Charlie Martin: Preparing for Beaujolais

Beaujolais - Charlie Martin - Silverstone

 

After the dramatic events at St. Gouëno, Charlie Martin was hoping for a relaxing week before the next round of the Championship at Beaujolais. Here she talks us through the past few days…

It’s been an action-packed few days since I made it home safely from St. Gouëno. Things didn’t start too well as the van needed a new roof hatch after I tore the old one off on a tree, (I’d managed to tape it shut but with limited ventilation inside the living area I need every bit of airflow I can get as I had south for the next phase of the championship!)

Last season we had temperatures well over 40 degrees at Vuillafans, and so I’ve also invested in a little fan to keep me cool at night. I vacuumed and swept quite a bit of sand out of Herve too as he was looking particularly ‘lived in’ following a 10 day séjour.

Charlie Martin - Beaujolais

 

On a positive note I finally bit the bullet and sourced a powerful new 12A battery charger from Ring that not only performs a whole array of functions from testing to charging, but it also features a big backlit display to tell you exactly what condition your battery is in which is really helpful!

As a further precaution I stripped the starter motor off the car and took it (along with the spare) to be checked in case this was also partly to blame for the issue I was experiencing at St. Gouëno. Both were fine, but in removing the diffuser and poking around I noticed that the exhaust has been rubbing on the drive shaft; which is worrying. I tilted it round which left a gap where the two sections join and this could in turn cause a loss of back pressure (and power) so I bought some special tape and tested it to check for any blowing.

With this final job done I loaded up for the final time as from now on I’ll leave everything in France until driving home at the end of the season. While this makes life easier from a travel point of view, it means that I now have very limited time to work on the car between races, which means it’s more important than ever to keep it on the black stuff and away from the barriers.

Beaujolais - Charlie Martin

A special few days at Silverstone

Now it’s not often I get a chance to visit a circuit when I’m not racing, but in a break from the norm I’ve been to Silverstone twice in the last three days!

The first visit was with Dare to be Different, the fantastic initiative launched by Susie Wolff and the MSA at Autosport in January tasked with encouraging more women into motorsport. The focus is not only on drivers but all areas of the industry from engineering to media, encouraging young girls through a series of events with mentoring provided by inspirational women already working within the profession.

This was the first networking or ‘connecting’ event as Susie preferred to describe it, and it was hosted at the British GT race weekend. I’ve been excited for weeks in the build-up and enjoyed the day immensely, and really enjoyed speaking with a number of people including TV presenter Louise Goodman who gave me some invaluable advice.

Susie Wolff speaking at Silverstone, Dare to be Different

There was a very encouraging atmosphere which helped create the perfect environment to mingle and chat with people of all ages, I can’t wait for the next event and strongly advise any ladies out there to have a look at their website and the things they’re doing.

I was back at Silverstone again on Tuesday to visit the Porsche Experience Centre where I spent the day sampling a variety of cars on everything from tarmac to ice and off-road courses.

Porsche have a fantastic facility on site with their own dedicated tracks that allow clients to experience either their own cars or those from the current range on changing surfaces and conditions. With more freedom to explore the cars’ handling and features, it’s a perfect way to try out the vast array of specs and options as well as being shown how to safely tackle things like an icy section of road or what to do if the rear wheels loose traction while cornering at speed.

For me the highlight was driving the latest generation turbo charged 911 on the handling circuit. The 4S has to be one of the quickest cars I’ve ever driven (my instructor politely asked me to take it easy…) especially with the PDK gearbox although I do like the manual as it offers the chance to heel and toe into hairpins!

Porsche GT4S - Charlie Martin at Silverstone

A high speed ride in the new Cayman GT4 on the low friction surface put a gigantic smile on my face, too, and to top it all off the rain held off the whole time!

(Well, until I went on the skip pan but that didn’t matter!)

In a few days I’ll be winding my way south from the Eurotunnel, the plan being to make it to the other side of Reims by midnight. With my friends from the Channel Islands absent this weekend I’ll be the only Brit and therefore speaking French the entire weekend. Thankfully my friend Yann is making the trip across from the Auvergne so I’ll have pit crew once more – and here’s hoping for another podium at the next round!

– Charlie

Come back to the Euro Car Parts blog next week to find out how Charlie got on in Beaujolais and her hopes for the next round of the Championship.

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