Elite Motorsport came into 2019 as the team to beat. The past two champions raced for the team, as well as the last two Winter Series winners. Expectations were high.
Expectations were met.
Of course, James Hedley dominated the headlines, but he wasn’t the only race winner at Elite.
In fact, the team’s first victory came from Tom Emson. Emson emerged from a chaotic race two at Brands Hatch with the win, holding off Lorcan Hanafin and Hedley in a photo finish.
That was the last time for a long time Hedley would be beaten by a team-mate. Hedley wasn’t really challenged by his team-mates until James Taylor made the switch from Richardson Racing.
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Taylor joined Elite from Thruxton onwards. After a difficult Hampshire meeting, the Yesss Electricals backed driver brought the fight to Hedley.
He picked up his first podium since Donington Park with a P3 at Silverstone before a pair of victories in Sunday’s races.
Taylor found a home at Elite, something reflected in his dominant Winter Series display.
Rookie Joel Pearson may not have taken a race win, but he definitely impressed over the course of the year. 2019 was a learning year for Pearson, and that’s exactly what he did. By the end of the year, he was fighting in the top 10, and took a fourth place finish at Thruxton before switching to R Racing for the final two rounds of the year.
Elite also ran a number of drivers competing in just a handful of races.
Suleiman Zanfari, making his debut at Silverstone, was the highest finisher of the three part-time drivers. The moroccan driver took a best finish of 13 at Brands Hatch as he prepared for a full campaign in the future.
Tom Ward enjoyed a difficult start to his Ginetta career. He joined the grid at Croft, where the opening race was postponed until Snetterton, and he retired from the only race of the weekend. Returning to the grid at Snetterton, he took two 15th place finishes and a P16.
William Aspin was the third driver to join the Elite squad. The rookie made a one-off appearanec at Snetterton, where he took a best finish of 18th.
Elite did more than dominate the season with Hedley. It set the foundation for its 2020 success, with a number of talented drivers likely to return to the team in the future, either in Juniors or in the next stage of their career.
After another successful year, Elite will once again be the one to beat in 2020.
Images courtesy of Caroline Rhea, R Racing and Jakob Ebrey Photography
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