CATCHING UP WITH: LYDIA WALMSLEY - MINI CHALLENGE

CATCHING UP WITH: LYDIA WALMSLEY

We sat down with Cooper driver, Lydia Walmsley to find out about the past, present and future as she reaches her third season in the MINI CHALLENGE.

How is 2020 working out for you so far?

I think 2020 has been very strange for all of us. The Corona virus has absolutely turned everyone’s lives upside down so I am very grateful to even be racing at all this year! We completed a couple of track days for pre-season testing but my time was relatively limited in comparison to most so we are obviously so overjoyed to have been straight on the pace at the first round of the season! I have welcomed some new sponsors on board this season and also maintained great relationships with my existing sponsors.

How did you get into motor racing? Was it something your family was already part of?

I have always grown up around motorsport. My dad has raced on the oval circuits since I could remember so as soon as I showed an interest at seven years old, I jumped in a gokart at Buckmore Park.

What are you racing ambitions?

I would love to reach the British Touring Car Championship. It has been an ultimate goal of mine since I can ever remember and something I am striving for! One of the reasons why I was so excited to be racing on the TOCA package this year was the fact that MINI CHALLENGE would be supporting the BTCC. Just to see a Touring Car drive by on a race weekend is so surreal and it’s somewhere I definitely hope to be in a few years time. I’d also like to make my career out of motorsport. I’m hoping to get an ARDS Instructor’s licence shortly (as soon as the courses re-commence due to Corona Virus) so I can sit on the other side of the car and I’m also looking to get involved in the media side of motorsport too!

What’s your most memorable race?

My most memorable race has to be the final race of the 2019 season at Snetterton. I had visited every step of the podium twice that season at four different circuits but hadn’t quite managed to make that breakthrough onto the top step yet. It was something that was a long time coming but one of those things that is almost in your grasp but you can never quite reach it. It got to the final race of the year and I was starting on pole position. I remember sitting in the assembly area thinking: ‘This is my shot’. I remember getting my best start of the year (what a time to do it!) and managed to pull a gap on the first lap. The train of six cars behind managed to catch up in the slip stream and I couldn’t hold the gap for long. However, despite some fierce attacking from Robbie Dalgleish, Toby Goodman and Dom Wheatley from behind and a rain shower, which made the circuit pretty treacherous on the final few laps on slick tyres, we managed to win the race. I will never forget that moment of seeing the chequered flag, I have never been so relieved to actually stop racing! It was amazing – hopefully we can recreate that moment again very soon.

What do you like most about racing in the MINI CHALLENGE?

The thing I love about the MINI CHALLENGE is that there’s a very clear ladder to where I’d like to end up one day. As I’m currently competing in the Cooper class, the next logical step is the JCW class. Although it will be a massive learning curve, hopefully it’s something I get to compete in very soon! I’ve been told they are just like a mini Touring Car which I think would be great practice and preparation to hopefully one day be racing a BTCC car!

Who is your racing hero?

Jenson Button – for me, the way a racer behaves off track is as important as the behaviour on track. Jenson optimizes how I feel we should all behave. He was always gracious, complimentary about his team and had time to talk to everybody even when things were not going the way he would have wished.

 

You can watch Lydia in action this weekend (19 -20 September) from Thruxton Race Circuit which will be aired on ITV2 on the 20th September.