Rising motor racing star Scott McKenna has been named as the first member of the new Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Young Driver Programme. He will lead Speedworks Motorsport’s bid for British GT Championship glory driving the Toyota GR Supra GT4 this year.
In collaboration with Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe (TGR-E), Speedworks launched the UK Young Driver Programme last month, designed to advance the career prospects of promising British sportscar racing talents.
McKenna stood out as a leading candidate. The Yorkshireman got to grips with the fundamentals of car control at an early age, through his family’s ice driving business on the frozen lakes of Scandinavia.
He only made the leap from ice to asphalt four years ago, but the 19-year-old is rapidly earning a reputation as a star in the making. From five races as a rookie in the Ginetta Junior Championship, McKenna scored two top four finishes before graduating to the Ginetta GT5 Championship – a series in which he was crowned champion in 2019 courtesy of an impressive six victories, five further rostrum appearances, three pole positions and three fastest laps. This was achieved in just his first full racing campaign.
With mentoring from former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Guy Smith and coaching from seasoned endurance racing pro Andy Meyrick, McKenna (a BRDC Rising Star and Motorsport UK Squad Athlete) stepped up last year to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. A trio of podiums and a pole position in the ‘Pro’ category kept the momentum going, and now he is set to continue climbing the ranks in Toyota Gazoo Racing UK colours.
In addition to being able to draw upon Speedworks and TGR-E’s combined expertise, McKenna will enjoy privileged access to TGR-E’s state-of-the-art Cologne facility and driving simulator. He will also benefit from the experience of Toyota Gazoo Racing stars such as reigning FIA World Endurance Champion and multiple Le Mans 24 Hours podium-finisher Mike Conway.
McKenna said: “It’s an absolute honour to be selected for the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Young Driver Programme. This is a tremendously proud moment for me.
“I’m under no illusions that I have a lot to learn – I don’t think for one minute that this will be a walk in the park, and there is an endless amount of skills and knowledge I still need to take on-board. I need to repay the faith that Speedworks and Toyota Gazoo Racing UK have placed in me – and I’m determined to do just that.”
Christian Dick, Speedworks Motorsport Team Principal, said: “We’re thrilled to confirm Scott as the first member of the new Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Young Driver Programme. He is clearly a young driver going places fast, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will be a fantastic ambassador for the initiative.”
Rob Leupen, Managing Director Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, commented: “With their activities in other series, Speedworks have a strong link to the Toyota Gazoo Racing family and they have been an excellent partner, providing valuable input which helps us to make ever-better cars. Big thanks to Christian and his team for again choosing to participate with a GR Supra GT4. We wish them a fantastic season with their new driver line-up, and we hope to see Scott and John on the British GT Championship podium very soon.”
McKenna will share Speedworks’ striking 430bhp Supra with new team-mate John Ferguson, a proven race-winner in Formula Ford 1600 and a driver with a wealth of single-seater experience.
The 2021 British GT campaign is due to get underway at Brands Hatch in Kent on 22 – 23 May.