- February 18, 1964
- United Kingdom
- Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
James Kaye is a British racing driver who gained most of his success in touring car races, recording three championship titles in the British Touring Car Championship. In 1992 and 1994, he was the BTCC Independents' Cup winner and then, in 2002, he won the BTCC Production class. He recorded almost 300 starts in the BTCC (exactly 296), but he didn't score an outright victory or podium.
James Kaye was born on February 18, 1964, in Harrogate, England. His father Peter was also a racing driver, he influenced James to start a racing career. James' younger brother Richard (born 1967) also became a racer.
1985 Uniroyal Production Saloon Car Champion
James debuted in the Uniroyal Production Saloon Car Championship in 1983, driving the Vauxhall Nova SR. In 1984, with the same car, he was the UPSCC Class D champion, scoring six class victories. Next year, in 1985, he became the overall Uniroyal Production Saloon Car Champion, still driving the Class D-spec Vauxhall Nova.
British Touring Car Championship debut in 1986
In 1986, James Kaye debuted in the British Saloon Car Championship, in the final season under BSCC name (BTCC started in 1987). He was driving Vauxhall Nova Sport at Brands Hatch, finishing in 17th place overall and the best among Class D drivers.
In 1987, Kaye took one more Class title in the Production Saloon Car Championship, driving the Class C-spec Volkswagen Golf GTI. In the same season, he participated in the Renault 5 Turbo Championship, finishing in second place.
Participating in various British competitions
Kaye returned to BTCC in 1988, participating in two races with Demon Tweeks' Volkswagen Golf GTI, at Silverstone and Oulton Park. He finished 15th at Silverstone and retired at Oulton Park. Next year, Kaye returned to Oulton Park with Demon Tweeks' BMW M3. It was his only BTCC race that year.
During 1988 and 1989, Kaye participated in different competitions, such as Renault 5 Turbo Championship, Honda CRX Championship or Ford Fiesta Championship. In 1991, he competed in the Production Saloon Car Championship with Honda Civic V-Tec.
Kaye was the Independent BTCC champion in 1992
Kaye returned to the British Touring Car Championship in 1992, participating full season for the first time. He was driving #11 Toyota Carina E for the Park Lane Racing in all fifteen rounds, finishing best in fifth place.
He finished 10th in the overall standings, being the best independent driver and winning the TOCA Challenge Cup for privateers, just three points ahead of Matt Neal.
One more BTCC privateers' title for James in 1994
In 1993, Kaye stayed with Park Lane Racing, driving the old Toyota Carina for their Junior Team. He finished 21st in the points. The next season was much better, as he became BTCC Independent champion again, driving the #29 Toyota Carina E for Enny Team Maxted. He was the best privateer in ten races, winning the title with a big advantage over Nigel Smith.
In 1994, Kaye traveled to Australia to participate in a few races with Toyota Carina, including Bathurst 1000. He shared a car with Greg Murphy. They finished 23rd overall and fifth in Group B.
Two BTCC seasons with Honda Team MSD
For the 1995 BTCC season, Kaye switched to another Japanese manufacturer, driving the #21 Honda Accord for Honda Team MSD. That year, one of his rivals was his younger brother Richard, who debuted in the BTCC driving the Ford Mondeo Ghia for the Mint Motorsport.
James Kaye stayed with Honda Team MSD for two seasons, finishing 18th in the points in 1995 and 12th in the points in 1996.
A season with Saleen Mustang
In 1997, James left BTCC and switched to GT racing, joining the Saleen-Allen Speedlab team in the FIA GT Championship and British GT Championship, participating in GT2 class with Saleen Mustang.
In October 1997, James Kay and John Cleland participated at Bathurst 1000 with factory-entered Vauxhall Vectra, but they retired early in the race.
2000 – BTCC return with Barwell's Honda
In 1998, Kaye debuted at 24 hours of Spa, driving the Honda Integra Type R for Honda Sport Belgium, finishing in 8th place. He returned to Spa in the next two years with Honda Accord, retiring in both races. At 2000 Spa 24h, Kaye's team was Barwell Motorsport, which was also his team in BTCC return in 2000.
He scored eight wins in Class B, finishing the championship in second place of Class B standings, four points behind Alan Morrison. In 2001, the results were similar. Kaye scored five wins in the Production class (renamed Group B) and finished again as a runner-up, losing a title to Simon Harrison.
2002 BTCC Production class champion
For the 2002 BTCC season, James Kaye joined Synchro Motorsport to drive the brand new #52 Honda Civic Type R. With five class wins, he finally captured the championship title, becoming the best Production Class driver in the UK.
Kaye was driving Synchro Motorsport's Honda Civic Type R for four more seasons, as an independent entry in a top class. In that period, his best result was the 11th place in the overall standings in 2004 and 2005. Among independent drivers, Kaye finished second in 2003 season, losing a title to Rob Collard.
Semi-retirement since 2007
At the end of 2006 season, Synchro Motorsports pulled out from the championship, leaving James Kaye without a ride. In 2007, he didn't race, participating in only one round of the FIA GT3 European Championship, driving the Ascari KZ1R GT3 for Team Berlanga in Dubai. His co-driver was Howard Spooner.
In 2008, Kaye had only one race in his schedule, participating at 24 hours of Silverstone, sharing his own Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X with Mark Lemmer and Jay Wheels. They finished in 25th place. In 2009, his only race was Britcar race at Brands Hatch with Barwell Motorsport's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
Two BTCC returns in 2010 and 2013
In 2010, Kaye returned to BTCC for the last two rounds of the championship, joining Barwell Motorsport to drive #46 Honda Integra Type-R at Donington Park and Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. His best result was the 9th place at Donington's first race.
Another return, with AmD Tuning.com team, followed in 2013. In four rounds, Kaye was driving Volkswagen Golf. For the sixth round, at Snetterton, he switched to Honda Civic. It's interesting that Kaye, although 49 years old, was eligible to score points for the freshly inaugurated Jack Sears Trophy, which is now an award for rookies.
Career continues with endurance races and TCR Series
In recent years, James Kaye participated with different teams in selected endurance races, such as 24h Barcelona, 24h Silverstone or 24h Dubai. His most notable result was the second place in SP2 class at 2015 Dubai 24h with MARC Cars Australia's MARC Focus V8.
In 2017, Kaye returns one more time to touring car racing, entering the 3-round TCR Middle East Series. He is driving Audi RS3 LMS for the CadSpeed Racing.