Firmly installed as the UK’s key feeder series for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, the MINI CHALLENGE’s headline JCW Class is every bit as competitive and action-packed as the BTCC and where the touring car stars of tomorrow are born.
Featuring identical 2.0-litre turbo-powered 275bhp cars, based on the roadgoing Gen 3 F56 MINI, the championship races as the key support category to the BTCC at seven race events during the year. This season’s MINI CHALLENGE begins at Snetterton 300 Circuit in mid-June.
As part of BTC Racing’s drive to provide a platform for the best young talent to progress through the ranks of British motorsport, the team has expanded its reach from the BTCC into MINI CHALLENGE with a two-driver entry for the 2021 season.
Lydia Walmsley makes her debut in the premier JCW Class as part of the BTC Racing ‘Young Driver Programme’, having signed a three-year deal with Steve Dudman’s team. Her team-mate is vastly experienced Scottish driver Joe Tanner.
Talented 19-year-old Ipswich driver Lydia has delivered some outstanding results in the Cooper Class of MINI CHALLENGE racing over the last few years, becoming the highest placed Independent driver in 2020 and ending the year fifth in the MINI CHALLENGE Cooper Championship.
After beginning her career in karting at just seven years of age, Lydia won a number of club titles at Ellough Park before moving into car racing in 2017 in the Junior Saloon Car Championship. Ending her rookie year seventh overall, she was also named ‘Driver of the Meeting’ at the Knockhill event.
Debuting in MINI CHALLENGE the following year in the Cooper Pro Class, in 2019 she continued in the category and claimed her maiden race victory and four other podiums en-route to fourth in the championship standings.
Making a full-time return to action in 2021, after only selected race outings in recent years, Scotland’s Joe Tanner will contest the headline JCW Class in the MINI CHALLENGE as part of BTC Racing’s new programme in the one-make category.
Tanner, who owns the Rennat Design crash helmet design and painting business based at Knockhill, has been coaching team-mate Walmsley and now has the opportunity to show what he can do in the BTCC’s key feeder category.
Becoming Vice-Champion of the Scottish MINI Cooper Cup in 2013, and ending the next two seasons in the top three, Tanner stepped away from racing at that point to concentrate on building up his business. Prior to racing in saloon cars, he was successful in single-seaters and won the Scottish Formula Ford title.
Last year, on his JCW debut at Knockhill, Tanner stormed to