Teenage racing driver from Harborough set to star on Top Gear

“It was such a huge thrill to meet presenters like Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff that I’ve watched on TV so many times"

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:22 pm
Harry Rice meets Top Gear presenter Chris Harris.

A gifted teenage racing driver from Market Harborough really is moving up through the gears after starring in a high-speed challenge on the track for cult BBC show Top Gear.

Harry Rice, 16, was picked out by talent spotters from aspiring starlets up and down the country to compete in the special Top Gear contest along with 11 close rivals.

And the elite young driver said he was thrilled to race in the must-watch BBC1 programme for petrolheads that he’s loved since he was knee high to a chequered flag.

“Taking part in Top Gear was a dream come true – it was like all my birthdays had come at once.

“I’ve watched Top Gear for as long as I remember.

“I always thought how great it would be to get the chance to appear in it,” Harry told the Harborough Mail.

“And then suddenly my Dad said I’d been asked to compete in this challenge for up and coming racing drivers all aged 16.

“I thought it was a joke at first, I couldn’t believe it was true!

“We were filmed racing each other at the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire.

“We competed in three races and it was amazing – I was blown away by the whole thing.

“It was such a huge thrill to meet presenters like Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff that I’ve watched on TV so many times.

“They were all good guys – and just the same off camera as they were on.

“I got along very well with Paddy, particularly, he was very energetic and so friendly to us all.

“I can’t say how well I did because the show hasn’t yet been screened.

“But I can say that it was a very special day that I’ll never forget.”

Starting out karting when he was just six, Harry was ecstatic to win a coveted place on The Motorsport UK Academy Enhanced Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) Programme at Loughborough College.

“It’s a two-year course set up to support young, talented drivers through both a sporting and academic pathway.

“I’m really enjoying it,” said Harry, who’s already notched up a string of awards and accolades.

His impressive rollcall of honour includes becoming the Junior Saloon Car Championship Scholarship Winner and a 2020 podium finish as well as top 5 finishes in the Junior Saloon Car Championship (JSCC).

Harry’s now gearing up to hit the start line in his snazzy 1.6-litre Citroen Saxo as this season’s championship prepares to hit top gear.

“We’re due to start at the end of April all being well.

“We’ll all participate in nine rounds with two races each at tracks all over the country,” said the brilliant Market Harborough teenager rated a “natural” behind the wheel.

“I think I’ve got a real chance of winning it this year.

“My goal is to become a paid works driver in the GT World Challenge racing GT3 and GT4 cars.

“If I can do that and break through to the highest levels of motor racing I really will be living the dream!”

Backed up by her partner Terry Rice, 60, Harry’s mum Lynda Walker, 39, told the Mail: “We are both so proud of Harry.

“Racing cars is his over-riding passion and first love.

“Harry really comes alive when he jumps in behind the wheel.

“We must have forked out a fair bit over the years ferrying him to races all over the UK – but it’s been worth every penny and every mile we’ve racked up.

“We moved here to Market Harborough from Esher in Surrey to be closer to Harry when he won a place at Loughborough College,” said Lynda, an NHS physiotherapy technician.

“He’s a fantastic racer, he keeps himself very fit and he’s supremely dedicated and committed to his sport.

“So we’ll keep on supporting Harry and cheering him on – and for him the sky really is the limit.”

You’ll be able to turn on and tune in to watch Harry racing in the Top Gear challenge on BBC1 on Easter Sunday April 4 at 8pm.

And you can follow and support Harry online and on social media at:

- Instagram:- harry_rice_racing_8

- Facebook:- harry rice racing #8

- LinkedIN: Harry Rice Racing 8 Rice