish a good base set-up for the weekend. Qualifying would see him line-up 21st towards the back of the pack, but this was an opportunity for Jack to shine in the Snetterton sunshine.

Sporting the now infamous JHR team colours, the St Saviour resident was optimistic ahead of the weekend’s action. After making a trademark good start, Butel flew around the 2.99 mile Norfolk venue gaining a handful of places as the race unfolded, settling for 17th at the fall of the flag.

Snetterton Circuit based just outside of Norwich was to be the host of glorious summer weather as well as incredible on-track action to kick-start the second half of the year. The highly exciting one-make single-seater, Ford Eco-Boost powered series is the breeding ground for some of the best young drivers in the world who fight tooth and nail for positions in the highly competitive field. The stars of tomorrow were up first on the Sunday timetable ahead of the main act –the hugely popular British Touring Car Championship which always attracts a sizeable crowd at every venue it rolls into. This is a perfect platform and chance for the young-guns to impress and shine on a large stage with thousands watching trackside and hundreds of thousands watching the live uninterrupted action on ITV4.

From the eighth row of the grid, Butel rocketed off the start line in his turbo-charged missile and overtook several rivals going into the first corner – and after several laps the former De La Salle student had put seven cars behind him. A much needed safety car bunched the field up allowing the 19-year-old another opportunity to go on the attack. The safety car peeled off with just seven minutes of the race remaining. Jack held 12th and could sniff further places. An oily substance was dropped on one of the high-speed corners at Snetterton which added another challenge in the summer heat. A mature drive by Jack and a tight line on the slippery corner prevailed as he watched more experienced rivals visit the grass run-off area – allowing him to scalp further positions. As the clock struck zero, Butel crossed the line in ninth position, bagging his first top 10 result of the season in the process.

Even ITV4 commentator Richard John Neil was delighted for Butel as he read the results to the hundreds of thousands watching on screens across the country – “Terrific result and a great drive by the Channel Islander to claim his first top 10 finish of the season.”

The final race of the day saw the grid line-up according to the second fastest qualifying position and after a difficult Saturday the good work from the previous race was undone as Butel had to start from the back of the grid. Undeterred Jack claimed a few more positions to collect 16th in the final race of the day.

Quote from Snetterton weekend
“Snetterton was to be my first proper racing weekend with JHR [Developments] as Croft was an extended test exercise. Qualifying was disappointing as we had gearbox issues, which meant we only got two flying laps right at the end of the session and with everything so tight we started towards the back.

“It was great to finally duck into the top 10. In fact it was amazing as everything clicked, I drove well and the car was brilliant. With the oil or coolant dropped down towards the end of the race I kept my head, took a tight line and drove through other people’s mistakes and ninth was a fine reward!

“Looking ahead to Knockhill – I have never raced there before so I will be going in with an open mind and will look to hoover up as much knowledge before we head to Scotland. I want to now be consistently in the top 10 and push on to beat ninth place at the next round.”

The next stop on the MSA Formula Championship calendar will see Jack head to Scotland on the 22/23 August to tackle the picturesque Knockhill Circuit. With a solid top-ten now in the bag, Jack and the team will look to continue the momentum and become a regular feature at the sharp end of the grid.

DRIVER NEWS: Jack Butel teams up with JHR Developments for second half of the season

DRIVER NEWS 24 JUNE, 2015 – Jersey driver Jack Butel will race in the remaining rounds of the MSA Formula Championship with JHR Developments. Butel had contested the opening four rounds with SWB Motorsport – the team he had worked and progressed with for the past 18 months. After a mutual decision to part ways it was decided that Jack would continue in the single-seater series in a JHR Developments prepared machine.

With a best place finish of 11th at Brands Hatch earlier this year, Jack has been developing well in the fiercely competitive one-make series and will look to continue his progress at Croft Circuit this weekend (27/28 June) aboard his Ford EcoBoost-powered machine.

”It is with regret that I have to part company with SWB Motorsport. The decision has not been easy but I believe it is the best thing for both parties. I have had a great 18 months with the team and they have taught me a lot having raced in Formula Renault, MSA Formula and they helped me make my rallying debut on the Jersey Rally. I wish all of SWB the best in the future as I continue my racing career.”

As one door closes another exciting chapter in Jack Butel’s racing career is soon to get underway at Croft later this week. “I am delighted to be joining JHR Developments for Croft and the remainder of the season. When I spoke to Steven Hunter at JHR, I felt confident I could work with the team to help maintain my career momentum.”

Indeed, JHR Developments’ credentials in the FIA sanctioned series speak for themselves, and the Derbyshire squad currently run Sennan Fielding who has secured one win and three podiums to date. JHR Developments team principal Steven Hunter was excited at the prospect of the 19-year-old joining his firm. “Jack has great potential at this level considering his experience and we are pleased to have him on board as we look to work with him and take him further up the grid as the year goes on. He shows a great level of commitment, desire and hunger to progress and he has all the attributes to learn and learn quickly.

“Running two cars is a good move for JHR as we will gain more data and input to move us forward and grow within the championship. We want to become an established team in the MSA Formula series and we want Jack to be a part of that.”