Parker Chase is hoping to use the lessons learned in his rookie season of Pirelli World Challenge to propel him to success overseas, as the 16-year-old Texan sets his sights on the British GT Championship.
Chase was confirmed last week as part of Century Motorsport’s Ginetta G55 GT3 lineup, joining 2015 European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Charlie Robertson in the top class of the SRO-run championship.
The high school sophomore, who received his drivers’ license just three weeks ago, scored six podiums en route to a fourth place finish in the GTS championship last year, driving a GT4-spec Ginetta fielded by Performance Motorsports Group.
“Last year was a big learning year for us,” Chase told Sportscar365. “[It was the] first year in a GT4 car, professional sports car racing. Overall, there was a lot of learning to be done last year, and we’re still learning.
“Racecraft, how to earn people’s respect, everything… Just everything you need to know is pretty much what I learned last year.
“I think that carries over into this year in British GT. It’ll be interesting.”
Chase, who will be joined in British GT by his PWC teammate Harry Gottsacker, who will steer Century’s sister Ginetta GT3, said branching out to Europe has been on his radar screen for some time.
The 2016 PWC GTS Rookie-of-the-Year made the transition to car racing just two years ago after scoring multiple karting championships.
“Ever since I started racing when I was like 10, I always dreamed of racing in Europe and now it’s finally come true,” Chase said. “I’m really excited for it. I think it’s going to be a blast.”
Chase said the move from GT4 to GT3 shouldn’t be that big of a challenge, especially considering both cars are based on the same Ginetta G55 platform.
He’ll get his first experience in the G55 GT3 car later this month at the official British GT pre-season test and media day at Snetterton.
“It’s just a little bit bigger, a little bit wider, and obviously a faster car with more aero,” Chase said. “Overall, just more amped up.
“There’s probably going to be learning from Charlie and Harry, my teammate here, so I’ll just be learning from them. Me and Harry will be getting all their pointers on tracks, the car.
“It’s a lot of learning but we should be where we should be, up top.”
Chase will have a busy year ahead, not only returning to PWC for selected rounds, but juggling trans-Atlantic travel on top of his studies.
The teenager is set to compete in two additional PWC events this year in PMG’s Ginetta GT4, having kicked off the season with a podium finish on the streets of St. Pete.
“Luckily British GT is only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so we don’t have to do like we do here in World Challenge,” Chase said.
“I had to be here Wednesday, so I left Wednesday and had to miss [school on] Thursday and Friday.
“I’ll probably leave Thursday. I’ll miss about the same amount of school, but I think it’ll be hard.”
As for his future, Chase is keeping his options open, but is aware that time is on his side.
“Probably next year, British GT is still good with me,” he said. “I’m only 16 now, so I hope to be in some sort of endurance racing like World Endurance Championship or the IMSA series in the future.
“We’ll just see where it takes me.”