Former British GT champion James Gornall will joins the MINI CHALLENGE JCW grid for this weekend’s rounds at Rockingham as he evaluates a full-time switch into the category.

Gornall will handle the MINI UK VIP guest car, formerly driven by BTCC star Paul O’Neill in the Oulton Park season opener.

Gornall has had much success across his career so far, peaking with his title-winning campaign in the 2008 British GT Championship with a Dodge Viper.

The 33-year-old has since switched back to club racing and has been a regular in the BMW Compact Cup in recent seasons, winning the title in 2016 and being a perennial frontrunner since.

This weekend will mark his first ever race outing in front-wheel-drive machinery, but he is keen to learn and is already looking at buying a JCW to run in his family team.

I always want to race in competitive championships and the JCWs look like one of the best grids in the country at the moment,” said Gornall.

I’m in the guest car for Rockingham, but we are looking at buying a car and running it as a dad-and-lad team with my father, Ian, who looked after all of the BMWs with me.

We’ve just been playing with pocket money in the Compact Cup. The JCW is obviously a fairly big step up from that, but it’s still affordable so is a very viable option for us.

I feel the front-wheel drive itch is one I have to scratch as I’ve been successful in everything from karts to GTs, but never actually raced FWD.

It’ll be a big challenge as there’s definitely a skill to getting these cars to the limit. But we’ll see what happens and I’m just out for some fun and good, close racing.”