Up and down to round and round
There must be something in the air, but 2018 seems to have a wind of change blowing through it with many of our drivers taking their careers and aspirations in new directions.
“Go Charlie” Martin is one such driver. No stranger to NGK Torque -we’ve been following her racing career for two seasons now even though, for us, Charlie was something of a departure because she wasn’t racing here in the UK but up the Alps in Europe. Did I say racing? It’s really more like hillclimbing in the Alps. And she’s been doing it with no little degree of success.
This last season saw her claim several podium finishes as she completed her migration to a new car, the Norma. Yeah we know strange name, but then again who would have thought of calling a car after someone called Trevor, but TVR did! But that aside the Norma has proved to be a flighty thing propelling Charlie ever upwards in her quest for speed.
As the season progressed Charlie’s alighted on several potential new challenges, because if there’s one thing that Charlie thrives on it’s a challenge. Tackling the mother of all hill climbs was where her attention had shifted. Located in the mountains of rugged Colorado, home to a certain Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak is indeed that mother of all hill climbs with a track that measures 12.42 miles, has over 156 turns and climbs 4,720 ft in the process. Now as these things happen, getting a car over there in time to make a run proved a hill too big to climb this year. But next year? We’ll see.
Meantime though Charlie’s attention had also been caught by yet another challenge. Taking a Norma on a longer run than her usual (normally measured in minutes and seconds). This time it was for a three hours mini endurance race at (yes you’ve guessed it) the mother of all endurance race tracks, Le Mans! It seemed maybe that was paving the way for her third and final challenge for the year. A full time return to circuit racing back here in the UK. This woman doesn’t stop does she?
So cue one very smart looking Ginetta GT5 and entry into the GT5 Challenge.
Oh, but before we head track side, there’s also another facet to Charlie we forgot to mention. TV stardom by way of her appearance in ITV’s Ninja Warrior where she became the first female contestant to beat the wall! We guess that makes it four challenges now.
Now back to the Ginetta and the GT5 challenge which is a step up in so many ways for Charlie. First and most obviously, she’ll no longer have the track to herself so from day one, things could get a bit crowded. Second, her sessions in the car will obviously be a lot longer so a raising the bar on a personal fitness level is another challenge (it’s that word again!).
Of course great for her (and us) is that the Ginetta Challenge shares BTCC and British GT championship race weekends. Which attracts of course TV coverage too. So the potential for greater exposure is higher than ever. And that of course is what every driver wants. A big audience to admire their talents.
Charlie’s season kicks off on the 31st March at Oulton Park. Needless to say we’ll be watching closely. As will several thousand others. Hopefully for all the right reasons she’ll be centre of attention in her NGK Ginetta. But please, don’t wave. She needs to concentrate on those other *!**?!! drivers taking her track space. Go Charlie!