Charlotte began racing at the age of 13 and currently competes in the Rednal Summer Series. After an accident several years ago that could have been life-changing, Charlotte has fought back to be stronger than ever.
“I only truly discovered my passion for motorsport about six years ago. Even though I started karting at around the age of 10 years old, I just liked the thrill and speed. I think when I turned 14 is when my passion started to come through. I wanted to go to race meets like Formula One and BTCC more than ever, but I also wanted to compete more often.”
“Money was tight so I didn’t get to race that often. I think the whole passion side to motorsport came when I had my first podium finish with a team I was competing with in an endurance event. It was at that point that I really took an interest in my own racing as well as following the BTCC more than anything else. In BTCC I support Team BKR and Josh Cook. Oh, and Power Maxed as they are one of my amazing sponsors! In F1 I support Nico Hulkenberg.”
“My dad took me karting every now and then from the age of 10. I then started to go weekly to a track near Lichfield. Although he took more of an interest in bikes, I think secretly he enjoyed racing against me! I started to progress and take part in a lot of race meets across the Midlands and then joined a team where we raced in endurance championships. I then joined an all-women’s national team and moved to Two Stroke racing which is where I am now.”
“I’m currently racing in the Rednal Summer Series in Shropshire. It offers close to MSA racing in six classes. I’m racing in class 5, which is open class. I’m racing a Senior Rotax but I have an unsealed engine, so I’m classed as a modified engine racer where we race against other two-strokes including X30 and gearbox. My dad is also racing against me in the same class just like last year.”
It almost all went horribly wrong for Charlotte, who was involved in a serious accident while karting.
“I had an almost life-changing accident in April 2015. I was put into the tyre wall by a faster kart.”
” I was having problems with the engine and was at the back of the grid. This driver lifted the back of my kart and put me sideways into the tyre wall. I remember being knocked out and waking up to see my mechanic helping me out of the kart. The marshals carried on the race under green flags so we had a lot of karts coming very close to us. I had major back pain and severe pins and needles in my legs.”
“I was taken into the medical room where I started to not feel my legs and couldn’t move my neck at all. After around 10 minutes of sitting with ice packs on my legs and back, the circuit called for an ambulance because I had shooting pains in my back and couldn’t feel my legs. I was in A&E for over five hours after having around four different types of scans and morphine!”
“I was released on rest and could just about walk but with a lot of pain. I had to have physiotherapy for a long time and a little bit of hydrotherapy, but that was only having my legs in the water, not my entire body. I did a lot of strength work and wasn’t allowed to play hockey or race my kart for nearly four months which killed me!”
“I had to mechanic for my dad for one round which just didn’t help me, I started to feel depressed and wanted to get back into it. I want back a month early with a new kart and new mechanic and, touch wood, we’re doing a lot better than before.”
I asked Charlotte what she was most proud of, and who her heroes are.
“Just to be racing. But to be representing us women at my track too as I’m the only female there. I do have a junior female driver but she mainly competes somewhere else. It’s pretty awesome to be the only female on the track, and I’ve only met one man in this championship who treats me like a piece of dirt. The rest have accepted me and help me out where possible.”
“The acceptance I get is amazing, and to be flying the flag for women is a massive accomplishment. I love the sound of engines roaring, the feeling of being fast and just being able to race without a lot of sexism, certainly where I race.”
Looking ahead to the future, Charlotte is pursuing a variety of sports.
“Apart from my karting, I’m a field hockey goalkeeper for one of the UK’s most successful National level team with the possibility of moving up to what’s called the Investec League which is the top ten teams (I think) in England!”
“I’m happy with where I am at the moment as I’m looking at playing professionally in field hockey as a goalkeeper which I’m not far off doing currently. But, in a couple of years, I’d like to be racing competitively and full-time in Super One unlike now, where I’m testing with a team.”
“I’d love to drive a Ginetta G40. I’ve already done it once and loved it! I took part in the GRDC Scholarship last year (2015) for this season (2016). I was the only female on my day and one of three females to make it in the top 100 drivers!”
And finally, which motorsport legend would Charlotte like to interview?
“Bernie Ecclestone. I’d just love to hear his views on the roles of women in motorsport in person. The media can sometimes twist what people think and say.”
Charlotte will be competing at Rednal Karting in Shropshire and testing at Super One circuits, including Whilton Mill and Glan Y Gors.