Manx-born teenager Nickolas Ellis is making the transition from karts to cars with the ultimate aim of advancing into single-seater racing.
‘It’s every racer’s dream to get into F1, but I’ll take it one step at a time,’ said Nick, who recently made his debut in the Ginetta Junior Championship at Brands Hatch.
‘I’m not sure if the fact that we lived in Nigel’s former house influenced his decision to go racing or not, but we often talked about it,’ said his American mother Nicole.
His initial interest was in fact on the sea, competing in RS Tera monohull dinghies. He was in the Manx Youth Sailing squad in 2018 and Nick won his fleet at the RS Tera World Championship at Weymouth in Dorset.
Back on terra firma he took up kart racing at Jurby when he was 14 and finished a close third in the junior class of the 2021 Isle of Man Kart Racing Championships, despite missing a couple of rounds when off-island.
The following year he spread his wings to the UK and promptly finished third in a national competition, winning the title of ‘driver of the year’.
Having recently completed his GCSEs at King William’s College, Nick and his family’s aim was to continue with kart racing (he contested the 2023 Junior Rotax class championship), but the opportunity arose to move up to cars.
‘We found out about the Ginetta Juniors and a door opened up for us,’ continued Nick.
After a couple of test days he made his racing debut at Brands Hatch on September 9-10.
‘The race was on the full GP 2.43-mile circuit, which is very technical, so it was really exciting, and I did well for my first ever car race.’
Ginetta Juniors has been a specific race series for a long time. The car bodies are lightweight, powered by 1.6-litre Ford Zetec engines, so they are pretty quick. They are closed-wheel design, and run on road tyres (not slicks) so they can be unwieldy at high speed.
Nick’s father Antony commented: ‘The series provides the prefect stepping stone from karts to cars.
‘Ginetta Juniors are small, lightweight and very difficult to drive, but they are ideal for developing skills.
‘The class also provides a unique coaching opportunity not afforded by single-seaters, speeding up the driver development process. It has been responsible for launching the careers of a lot of Britain’s leading drivers over the last 20 years or more, including Lando Norris and George Russell.’
Nick agreed that Ginetta Juniors is the pathway car to single-seater racing and ultimately F1. ‘I will see what I can bring home to the island.’
The young Manx driver is only dipping his toes in the water of car racing at the moment, with the view of tackling the full Ginetta Juniors season with the Elite Motorsport team next year. The team has taken four drivers to victory in Ginetta Juniors over the years.
Nick is tackling another round of the current series at Donington Park on October 21 which will be streamed live on Ginetta TV via YouTube. ‘Hopefully we will hit the ground running when the 2024 series gets underway at Oulton Park next spring,’ said Nick.
He recently appeared in episode five of the Driven Dream docu series on Amazon Prime, featuring a Steam Packet ferry and a number of scenic shots of the island.
Nick and his family were appreciative of the support he received from Isle of Man Steam Packet Company with their off-island travel this year, but to give him every opportunity of advancing in the sport the family has relocated to Cambridge for two years while he attends sixth form college in the city.
They wish to thank all their local sponsors, not least Thornton Financial Services for its support, belief and valuable motivation, on and off track; along with Mooch Creative for the innovative ideas and support.
Also King William’s College for allowing him to head off-island early to attend race meetings, and for help keeping his grades up at GCSE level and last but not least the IoM Kart Racing Association.
‘Numbers at the club ebb and flow, but it is hugely important in providing the gateway for any kid wishing to progress in motorsport,’ said Nick’s father Antony.
‘Those that help up there at Jurby don’t get a lot of recognition for what they do, but without the support we received up there and by others in the island, the next step up the ladder for Nick would not have happened.’
l If you’re interested in Nick promoting your brand through sponsorship please contact: [email protected]
He will be providing regular updates on his progress on his Facebook page - @n7racing and via Instagram @n7_racing handles.