Shropshire Star

Shropshire boy, 11, takes pole position over adults in GP challenge

When an 11-year-old Shropshire boy took to the driver's seat nobody expected him to beat 1,200 racers of all ages from across Europe.


But Formula One fanatic Jed Norgrove shocked everyone at a race simulator competition at the Belgian Grand Prix when he scored unbeatable times, bagging him a VIP pit pass at the race.

Die-hard gamers from across Europe flocked to the F1 race simulator competition which was open to visitors at the Grand Prix – but nobody foresaw the challenge being won by a boy who couldn't even reach the pedals without make-shift padding.

Jed with Belgium GP winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia

Father Jason Norgrove, a firefighter, said the trip to the European Grand Prix was a late birthday present for his son.

He said: "He's been interested in Formula One from an early age.

"We try to go to one race per year. He plays these circuits on his games console and knows all the corners and straights and Belgium was one he wanted to see.

"We went to see the qualifying and he saw the Game Zone stand and asked if he could have a go."

Jed, from Craven Arms, first got in the driving seat in front of a big screen against eight others.

"If you achieve certain times they put you in an F1 simulator," Jason said, "it's suspended in the air with shock absorbers and you have head gear so you can feel what's going on.

"They had to wedge coats behind him because he couldn't reach the pedals. He did five laps in that and he qualified ninth."

He said staff at the competition were astonished that Jed's time had made the top 10 out of about 1,200 participants of all ages.

"All the staff who were running Game Zone were crowding round him taking pictures. There was only one English speaking member of staff and I asked him 'what's going on – is he good?'

"He said he couldn't believe it. He'd worked for Game Zone for five years and he'd never seen anything like it before.

"They were shocked an 11-year-old boy could come in and beat the adults," he said.

Due to Jed's remarkable time he was asked to return for a final race against the top players, and after starting third on the grid after a qualifying lap, stormed ahead to victory finishing a clear 4.2 seconds ahead of the rest.

His prize was two VIP paddock passes worth £2,000 each for the Grand Prix, where he got to meet Australian racing driver Daniel Ricciardo – who went on to win the race – among others.

Jason said: "My friend said to me 'You're always telling him off for spending too much time in his room playing these games, but you're not complaining now, are you?' – so that backfired a bit."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.