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Girl Racer: Hannah Chapman

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Celebrating the girls who are taking it to the boys

Age: 21

From: East Lothian, Scotland

Started karting: When I was 14

When was your first race? My first race was at an indoor kart track in Wakefield when I was 15. I was the only girl but for me that’s never been a problem. I see it as a good thing because the boys don’t expect you to be good so when you are it’s really satisfying taking them all by surprise and proving them wrong. Girls can be fast too! I was instantly taken by the sport and there was no stopping me after that first shot in a kart. I was addicted to the adrenaline, the speed, the feeling of being in control whilst pushing myself and the kart to the limit to be better than the others and from there I continued on to race in the British Schools Karting Championship, British Rental Kart Championship, the Elite Karting League and I’m soon to take part in the Dubai 24hr kart race.

What series you currently race in? Karting wise I had only previously raced in rental kart championships. I wanted to do MSA karting and tested a Senior Rotax kart at both Crail and Larkhall finding myself immediately on the pace however I had the opportunity to make the transition into saloon car racing and had to choose between karts and cars as I couldn’t afford both. I chose cars and now race in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup but still do the odd round in the Elite Karting League and have been asked to take part in a couple of 24hr karting events.

Have you won any races? I have won many races and hope to continue winning just as many more. There is no better feeling than winning. I think I’m going to need another windowsill to put my trophy collection on! A few karting wins that stand out for me was one in the BSKC where I won a race in the national finals with a colossal lead of 12 seconds! Another stand out win was at Whilton Mill where I became the first female in EKL history to win a race and I also recently took part in an all girls event with the Womens Karting Society where I won both my heats and the final.

How did you get into it? I got into karting randomly on a rainy day in the school holidays when I was 14. I had been watching the film Herbie and all of a sudden decided that racing was something I wanted to try so that’s when I was taken to my local kart track and discovered that for once I was actually really good at something especially after having had no previous experience. From the word go I found it exhilarating, exciting and extremely addictive. I have never ever been scared of it but I do always get a little nervous – but nerves are a good thing, they keep you on your toes and show you’re human. Karting for me was always fun fun fun but racing cars can be a bit more hard work at times, what with the battle to get the budget together during the off-season in order to keep doing what I love. Also the politics; I had never experienced politics before in the karting world and it has made life a bit harder for me this year but it’s all part and parcel of racing and I’ve learned a lot from it.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time? Had I chosen to stay with karting I would’ve switched from rental to MSA karting and would’ve hoped to see myself racing Super One. However cars is my chosen path now and in 5 years time I hope to have progressed further up the motorsport ladder getting closer and closer to my dream of racing in the BTCC.