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The trouble for Adam Smalley is there’s a long line of talent ahead of him bidding for the same future, including his Junior predecessor Harry King who is now racing in the Porsche Supercup F1 support series. Smalley needs an edge, but can point to how he has risen from humble roots as evidence that he already has it.

The dad-and-lad tale

Smalley’s story, admittedly, has been told countless times before, but still it’s a heartening one. He is from a family of “normal working people” in Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, where his father runs an MOT garage. A typical dad-and-lad racing adventure began in go-karts when Adam was eight and from first steps in a car park behind Blackpool airport he rose through the junior ranks, sacrificing the usual teenage social life to dedicate everything to motor sport. Success at British and European level was all well and good, but without a “massive financial background” how was he ever going to progress into car racing?

“It wasn’t until I was 15 that I saw Ginetta’s junior scholarship, so I applied,” says Smalley. “There were 60 applicants and they narrowed it down to 30 over two days. It was my first time driving a car. When I made it through to the final I was just happy to have another day in the car.” Into the final three and the scholarship was his. “That paid for my first full season in car racing.” Last year he conquered the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, another key platform for rising UK talent, then pitched for the Porsche Junior shootout. It was a similarly intense story: 80 applicants whittled down to 12; nerve-wracking interviews; one of four to be thrown into a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer at Silverstone, when all he’d known was front-engined Ginettas – then the “life-changing” news he’d won. The prize was £85,000 and plenty of behind-the-scenes support for a crack at the BTCC-supporting Carrera Cup GB.

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