Shanel Drewe – Setbacks won’t hold her back

Shanel racing at Brands Hatch (Phil Laughton Photography)

Shanel racing at Brands Hatch (Phil Laughton Photography)Shanel Drewe has had a challenging couple of race meetings recently in the Junior Saloon car championship (JSCC)

with issues at both Donington and Brands Hatch but she’s hoping to bounce back at the next rounds held at Croft circuit in North Yorkshire.

An intense JSCC calendar during the spring which has seen five races over a nine week period has placed considerable strain on small family teams such as Shanel’s to keep the car up together.

This was compounded by a particularly difficult race for Shanel at Donington which ended up with Shanel in the circuit medical centre. In what turned out to be a weekend of being hit, including a knock under waved yellows, Shanel’s car was badly damaged but fortunately did no lasting damage to the driver! Shanel left this message on social media after the weekend;

“[I] Just wanted to say a massive thanks for all the messages and help from everyone after yesterday’s race. Thanks to all the marshals and medics who got me out of my car and to the ambulance nice and quickly. I am feeling better now, my back is a bit sore and bruised but I live to fight another day. We are analysing the car to see if we can get it back out for Brands hatch in two weeks, hope to see you all soon.”

In the two weekends that followed before Brands Hatch, Shanel’s team that just consists of her father and a good friend working on their driveway, worked flat out to get her car repaired. A donor Saxo was obtained for the many parts that were needed to get Shanel back on track. Every available hour was spent and the car was finished just in time for the Brands Hatch weekend.

Initially things seemed to be going well for Shanel at Brands Hatch. In the Friday test session, she got quicker and quicker with every lap and was soon within a few seconds off the front of the field, despite having no driver coach for the weekend.

Shanel at the top of Hailwoods Hill (Phil Laughton Photography) Shanel goes around Druids at Brands Hatch (Phil Laughton Photography)




By qualifying though, Shanel thought the car was down on power although the track has just been soaked by some heavy thunderstorms which disguised the issue somewhat. Shanel set some great wet times being in the top five, but the grid was set by the times in the first few opening dry laps.

Sadly by Sunday, the power issue manifested itself as a fuel flow issue, slowing her pace and leaving her to the rear of the field, and despite changing much of the system between races, she was lapped in both races. It was frustrating for Shanel as she knew her testing showed she had the ability if the car was competitive, and equally gutting to the team, following all their hard work to get the car ready in time. Despite this, Shanel was determined not to have a DNF, and persevered to the end which shows the spirit of the team. This is demonstrated in the opening laps of the first race, where excellent car control and defensive driving worthy of more experienced drivers enabled Shanel to stay ahead for a good number of laps of faster cars, and some excellent starts which even saw her make places in the opening corners.

Donor car used to fix Shanels race car

So next up is Croft. Shanel says that the team have just concentrated on hopefully solving the fuel flow issue, and perhaps have a little bit of a deserved rest. The plan is to simply enjoy Croft and use the extended summer break and relatively relaxed ending of the season to plan and prepare for the 2017 season.

With just two more race weekends left of Shanel’s season. The rollercoaster like circuit of Knockhill in Scotland is in September and the final rounds at Silverstone in October. Shanel hopes to end her debut season on a high.

By Marc Waller

Written by