Successful F1600 racer Nick Gilkes is in his first season of British slicks and wings racing this year after the British-Canadian teenager was confirmed as Hillspeed’s first driver signing for the 2022 season.
The 16-year-old, who became the youngest ever Toyo Tires Ontario F1600 Champion last year as well as winning the Canadian F1600 Championship, will graduate to slicks and wings racing for the first time. He is backed by Contest of Speed Sim Racing League and MIR Raceline USA.
Starting out racing when residing in Barbados during his childhood, Gilkes returned to Canada with his family and started to pursue motorsport more seriously in karting. Winning the 2016 Goodwood Kartways Novice Club title, he then added the Pfaff Kartsport Cup crown in 2018. The following year he was second in the US Grand Nationals in Indiana and in 2020 won the KartStars Canada Briggs Junior title as well as the Goodwood Kartways Junior Championship.
Graduating into cars last year, he won the Toyo Tires Ontario F1600 and Canadian F1600 crowns in a superb first season and was also ‘Rookie of the Year’ with 15 race wins. Travelling to the UK to take part in the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy, Gilkes gained 13 positions in the latter to net a top 20 finish.
As a former nationally ranked tennis player in Canada, the teenager comes from a very sporting family. Indeed, his sister Megan competed in the all-female W Series and in 2019 she became the youngest winner in the category’s brief history with victory in a non-championship race at Assen. In preparation for her racing in W Series, Megan tested with Hillspeed on a number of occasions, and now races in GB4 with the team.
The siblings’ father, Brent, raced pre-1974 Formula Ford cars in the eighties before graduating into British and European Opel Lotus. Nick’s paternal grandfather competed successfully in Mini Seven and Special Saloons in the 1960s and 1970s while Nick’s paternal grandmother was quick in her own right in Hillclimbing and Speed Trials action in the sixties.