Fortunately she had a test session on Friday to help learn about both the car and the circuit.
Charlotte was able to test all day with her driver coach Adriano Medieros. Medieros had previously worked with 2016 JSCC champion, Katie Milner so Charlotte was in great hands. It was dry at Silverstone and this was her very first ever time in the dry in the car.
She set very good, consistent lap times all day which really helped to build her confidence up with the car and she was able to quickly learn the track.
On Saturday she had another opportunity to practice with a session before qualifying but on just the second corner of the first lap out, disaster struck when she had a collision with another driver who had spun on his new cold tyres. Charlotte had nowhere to go and was unable to avoid him. Her practice session was over before it even begun.
Her father Russell and the rest of the teams in her garage including Rodriguez, Bateman, Nanetti, Much and Kirkpatrick all helped out with repairs and worked tirelessly to fix the car within three hours. She was then able to get the car signed off by the scrutineer to allow her to take part in the Qualifying session. An incredible achievement by everyone when it looked like she might be out for the day only a few hours before.
She felt very nervous as she headed out after the earlier incident but she didn’t let it stop her. She put in some good lap times resulting in her finishing qualifying in sixteenth place for race one and an excellent fourteenth place for race two. Charlotte was really pleased with these positions for her very first ever qualifying session and she was comfortably head of several of the other rookie drivers.
Both races were on Sunday and the day was again dry and sunny. The first race got underway quite early in the day and she put in a strong, confident performance, racing and beating several rivals, including some driver returning for a second season. She really enjoyed her first race and was pleased she had managed to gain some places up the field.
The race was actually bought to a halt early by a red flag incident when a rival rolled his car, something Charlotte never looked like doing! The race was classified after eight laps, but by then, Charlotte had already managed to make it into twelfth place. She was really happy with the result, as was her mentor Adriano who had been racing just before and had returned in time to see Charlotte’s race. Charlotte actually felt that she could have possibly gained perhaps another one or two places if the race had run to it’s full distance. She was now feeling very confident and determined to break into the top ten places in race two.
She was eagerly awaiting the next race and was feeling excited in the assembly area. But unfortunately as she headed to the grid on the green flag lap it became clear something was wrong as once she stopped the car, it would no longer move. Whilst the rest of the grid started the race, Charlotte did not with the yellow flags waving all around her. Fortunately none of the rest of the field hit her as they raced away and poor Charlotte was pushed off the track by the marshalls. She was very disappointed and frustrated with the failure as she felt she could have broken into the top ten which would have been a stunning result for her first ever race weekend. But on reflecting on the weekend, all in all she had really enjoyed her first experience in the Junior Saloon Car Championship and she is already looking forward to Rockingham and is ready to improve her performance to try and push even higher up the field.
At this very early stage in her career, she is already starting to make herself noticed!