Stuart Middleton, one of Britain’s very best aspiring professional racing drivers, is set to embark on his most important season to date this year after making the deserved step-up to full GT3 action with top Lamborghini squad Imperiale Racing in the Italian GT Endurance Championship.
Northumberland 21-year-old Middleton, who has already relocated to Italy in readiness for his maiden campaign with Bologna-based Imperiale, is absolutely relishing his debut in Italian GT and his first season piloting a full GT3-specification Lamborghini Huracan.
The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star received his chance to climb the ladder after delivering outstanding performances with Lamborghini over the past two years, in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America.
Almost winning the European crown back in 2019, taking three race wins and a total of eight podiums, an eleventh hour deal last year enabled Middleton to race in the United States for the first time where he was fourth in the standings and a multiple podium finisher.
For the coming season, the Ashington driver will contest the four-round Italian GT Endurance Championship where he will share a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO with Italian team-mates Andrea Amici and Alberto Di Folco – both of whom have also progressed from the Super Trofeo.
“I’m over the moon, absolutely over the moon”, said Middleton, “It’s fantastic to be part of such a cool thing, it’s one of those opportunities you have to grab with both hands and make the absolute most of. I’ve really enjoyed my time in the Super Trofeo over the last couple of years, to now have the opportunity to race the full GT3 Lamborghini Huracan – and in Italy too – is incredible.
“I’m delighted to be racing with Imperiale, it’s a fantastic team and the guys definitely know what they’re doing! They’ve got a hell of a lot of experience and with two amazing team-mates in Andrea and Alberto we’re definitely going out there aiming to win the championship. I’ll be doing the best I can to make that happen.”
As has been the way throughout his career, year-on-year Middleton tackles brand new challenges head-on and 2021 will be no different. As well as racing in a different championship, he will also have to get adjusted to the full GT3-spec Huracan and working with a new team and team-mates.
His car racing career thus far has been packed with success, starting off by winning the Ginetta Junior Scholarship in October 2014 before winning the 2015 Winter Series title. During the main 2016 season, Middleton raced to the Vice-Champion’s position.
In his maiden year of GT endurance racing in 2017, Middleton starred and along with Will Tregurtha became British GT4 Champion. The pairing then only just missed out on the GT4 European Series crown the following year.
Middleton’s prowess in British GT4 also meant he won the Sunoco Whelen Challenge which earned him a dream drive in the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours. Finishing a sensational second on his debut in the huge race, Middleton – teaming with Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway and Eric Curran – was the youngest podium finisher of the 21st century and the highest ever placed Sunoco Whelen winner.
“Pretty much every year so far in my racing we’ve done something new or different”, Middleton said, “I’ve had to learn a new car or working with a new team, new tracks, new country. This year we can add learning a new language to that as well! This is the kind of drive I’ve wanted for so long, I really can’t wait to get started working with the team.
“I do have to say a massive thank you to Imperiale and to Lamborghini Squadra Corse for this huge opportunity, as well as my family too – I wouldn’t be at this point now without the amazing support they’ve shown me. I’m determined to work as hard as I can to maximise this incredible chance.”
The Italian GT Endurance Championship will get underway at Autodrom di Pergusa in Sicily over the weekend 22nd/23rd May.
2021 Italian GT Endurance Championship Calendar
Rd1 – Pergusa, Sicily – 22/23 May
Rd2 – Mugello, Tuscany – 3/4 July
Rd3 – Vallelunga, Rome – 18/19 September
Rd4 – Monza, Lombardy – 30/31 October
Source. Marc Orme