Larbert teenager Jake Hutchison has put himself very much in the driving seat for a potential career as a racing driver.
The former Larbert High School pupil is leading the newcomers category in the BMW Compact Cupseries which takes place in Knockhill.
But what’s makes his achievement all the more remarkable is that he is just 16 years old.
And while technically he’s actually too young to drive, that hasn’t stopped the teenage speed merchant roaring up to seventh place in the overall standings more than halfway through the competition.
Despite racing against adults from all over Scotland - the next youngest racer is 21 - Jake has been far from overawed.
But the racing scene itself is far from new to him, as dad Simon explained.
He said: “Jake started karting at Extreme Karting in Larbert when he was eight or nine. He enjoyed that very much and when he got to 14 he was looking for the next thing to do.
“I had a pal who had a racing team called Pro Race and had cars in the BWM Compact Cup which runs at Knockhill.
“He did a couple of years with the team, helping out, setting up cars and doing menial mechanic’s duties and that got him hooked on the racing aspects of it.
“He was going round most of the circuits in Britain - Silverstone, Rockingham, all these places.
“While he was doing this we took him to Teen Drive at Knockhill which is for teenagers to learn to drive before they’re 17.
“He passed two teen drives and then Teen Rally at Knockhill. He did all that before he was 16 and then sat and passed his ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers Schools) which is basically a racing licence.
“You have to pass this before you can race cars in any championship.
“He passed this when he was 15 when very few 15-year-olds pass.
“It required him to go round Knockhill with an instructor to show driving skills and also to pass a theory test.”
Having seen Jake pass his ARDS, the next step for his dad was to get him a car to allow him to move into competitive racing.
Simon said: “We bought him a BMW racing compact and this year he joined the championship.
“He’s been racing with the Andrew Lamont Motor Sport team from Cardenden in Fife since February and after 10 of 16 rounds lying seventh in the main championship and winning the newcomers championship which is really impressive for someone in his debut season.
“He’s the youngest driver in the competition by far. The nearest to him in age is 21 and he’s the grandson of Arnold Clark!
“All the rest of the drivers are adults and he’s not yet even passed his driving test.”
“The expectations were to get experience. I know that he’s got that gift of always wanting to challenge and drive fast and known since he was nine that he’s got that competitive streak, but it’s amazing given that every time he gets in a race car he has to kind of relearn how to drive.
“We drive every day, he doesn’t because he’s not passed his test yet, so I’m amazed and very proud that he has reached the stage he’s at now and is as competitive as he is.
“The BMW Compact Cup is a one-make championship so basically they all drive the same car and there are rules about what you can do to the car and what you can’t do to the car.
“He’s getting to the stage where, hopefully with funds being available, we’d like to expand into racing in England.
“That might mean different makes of cars but there are a lot more single make series in England on lots of different tracks, whereas in Scotland there’s only really Knockhill.”
Jake‘s long-term aim is to break into the touring car scene but, as all developing sports stars know, finance will play a big part in that.
Simon added: “The hope would be to get to touring car level, like Gordon Shedden and all these guys, but it’s exceedingly expensive to reach that stage and you really do need a lot of sponsors and financial support behind you to do it.”
There are already a number of businesses who help out and Simon and Jake are grateful to Tile ‘n’ Grout, Skidz, DWS Group Alloa, Elite Recovery, Hutchison Law and Mr Carbon Clean Falkirk for their sponsorship.
But there’s always room for more and anyone who would like to help out can get further details or contact Simon and Jake via the Jake Hutchison Racing page on Facebook.
Simon can also be contacted direct on 07785 332002.