But a week after it was announced that due to a scrutineering issue with engine seals, several drivers including Katie would be excluded from the results. Katie’s team have launched an appeal but she headed to Silverstone with only a slender lead.
Despite her disappointment, Katie remained calm going into the weekend;
“I’m chilled about Silverstone, no point getting worked up! I need to go out and prove a point!”
Silverstone would be held on the Saturday only plus the usual day of testing on Friday.
Testing was especially important for Katie this time as she had to miss this round last season leaving her considerably less experienced on the track than her rivals. She had some time on a simulator before the weekend but there’s no substitute for actual track time in your own car. Things seemed to go well and Katie was all set for race day.
First thing was qualifying and things didn’t go according to plan. Various issues including traffic left Katie fifth on the grid for race one and a disappointing ninth for race two.
There was nothing that could be done now so Katie just looked forward to the races where she hoped to charge up the field as she has done several times this season.
The first race ended up wet as a heavy rain shower started while they left the assembly area. Within a short period a large amount of water covered the circuit. But the race start went ahead and Katie made a good one. Already up into fourth through the first corner she looked to move higher when a rub from one of her rivals nearly sent her car into a spin. Fortunately Katie’s lighting reactions saved the day and she managed not to lose a place. Unfortunately though she was nudged again going into the next corner losing her four places and she dropped to ninth.
The wet weather then started causing her another problem as her windows quickly misted up. It was difficult for her to even see the front of the car never mind the rest of the circuit. With other Saxo’s spinning and sliding off everywhere around the circuit, it was a challenge for Katie to be able to keep it on track never mind catching the cars ahead.
But she kept going and didn’t spin, unlike many of the field, taking ninth place. Not ideal for the championship but under the circumstances it was the best she could do.
Fortunately by the time race two started the rain had stopped and the circuit was dry. Katie would be starting ninth and so one of her strong starts would be crucial. The only way she would have a chance at the championship would be to finish as high up as possible and ahead of main rival Zanetti.
As the lights went out, Katie did indeed make one of her great starts and with a great first lap she found herself in the battle for fifth. On the next lap though, things nearly ended in disaster for her.
Two rivals clashed right in front of her. The impact sent them sliding across the track straight towards Katie. With some quick reactions and a bit of luck she avoided the two cars as they went heavily into the barriers. This left Katie fifth but the red flags came out to deal with the accident.
Katie was frustrated to be stopped just as she was making progress but relieved not to be involved in the shunt herself.
The restart grid would be based on the finishing order when the red flags came out rather than the grid from the original race so Katie could keep the benefit of her hard work.
As the race got underway once more she found herself in fourth with rival Zanetti in front of her. If she was to have any chance at all of the title she would need to pass him.
She closed onto his tail and then made her move and streaked past into third. Up ahead her team mate Ollie Wilmot was battling with Ethan Hammerton for the race lead.
“I thought about staying behind them, but they were going too slow for me as I needed to keep ahead of Zanetti.” She said afterwards. It was the final lap and going into the final corner she was right behind them as they both slid wide. Katie saw her chance and went for the gap on the inside of her team mate. She made it through and now the only thing ahead of her was the chequered flag and the race win!
Her many supporters who had travelled to Silverstone for the final event went crazy, making so much noise that it drowned out the sound of the engines.
Katie pulled into parc ferme to huge cheers. She jumped out of the car and into huge celebrations.
“That was an amazing race. When I saw them going wide on the last corner, I had to go for it. I wasn’t sure if it was the last lap and I was really happy to see the chequered flag.” She commented afterwards. “Thanks to all my friends and supporters for coming to cheer me on, it means a lot. Thanks also to my sponsors, Nimbus Motorsport,
Autocool radiators, Merlin international, Myprotein and Richardson transport, I really couldn’t do this without them. It’s been an amazing year.”
And next year?
“I’m not sure yet, there’s lots of options it depends on funding.”
Unfortunately as things stand, even the win in race two wasn’t enough to give Katie the title with Zanetti finishing in third. But things are still provisional until the appeal on Knockhill is heard. Whatever happens, Katie still has her records from this year; She’s the first female ever to win in Junior Saloons (Or Sax Max as it was previously known) and she has the most wins in a season of any female junior driver.
Whatever happens, one thing is clear, Katie certainly proved her point winning at Silverstone! By Marc Waller