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Meet British Racing Driver Sarah Franklin

WSR met up with British Motor Racing Driver Sarah Franklin
How old were you when you first started to get interested in cars?
One of the earliest memories I have is as a 4 year old going on a musical roundabout and jumping into the car - and trying to drive it like a maniac!
Are you compared to men a lot?
Yes. Because I'm generally the only woman in the race, it's inevitable as there's no one else to compare me to!

Does it make you
angry that there aren't more women taking up the sport?
No, because it is every individuals choice. There are more and more women coming through now though and I hope that we can encourage others to give it a go.
When did it turn from just a hobby into something more serious and how did you first get started?
After leaving school, I spent several years getting a degree and qualifying as a Solicitor before turning my attention to having some fun! After several years doing track days and non-competition karting, I decided that life was too short and if it was something I really wanted to do, I would have to go for it - I wasn't getting any younger! So, I enrolled on the Silverstone 5 day intensive race school in 2004, got my racing licence and had my first race. I spent several months trying different cars to decide which route I wanted to go (including single seaters) and decided for sports cars. I'm now racing in the AVO Ginetta Championship with Reflex Racing. This year, it's going to be me and 44 men! My ultimate dream is to drive at Le Mans.

Did you enjoy racing from the start, or did it take a while for you to realise this was the sport for you?
It was immediate! As soon as I'd finished my first 'proper' race I knew it was something I had to carry on doing.
Are there many opportunities for women to get started in motor racing? Absolutely! The race schools all over the Country are a good starting point or just do some track days in your road car to see if you like it. There is also the British Women Racing Drivers Club which is a great source of encouragement and advice for want-to-be women racers.

Britain's Motor Racer Sarah Franklin
How many races have you taken part in?
About a dozen so far. This year, I'll be racing at Donington, Croft, Thruxton, Castle Coombe, Snetterton, Rockingham, Mondello Park (in Ireland) and Silverstone.
What are your best results so far?
Probably my 4th position at Stowe circuit at Silverstone in the Formula Ford. I'm hoping to beat that this year in the Ginetta.
Which is your favourite track to race on?
So far, Brands Hatch. I love Donington but haven't raced there yet - although it's the first race of this season on the 2nd and 3rd April - so I'll be able to let you know if that's changed!
What age were you when you first started racing?
Have you ever had any serious crashes and injuries?
Not too serious. I was involved in a crash at Brands Hatch in October last year where I was hit from behind, spun around and crashed into by various cars before being deposited into the barrier! I had whiplash for a few days and some very nice bruises! I've also broke a rib, karting.
Can you earn good money or do you have to rely on sponsorship?
There are hardly any drivers in this Country that actually get paid to drive. Getting sponsorship is really hard work and you've got to be prepared to get lots of no's before someone says yes.
What advice would you give to girls and women who would like to take up the sport?
Mainly that it is all consuming and, if you're not prepared to give it 100% and pretty much all of your spare time (and cash!), don't bother! But if you do, I can guarantee that you'll have the time of your life!
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