The show doesn’t actually feature a women in motorsport day, (There’s an idea, show organisers!) but today almost felt like one as there were many awards and announcements featuring female drivers.
After her announcement of racing in Britcar for 2018; Alice Hughes today announced a new sponsor; Gala Performance.
“I’m extremely excited to announce our new partners for 2018, Gala Performance. They are the UK’s newest one-stop shop for high quality motorsport supplies. Ranging from Garage Flooring, Motorsport Awning, Pit Wall and Racewear, they’ll be sure to keep you, and your brand, looking bang on trend for 2018.”
Former British GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick was on the main stage to talk about her season in F3 in 2017 and her plans for 2018.
“We’ve not got anything confirmed yet. There are a few options. Obviously I’d be happy to continue in British F3 as I feel I’ve got unfinished business there. I’d be happy to do something in Sportscars too.”
Richardson Racing announced the signing of two female drivers. First up was Charlie Martin who has agreed a deal to race in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge. Martin had previously had success in hill climbing and is now looking to have similar success in circuit racing.
Emily Linscott also signed with Richardson Racing to drive a Ginetta G40 but this time in the junior championship. Linscott joined the Ginetta Junior championship late last season and did the final three races. In that time she impressed with her attitude both on and off track as well as her huge determination. She hopes Richardson Racing will be the team to give her the boost she needs to compete right at the front. Linscott has only been racing for two seasons; She only began Karting in 2016 but was immediately on the front running pace. If she continues at the same rate of progress, we could be looking at a future star. The Richardson Racing deal wasn’t the only good news for Linscott today, more on that later!
The BWRDC held their annual Goldstars awards this year. Having dropped to just a single award last year, 2018 sees the two separate categories of award. Goldstar Club is for drivers who are competing for fun, Elite is for drivers trying to make a career out of racing.
The Club Nominees were Charley Sayer-Payne (From Rallying where she has had lots of success as a Co driver), Elen Worthington (From Sprinting where she was runner up in two championships in 2017).
Maria Bright (A Karting champion), and Sasha Heriot (Also from Rallying where she drives and co drives)
The Elite Nominees were Abbi Pulling (Multiple Kart champion at the age of 14), Sara Williams (Who rallies a Clio in Europe) and Nabila Tejpar (Another Rally driver with several successes.)
The awards were presented by Michael Simpson in charge of Sales at Ginetta as well as being one of their factory drivers. The winners were Elen Worthington and Sara Williams. Worthington and Williams have both one Goldstar awards previously.
As well as the trophies, the award consists of various other benefits, including a test session at an MSV circuit and Fireproof underwear from Walero.
Although Abbi Pulling wasn’t successful at the BWRDC, she did pick up her prizes for winning the Super One Karting Junior TKM championship at a ceremony on the Super One stand.
The awards continued elsewhere at the show as Downforce Radio announced their annual awards. Female racers won in multiple categories; Georgia Shiels won Off road Racer of the year for her achievements in Rallycross. Heather Calder won national Racer of the year after becoming the first female ever to win an MSA Sprint championship.
But the best result in the awards came in the Henry Surtees Junior racer of the year award when the entire top three in the award were presented to female drivers. Fiesta Junior driver Jamie Lea Hawley was third, Clio Roadsport runner up Shanel Drewe was second and the winner was Emily Linscott. The awards were decided mostly by public votes.
Also visiting the show today was the inspirational Izzy Weall the quadruple amputee we told you about last year who is about to take on the phenomenal task of becoming a racing driver. Her Simulator and prosthetics that she will use to drive are currently in the progress of being made. By late January they should be complete and Izzy will begin her education on how to drive a racing car with the support of Team Brit. We will try and keep you updated on this incredible fourteen year old. Izzy had never been to the Autosport show before and used the opportunity to meet other female racing drivers including Abbi Pulling.
Also at the show today was Charlotte Birch from Junior Saloons. Her car is currently being rebuilt by her small family team and she will be aiming for success in her final year of junior racing although it will be only her second season in Motorsport.
As well as all of this, there were plenty of star drivers around the show, with several BTCC stars being interviewed on the Motorsport News stand which celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the championship. Nigel Mansell was interviewed on the main stage and spoke about his career;
Firstly about Lotus where he made his F1 debut;
“Colin was like a second father to me,” Mansell explained. “I was a qualified engineer so we spoke the same language. He was such a marvellous man, very charismatic and so clever. It was a huge shame that he died so young, I would have certainly stayed at Lotus otherwise.
He spoke about his favourite period which was in the Turbo cars of the eighties
“You had upwards of 1,500bhp, wheelspin in sixth gear at 170mph+. They were absolute beasts, always trying to throw you off the circuit. The turbo lag was so much that you could count one, two, three before the power chimed in. If it came in before you wanted it, you would spin off into the wall.”
He also spoke about his time at Ferrari where he was the final driver signed to the team by Enzo himself before the Ferrari founder’s death in 1988. He did some road car development for the famous manufacturer and was very well rewarded;
“The generosity of the Ferrari team was fantastic. They wanted me to help develop the Testarossa road car. I drove it on the circuit and told the engineers to soften the front suspension. Two weeks later a brand new Testarossa arrived on my drive.”
The other notable event today was the COYS auction of racing and classic road cars. Highlights of the sale included a 1993 Ferrari F40 Michelotto LM Specification (it sold for £850,000), a 2005 Mercedes CLK DTM (one of only 40 RHD examples, it sold for £200,000), a 1996 Porsche 993 Turbo X50 (£150,000), a 1975 Ferrari 365 GT4/BB (£270,000) and a 1957 Austin A35 HRDC Race Car, recently driven by Sir Chris Hoy at Goodwood (£24,000).
Sunday is the final day of this year’s show and tickets are available at the NEC. By Marc Waller