The Ginetta G55 GTA will smite every supercar on track south of a McLaren Senna
The GTA is the academy car, the big step before the full Ginetta GT4 car
All the biggest and best racing events in the UK happen, of course, at Silverstone. I've been travelling to the track since I was five years old, and thanks to the coolest of invites from Ginetta, 21 years on I'd be taking to the track for the first time.
Having had my first racecar experiences last year in a Radical SR1 and SR3, Ginetta's G55 would be my next bout of seat time. Specifically I'd been invited to drive the G55 GTA – the baby GT4 car – to give me a taste of what Ginetta customers feel when taking to a track in a full-fat GT4 machine.
I've completed a frightening amount of laps around Silverstone GP in a Bentley Speed 8 (on Project Cars 2, of course), so I was confident I knew my way around. But to give me an even greater chance of keeping it on the black stuff, I had LMP1 driver Charlie Robertson in the passenger seat to panic-grab the steering wheel when I would inevitably start turning in on a spanking-new Lamborghini GT3 car.
Taking to the track
The main thing to know about the G55 is that it drives just as it looks. The aggressive front lip, sharp louvres and prominent rear wing combine with the high-performance road tyre to give you a package that – once warmed up – is incredibly capable and confidence inspiring.
Turn 1 at Silverstone is an incredibly fast, fifth-gear right-hander which I feel in a Radical would take half a day of practice to reach any decent level of commitment. And yet within a couple of laps, I felt more than confident enough to downshift late and get the nose turned early, allowing me to feel for that moment just back from understeer, clattering the rumble strip and realising that even the entry-level downforce being created by this Ginetta would be a test of my current fitness levels.
The engine has a quintessential motorsport rasp to it; the Ford V6 (once found in the Mustang) has been reworked with a dry sump and some different cam timing, with around 300bhp being more than enough to launch the 1100kg GTA out of the corners.
Road-going supercars can talk about the odd bit of downforce here and there but there's absolutely no replacement for genuine motorsport aerodynamic trickery. Once you've gotten your head around it, even in small doses like the GTA, all you need is some confidence in the front end and a car like this immediately becomes an incredibly friendly companion, even around a track as physically demanding as Silverstone.
If I was 'supercar' rich...
This Ginetta is a car that will never win at top trumps or stand out in a paddock as much as a prototype racer or a brand new supercar. And yet it will demolish the lap times of virtually every supercar that would ever turn up to a track day, other than the crazy extreme stuff like a Senna or Valkyrie.
So if I was in a place where laying down a six-figure sum for a supercar to then take to a trackday wasn't an issue, I'd instead do what Harry Metcalfe calls 'Evo-nomics' and spend the £62,500 (+taxes) on the GTA, and spend the rest of the cash on a trailer and a fun, convenient towing vehicle like a B5 RS4.
That way, you spend the day out-braking, out-gripping and out-accelerating everyone all day in your plucky G55, using that racing DNA from the GT4 car a few steps up the ladder that will make the car seem bulletproof, manageable, and ultimately, rapid.
The baffling part
The speeds that the GTA can enter the different complexes at Silverstone makes it fantastically rewarding, but near the end of my day on track, I started to come to terms with the fact that this car is designed to race at these speeds, not just tackle a lonesome trackday.
Entering Copse Corner in fifth gear (and at a speed that you daren't look down to check) is a fantastic feeling, with the car complimenting you massively by keeping the rear end totally solid as you clatter the inside kerb and the front very gradually washing wide into the exit kerb, all in a frighteningly controlled manner. But I started to imagine what I'd be feeling if there was another Ginetta either side of me, with the room for error only being a matter of inches.
Ginetta has also given the green light to a GT Academy race series in 2021, allowing drivers to make the transition from track days to entry-level GT Racing
Driving a GT racing car at an event like the Nürburgring 24 Hours must be pant-wettingly nerve-wracking. But if I was to choose a machine the learn the ropes for such a race, I think the G55 GTA would be my first port of call.