If you are a racing driver or track enthusiast, you learn an important lesson very early on. Never, ever travel to a track without dropping your kit bag into the boot. Even if you’re not scheduled to drive.
That’s the happy lesson that 15 year old Scott McKenna chose to remember when accompanying his father Andy at the recent Gold Track circuit day at Silverstone. Viewers of the Ginetta Junior Championship on ITV4 will have seen Scott’s debut races earlier this year, only for his season to be brought to an abrupt halt with the withdrawal of the title sponsor.
His father, Andy was at Silverstone to do some coaching and testing in Robi Bernberg’s immaculate 1965 MGB race car. Prepared by TTP Performance, Robi enjoys racing the car in various historic series and it is part of his small collection of interesting machinery.
Tagging along to the signing on and driver’s briefing, Robi casually dropped into the chat with Gold Track’s Calum Lockie whether Scott would be allowed on track? Calum very generously cleared Scott to drive the MGB, the only proviso being that he was accompanied by an ARDS Instructor.
So with no adult road car licence, but his own junior race licence, Scott headed for the car boot and that kit bag.
Boots and helmet on…
Here’s Scott’s on board of his Historic racing initiation.
We caught up with him afterwards for a chat about his first ever experience of a historic racing car and the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Here’s what he thought.
“I didn’t find out that I’d be driving the car until dad, Robi Bernberg and his daughter Jess went to sign on. Straight away I started thinking what the car would feel like as I’ve watched Goodwood Revival every year and other historic meetings and the cars just look beautiful to drive.
I was looking forward to driving a car with less grip than what I had previously been driving which had been the Ginetta Junior but also more recently an Ariel Atom with a H-pattern gearbox that required heel and toe and real sensitivity.
I had never experienced a car on cross ply tyres before either. So there was a lot to think about leading up to driving the car. But taking this all into consideration, at the same time I was being careful to not overthink and go into the first session with an open mind.
From the minute I was learning to drive on frozen lakes in Norway with dad at Ice Driver in a BMW M3 rally car with 300bhp+ I was being taught about the all the different aspects of car control such as weight transfer, left foot braking and some other little things that I learned each time I drove on the ice. All these factors stood me in perfect stead for driving my first historic racing car.
The MGB is one of the most rewarding cars I’ve ever driven and the most satisfying as the car needs to be driven hard but without overdriving. Too much oversteer may be fun, but that kills the speed.
Big thanks to Robi Bernberg for letting me have a go of his car and Malc at TTP Performance who prepares and looks after the car and also makes a cracking cup of tea!
These days it is really heartening to see so many younger drivers enjoying historic motorsport. Scott would dearly love to race the MGB and other historic cars, but this is tempered by the fact that, should he choose to upgrade his race licence later this summer when he turns 16, he would have to turn his back on the Ginetta Junior Championship.
So for now, you’ll see him hanging around on the pit wall, a little like the workshop cat. The helmet and driving boots are never far away and if you make the slightest offer of a drive, he won’t need to be asked twice. Just like a certain Swede that Scott admires so much, he just wants to drive flat out.
And whether you do, don’t leave the keys lying around. He’s just like his father.