Rising star Nick Gilkes signs with Markham Vale-based Hillspeed for 2022
Successful F1600 racer Nick Gilkes will debut in the GB3 Championship partnered by the BRDC this year after the British-Canadian teenager was confirmed as Markham Vale-based Hillspeed’s first driver signing for the 2022 season.
The 16-year-old, who became the youngest ever Toyo Tires Ontario F1600 Champion last year as well as winning the Canadian F1600 Championship, will graduate to ‘slicks and wings’ racing for the first time with Hillspeed in the UK’s premier single-seater category. He will be backed by Contest of Speed Sim Racing League and MIR Raceline USA.
He tested one of Hillspeed’s GB3 cars at Silverstone in November and immediately gelled with the 2.0-litre Tatuus. Although the learning curve in GB3 will be significant for Gilkes, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw has very high hopes and says the youngster has a great deal of potential.
Gilkes will base himself in the UK for the duration of the GB3 season, working closely with Hillspeed at the team’s headquarters in Derbyshire while also managing his educational commitments remotely – the dual British-Canadian national has elite athlete status which allows him to do this.
Starting out racing when residing in Barbados during his childhood, Gilkes returned to Canada with his family and started to pursue motorsport more seriously in karting. Winning the 2016 Goodwood Kartways Novice Club title, he then added the Pfaff Kartsport Cup crown in 2018.
The following year he was second in the US Grand Nationals in Indiana and in 2020 won the KartStars Canada Briggs Junior title as well as the Goodwood Kartways Junior Championship.
Graduating into cars last year, he won the Toyo Tires Ontario F1600 and Canadian F1600 crowns in a superb first season and was also ‘Rookie of the Year’ with a tremendous 15 race wins.
Travelling to the UK to take part in the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy, Gilkes gained 13 positions in the latter to net a top 20 finish.
Ollerenshaw said: “We are absolutely delighted Nick will be racing with us in GB3 this season, he’s a great young driver with a lot of potential and while the move to GB3 will be a big step we can see he clearly has the ability.”