Bradley Gravett shows pace as new MINI CHALLENGE campaign kicks off

Bradley Gravett showed why he is amongst the favourites for honours in the new Vertu MINI CHALLENGE season after showing impressive pace on a challenging weekend at Donington Park.

Bradley - son of former BTCC champion Robb - embarks on his fourth season in the highly-competitive one make series this season after re-signing with the EXCELR8 Motorsport squad, with hopes high of building on a solid 2023 campaign in which he secured his first career podium and finished inside the top six in the standings.

With only limited pre-season running to acclimatise to changes made to the specification of the JCW car for 2024, Bradley went into the opening meeting unsure of what to expect, with Thursday testing being used to gain as much knowledge as possible to take into the race weekend itself.

A change to the qualifying format meant Bradley needed to secure two quick laps during the session, with his fastest lap deciding the grid for the final race of the weekend and his second fastest lap deciding where he would start the opening race.

Although just half a second away from the fastest time, Bradley would end up qualifying in tenth place for race three, with his second best lap putting him in P9 for the opening race in Saturday afternoon.

Showing stronger race pace when the lights went out, Bradley wasted little time in moving up the order and - after an early caution - had just taken fifth spot when the action was halted following an incident for JCW Sport racer Albert Webster.

Taking the restart in fifth, Bradley would retain his position throughout what would become a seven lap race, setting the fastest lap to secure an additional six bonus points.

Heavy rain overnight would play havoc with Sunday’s schedule and resulted in the reverse grid second race being cancelled, with hopes of running it at a fresh date later in the season.

As a result, Bradley lined up back in tenth place for the final race of the weekend which saw every driver bar one take to the track on wet rubber.

In tricky conditions, Bradley would spend the race dicing for position with Nelson King before a clash on the final lap saw him run off into the gravel - rejoining to take the flag in 14th place overall and eleventh in class.

It leaves Bradley sitting fifth in the championship standings ahead of his first trip of the year to Brands Hatch next time out.

“Coming into the opening weekend, I wasn’t really too sure what to expect as we have a new map on the engine this season that we’d only been able to try out once at Snetterton,” he said. “The car felt quick on the day but there was no-one out with us and we didn’t know where we stood as a result, and then I didn’t get the best of the car in the qualifying.

“The new map does make quite a big difference and has made the car slower, and I was over-revving it during the session which meant we would be down in ninth and tenth on the two grids - which was lower than I was hoping for.

“However, the pace in race one was really strong and at one stage I was up in fourth and pushing for the podium so it was a good way to start things off - particularly when you also add in the fastest lap.

“Sunday was hugely frustrating with the weather conditions, and it was a massive shame to lose a race because of the rain. We should have been fifth on the grid for that one so could have been in the fight for a podium finish, but instead had to settle for tenth on the start for the finale.

“Things didn’t quite go to plan in that one after the late contact, but the important thing is that we scored solid points across the two races and have something to build on as we look ahead to Brands Hatch next time out."

Bradley Gravett is supported by GERKO, Third Millennium, Ultimate Car Control, My Custom Workwear, Scalextric, Elite Vehicle Chargers, Flying TV, Bradbury Racing, Tesouro Timepiece.


Bradley Gravett shows pace as new MINI CHALLENGE campaign kicks off


Bradley Gravett shows pace as new MINI CHALLENGE campaign kicks off


Bradley Gravett shows pace as new MINI CHALLENGE campaign kicks off