Hi Abbie, Can you give us an overview of your career so far? Your biggest successes?
I’ve raced for 15 years now, starting in karts aged 10 and then after 4 years moving into cars. My first racing car was a Saxo which I raced in the Junior Saloon Car Trophy for a couple of years finishing 3rd. I then moved into the Production Touring Car Trophy in 2009 and won the Class B Championship with 15/18 wins.
After that I had a few years with the odd race here and there in Mazda Mx5 Cup due to budget restraints, before doing a full season in the Mazda Mx5 Supercup championship in 2014. This has to be the biggest success of my career so far and also the most fun (now I can look back on it, at the time it was a little bit stressful).
I won the championship after a really really competitive season, full of so many highs and lows with the last round being the biggest emotional rollercoaster ever. It should have been an easy last round, I pretty much just needed to finish both races but my power steering and engine failed in Race 1 which meant I started from the back in Race 2 with an untested engine out of a smashed up road car that we got from the salvage yard down the road.
Thankfully the engine was ok (all be it a little slow!) and I managed to drive from the back up to 4th place, before being hit off by a fellow ‘competitor’. Thankfully I managed to still win the championship by 1 point, phew! Took a while to recover from the emotions involved.
You drove Monza for the first time last month, did it live up to expectations and just how different was it driving a Ferrari around there to what you are used to?
It was such a brilliant experience. Something I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do if I’m honest. The car was unreal! The downforce on a GT3 is much greater than that of a GT4 that i’m used to driving so I had to really force myself to brake much later and carry speed around the corners much more than usual. Monza is a fantastic track, I didn’t really get a long time in the car or on the circuit so there’s lots to learn when I return! I’m actually on the flight to the circuit now so I better swat up after doing this!
What are the highlights of your career so far?
Highlights of my career so far are winning the Mazda Mx5 Supercup, securing the Ferrari Blancpain drive, and I also really enjoyed driving at Silverstone last year in British GT in the pouring rain – poor weather conditions are my favourite, that’s when you can tell who can drive, and who is riding on a decent car/setup.
What advice would you give young racers out there?
Be realistic about what you want to achieve and the tools you have to do so too, but also don’t be deterred from your dreams if it’s something you really want to do and you have the determination and passion to pursue it. It’s not an easy sport and it unfortunately revolves around money a lot which is a shame, but that’s just the way it is and always has been. It’s very easy the higher up you go to forget to enjoy what you’re doing – I’m guilty of this, and sometimes I have to pinch myself and remind myself of the fantastic opportunities i’ve had, friends I’ve met along the way and memories I’ve made.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambition has always been to be a works driver for a manufacturer, what could be better than travelling the world to all sorts of tracks, racing for a brand that believes your the best person for their brand. Awesome.
Who has been the most influential person in your career so far?
The most influential person involved in my career so far has probably been my Dad, he was the reason I got into Motorsport in the first place through being at circuits supporting him right from the word go. Well maybe not supporting at first, more just sitting in a nappy crying and being a nuisance, but once I got older and could understand what was going on, I got the racing bug straight away. Him and my mum are my number 1 supporters and my biggest fans.
Another person I’d like to mention is my main sponsor and family friend, Mike Oughtred. He has supported me from day 1 and without his input I wouldn’t have had half of the opportunities I’ve had. He’s like another racing Dad and I know he’s as proud of me as if I were his daughter too. Hopefully If I achieve what I want to achieve in motorsport then I’ll be able to repay him back for all of his help.
“With hard work and determination comes success.”
In terms of a person or athlete in the spotlight, I really admire Jenson Button for how he conducted himself both on and off track. I’d really like to replicate his humbleness if I ever got to the level of racing he did too.
Where do you feel you have advantages over your racing rivals?
I think a big advantage I have over a lot of my rivals is that through not having an abundance of budget I have always been ‘on the back foot’. Having little testing and having lower level of equipment meant I had to drive twice as hard and be twice as assertive on track to get to the level I did. I’ve never had a drive coach and have been all self taught, all be taking the opportunity to ask the right people the right questions and soak up all the knowledge I could! (And still do!!!)
If there was one thing you would change about Motorsport what would it be?
I would change that motorsport is so money dependent and go back to a time when talent came before money. Nowadays it’s all about who can bring the most wonga to the table.
With hard work and determination comes success.
We’d like to wish Abbie good luck this weekend at Monza. She will be blogging her whole weekend via Instagram stories! Follow her @AbbieEaton44!
Author: Clerk of the Course
The Clerk of Junior Torque. Administrator, Editor and Dictator!