SCOTTISH MINI COOPER CUP STAR JOE TANNER WILL SWITCH JCW WITH JAMSPORT RACING

Scottish MINI Cooper Cup star Joe Tanner will switch to the MINI CHALLENGE JCW Championship this year as part of a new programme from JamSport Racing.

Tanner was runner-up in the Knockhill-based Scottish series each year from 2013-2015, but then stepped back from racing to build his helmet painting business.

The 34-year-old, who is also an ex-Scottish Formula Ford champion, will now return to full-time racing with JamSport, which moves into the MINI CHALLENGE this year having switched from the Renault Clio Cup.

JamSport may be new to the MINIs, but they’ve got a lot of expertise and experience in front-wheel-drive racing. They’ll get a handle on the JCW really quickly. I have no doubt. I have no idea where in the pecking order I’ll fit in, I guess we’ll see come Oulton Park, but it’s going to be hard work and a really exciting season.”

JamSport is planning to run a multi-car attack on the CHALLENGE this year, and has already signed a second driver – Ford Fiesta Junior champion Jack Davidson.

The MINI CHALLENGE worked out to be the best move for me in terms of development and learning better race craft,” Davidson told Motorsport News.

This year will likely be a learning year for me, getting to grips with the car. I won’t be doing anything stupid.

Davidson, who will turn 16 in March, will drive the car formerly handled by Jo Polley.

A third JamSport signing is expected to be confirmed soon.

This is going to be a huge year for me, having been out of racing properly for a few years, but I can’t wait to get started,” said Tanner, from Edinburgh.

We’ve bought the ex-Jeff Smith car from Eurotech and we’ll be taking it to Spain to get some decent winter mileage, and then it’ll be straight into the season.

I’ve never driven a JCW, but I know it will be a big step up in power, grip and performance over the Scottish Cooper Cup cars, which are pretty standard. The JCW is pretty closely related to a touring car, so it’s a much more technical beast to set up and drive properly. It’s also back to slicks for me for the first time since my Formula Ford days, and getting heat into those was quite easy as it was rear-wheel drive, so this will be a new challenge.