Last weekend will undoubtedly have a huge impact on Billy Monger’s life, but reports that he’s already practicing using the clutch on his steering wheel suggest his career is far from over.
In fact, it’s only just begun.
Like most young racers, Billy started racing in karts about 10 years ago. He started off in Honda Cadet racing and it wasn’t long before his name became familiar with the top positions.
The youngster made his way up through the ranks, taking two Super One British championship titles, a Henry Surtees Memorial Meeting win, and the Buckmore Park Chairman’s Cup. And, of course, learning all the skills he’d need to make his car racing debut in 2014.
Billy’s car racing career started in the Ginetta Junior championship, when he entered as a Privateer. Together with his father, Billy was planning to spend the year watching and learning from the more experienced teams, and showing just what he could do behind the wheel of a car.
In his first year, Billy took five top 10 finishes, and finished the championship 15th overall, impressing enough to earn a full time seat at JHR Developments for the 2015 season.
The teenager started 2015 as he meant to go on, a win in the very first race of the season, and was on course to make it two from two before he was pushed wide by Jamie Caroline late in the race.
Later in the season, Billy took his first Ginetta Junior pole position at Snetterton, and was unlucky to miss out on the win when Caroline found a way past him on the second lap. But there was no bad luck in the second race of the round, when he took his second win in car racing.
Over the course of the year, Billy took seven podium positions, including the two race wins, and finished fifth in the championship.
JHR continued to support Billy as he made his way into single seater racing, joining the British Formula 4 grid in 2016.
“At this stage of my career, I really wanted to get some aerodynamic experience in single-seaters, which MSA Formula provides the perfect opportunity for, whilst also keeping me on the BTCC package which attracts much needed sponsors,” Billy told The Checkered Flag after the announcement.
“JHR was always going to be my first choice to run with, they are determined and passionate, just like myself, and with the relationship I have built up with all of them in Juniors I couldn’t be in a better place right now.”
Billy was announced late in the preseason, and missed out on much needed track time, but he started the season aiming for podiums.
The first podium came at Thruxton, when Billy started the race 18th. On the very first lap, Billy made his way up to 11th. Multiple safety car periods halted his progress as he made his way up through the field but, by lap eight, Billy was in the podium positions. He held onto third for the final three laps, and took his first podium of the year.
Race three of the weekend, Billy managed to go one better. It may not have taken quite as much climbing, with Billy starting just a tad higher on the grid (fifth), but the race involved plenty of battles. He finished second, behind Devlin DeFrancesco.
Billy took one more podium later in the season, a third place at Rockingham, to finish 12th overall in the championship.
This year, Billy signed up for the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. The competition, designed for those working on a lower budget or younger drivers, would see drivers compete at seven races, including Brands Hatch and Knockhill. In the first two rounds of the championship, Billy took cup wins in all four races he finished, taking two overall podiums in the process.
The accident at Donington Park will change a lot of things, but we’re sure Billy will continue with the strength and determination that he’s shown throughout his motorsport career so far. And we wish him all the luck in his future career.
Image credit: Caroline Rhea