She passed the test and came 13th out of 15 in the British Ginetta Juniors at Knockhill.
Other challenges followed. Despite having never done any karting, she came second in class in her first full Scottish series – driving a Triumph TR8 in the Classics. Then she tried the BMW Compact Cup before tackling her first UK series last year. She came fourth in class in the VAG Trophy and is now back for a tilt at the title. Christie has joined Girl Racer as a columnist to give an insight into how the season is panning out….
WHEN I was at school I spent most of the term time wishing for the holidays. Then I spent most of the holidays wishing they could last all year.
How times change. We have just had the mid-season break in the VAG Trophy and it took just days before I was growling like a bear with a sore head.
It was as if I was suffering withdrawal symptoms because the racing had ended. Tight budgets meant we could not spend the break testing the car so I just had to sit and wait…and wait…and wait.
So what do you do? Well, I spent a lot of time at the gym at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel in Falkirk. I did a lot of laps on Project Cars and we continued the seemingly endless search top boost the budgets.
But still the weeks dragged. The saving grace came from an unexpected source. The Murray Motor Group sells high performance cars and were having a track day for the new Zenos E10 S sports car at Ingliston. The plan was for journalists to be taken on a few hot laps. My dad works for The Scottish Sun and got the guys at Zenos and Murray Motor Group to agree to let me have a few laps.
The car looks incredible, has stunning performance especially when you consider it starts from £26,995 and I loved it. It is rear-wheel drive, has no mod cons like ABS, traction control or even power steering. It is how cars are supposed to be driven and was a blast back to my first races in a Triumph TR8.
I impressed the Zenos driver enough to let me go out on my own, then took Belmont Group Operations Director Duncan Cunningham for his first real taste of the car his Murray Motors Group would be selling in Scotland. We went for it. Lots of wheel screeching and torque charges. The look on his face suggested he knew his firm had a winner on their hands.
I must have done something right because he asked me back to drive at the World of Supercars event at Knockhill. It was very wet and we were surrounded by cars that had all those mod cons.
It was my first time back on track at Knockhill for two years and there was no grip for the E10 S but it was brilliant fun. We were sliding everywhere and ok, we had one spin…but that was it. The car ran faultlessly. I would love to do it all again.
The racing has finally returned and we had another challenge. Slidesports Race Engineering had the car in perfect condition but I was going to be a little rusty and we were on the Brands Hatch GP circuit – one I had never done before.
We were not able to test before race day so the first laps would be my qualification laps. I needed help so turned to the World Endurance Championship guys at Strakka Racing. They put me in their simulator at Silverstone and engineer Brad Appleton worked through a programme that boosted my knowledge and confidence.
He broke down each corner and each sector then we had a full lap that gave me a picture in my head. I arrived at the Kent track feeling good. We tested on the Indy circuit on Friday and, apart from a blow-out going down Paddock Hill, I was delighted with the car and how I was shaping up.
Qualification blew my mind. What a track. I loved the flow and the momentum. I loved the speed that you had to carry through the corners and I loved the fact that I qualified second – just a second behind seasoned campaigner Simon Tomlinson.
But Slidesports boss Mark Jenkins reckoned there was still more to come. He was adamant I could find another second at least and urged to keep pushing. He even knew the corners where he felt I was losing time.
He was right. I found the time but made a couple of mistakes in the race that cost me a first or second-place finish so I had to settle for third. I knew I could do better in the second race and was right on the tail of the front two when the race was red-flagged. It all meant two third places but we are back in action and it all gets a bit hectic.
We are out in front of a big crowd at Snetterton next. I can’t wait. By Christie Doran
Follow Christie at facebook.com/christiedoranracing or on Twitter: @RacingCd