Teenage Northern Irish motorsport star Daniel Harper will return to the Ginetta Junior Championship this season, with an outright title challenge his number one objective as he continues his successful partnership with Douglas Motorsport.

The 16 year old from Hillsborough will compete on the hugely popular Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support package for a second season, following a truly sensational maiden car-racing campaign in 2016.Harper headed into his debut season as the latest winner of the coveted Ginetta Junior Scholarship competition, earning himself a fully-funded season in a Ginetta G40J – an opportunity he would take full advantage of with the leading Douglas Motorsport squad.

A stunning performance on only his second car-racing weekend at Donington Park would set the tone for the season ahead, with Harper securing a hat-trick of overall podium finishes including a tremendous breakthrough victory in the final encounter.

With that success under his belt, Harper would go on to record four more outright top three results with podium doubles at Croft and Snetterton – the latter including a stunning second race victory of the campaign.

It wasn’t just outright success that Harper was achieving, as he quickly established himself at the head of the Rookie Cup field. Fifteen class podium finishes, including no less than six victories, would guide him to a richly deserved title victory.

Harper has since been working hard with his family, team and sponsors over the winter to secure the backing required to return to the series this year and mount a challenge for the overall championship title.

Once again, the Ginetta Juniors will race in support of all ten BTCC weekends across the length and breadth of the country, with average trackside crowds of over 35,000 per weekend and millions more viewers watching the action live on ITV4.

The 2017 season kicks off next weekend (01/02 April) at Brands Hatch in Kent, a circuit close to Harper’s heart having been the scene of his championship debut twelve months ago, and then also his crowning as Rookie champion back in October.

Daniel Harper: “After a very long and anxious wait over the winter, I couldn’t be happier to be back on the Ginetta Junior Championship grid in 2017. I really cannot wait to get the racing started again.

“Although I’ve missed out on some vital pre-season testing, I truly believe myself and the Douglas Motorsport team can really challenge for the title this season. I will be giving it everything I have and I won’t give up until the last lap of the final race.

“Coming back with Douglas Motorsport gives me confidence straight away, as I know the team and I know I will always have the best possible car underneath me. Brands Hatch can’t come quick enough!”

Wayne Douglas, Team Principal: “Its great to have Daniel back on the team for another year. He showed in his rookie year what a talent he is and we expect Daniel will build on his success from last year to challenge for the outright title in 2017.”