Racing into 2018: Rebecca Jackson aims high in new electric series
It happens every year; the hope that my racing plans will be finalised before Christmas so that I can announce them at the annual Autosport International show in January, which serves as the start of each season.
This however, is motorsport. Nobody ever said it would be easy and that drives and sponsorship will fall on your lap. The off-season is spent relentlessly driving up and down the country attending various meetings in a bid to secure enough sponsorship to be able to sign with a team which has accepted me on merit as well as what budget I can bring.
So I should be used to this game by now, and in a way I am and find it rather fun. For many it is quite a daunting task and possibly a hurdle too far to overcome in order to find their way to the grid. I, however, thrive on finding ways to work with a variety of companies in a joint effort to achieve their marketing goals for the year.
Racing is a business and if you over-deliver in business, more often than not clients wish to work with you again. That’s why Turtle Wax worked with me for three years and Corbeau are happy to supply another British-made bespoke racing seat for 2018.
Alongside this business mindset I am frantically hitting the gym with my trainer to ensure tip-top physical condition. Do this and the racing becomes that much easier.
So, what are my choices for this year? First up is a 650bhp Radical RXC in the Supercar Challenge, which will take us to circuits such as Spa and Zandvoort. There are two one-hour races at each meeting and I would be sharing the car with the owner.
The British-built Radical does 0-60mph in just 2.7 seconds. It is very close to a Le Mans prototype (LMP) in terms of car type and performance, so it will keep my toe in the water should another LMP opportunity arise. It was an emotional experience casting my eye over the same LMP3 model I raced at Le Mans when visiting the Ligier stand at Autosport International.
Next up is Audi TT Cup. It supports the huge DTM German touring car championship so the crowds will be massive, as will the names I’ll be lining up alongside. It’s also manufacturer-supported, which is appealing in many ways, but it’s also the most expensive and is the additional cost worth it to my sponsors and fans?
However, I would have the car to myself, there are two 30-minute races and the car is far less powerful than the Radical, with 310bhp. That said, an extra 30bp overtaking boost button will make the series thrilling for spectators.
My final choice for the year is jumping back into the Reiter Young Stars Championship with Reiter Engineering in a factory-built KTM GT4. The cars, although without as much downforce as the Radical, are blisteringly quick and competent, powered by a turbocharged Audi engine.
The prize for winning is a fully funded season in the globe-trotting Blancpain endurance series – that is an incredible prize.
Oneof the above will sit alongside a full season in EGT, the brand new electric GT Championship. I tested the car before Christmas and found it to be engaging and very enjoyable. The organisers had one last hurdle to overcome, which was passing the stringent FIA crash tests. In January this year, the Tesla Model S racer passed with flying colours and now the teams are busy building the cars for the debut race in July.
Thanks to competing in two championships, 2018 will be an exciting and busy year. For now, my focus is on securing the final parts of sponsorship agreements and selecting the right drive for 2018.