Quick Questions for a quick driver - Abbie Eaton

Abbie Eaton (photo by Marc Waller)Abbie Eaton has always been a quick driver, winning the 2009 Dunlop Sportmaxx Class B Championship was a highlight but like so many drivers in motorsport these days,

her talent hasn’t lead to funding and she’s often struggled for the budget to compete. After an engine failure in 2012 at Castle Combe lead to her having to withdraw from that years Mazda Mx5 Mk3 championship she had been out of racing. Fortunately towards the end of last season she secured some backing to complete the last few rounds of the newly formed BRSCC Mazda Mx5 Supercup and achieved some great results including her first win. She’s back in 2014 and hoping to go for the championship so we caught up with her to talk about her plans, her career so far and about females in motorsport;

GR: Hi Abbie, can you tell us plans for this season?

Abbie: This year I will be competing in the BRSCC Mazda Mx5 Supercup. I raced in the last 3 rounds last year and the ‘buzz’ and interest grew from meeting to meeting, so it looks to be a great championship to be in this year.

GR: Last year was pretty successful for you despite only competing in a few races with your first win in Mazdas. Although you’ve won elsewhere before, does getting your first win in the championship give you a boost?

Abbie: Of course it does, it’s always a great thing to have under your belt going into a new season. It was a tough race that I won, very much luck of the draw- it could have been anyones, but I’m glad I managed to seal it after I had to drop out of the lead at Brands due to a mechanical fault!

Abbie Eaton (photo by Marc Waller)Abbie Eaton (photo by Marc Waller)GR: This looks like being the first season in a while that you’ll be able to do a full season, Is it good to be able to start a season knowing you have enough backing?

Abbie: This season is very much the same as it always is, racing weekend by weekend on a shoestring budget. However, I have a couple of sponsors that are supporting me for the first half of the year- so hopefully I can impress and get them onboard for the latter too which will take a lot of pressure off.

GR: Things are still quite tough then. The media are reporting that the economy is recovering, have you noticed that there are more people around willing to back young talent in racing?
Abbie: I think there is definitely more of a buzz coming back into supporting drivers and teams again, but I think there is still a long way to go. And no matter what it’s always going to be hard to get someone to part with a big wad of cash!

GR: Your car has a new look this season, how did that come about?
Abbie: I never really liked the plain silver on the car as I thought it was a bit boring. I’ve always tried to have cars/things that stand out, such as my kawasaki green and fluorescent pink Saxo and my fluorescent pink helmet. After the good results from the races last year I want to make it as ‘in your face’ as possible if these results continue in a hope that it will attract sponsors attention!

GR: There was a lot of stories and publicity in the past year about females being able to get to F1 particularly when Susie Wolff became a William test driver. Does it frustrate you a bit that the mainstream media seem to mostly ignore success in areas of motorsport that aren’t seen as part of the “road to F1”?

Abbie: Not particularly, F1 is one of the most accessible championship’s in terms of viewing it on TV/online/magazines/newspaper etc etc. So it’s bound to happen! I don’t feel it discredits any of the other big championships out there.

Abbie Eaton new colours (photo by Marc Waller)GR: There’s often an ongoing debate among motorsport fans who dislike it when drivers they perceive as untalented are able to race through family money whereas drivers who are clearly talented (Like yourself) but have no funding struggle or have to stop. Does it annoy you seeing drivers with lots of backing going nowhere in higher levels of motorsport?

Abbie: Of course it frustrates me, but as the saying goes; that’s life! And I know if my parents were in the same situation they would do the same for me, and the same if I have my own children. If you spend your life/career being bitter about someone else’s luck it’d be a miserable existence!

GR: What do you think will be your next step when you achieve your targets in this championship?

Abbie: I’ve always wanted to race on the TOCA package purely due to the big crowds, TV coverage and high profile nature of the racing- it’s a perfect place for sponsors to get value for their money. So the Ginetta Supercup is the championship I would like to be in, and to be honest I would have liked to have been for a few years now.

GR: If someone came along with a huge pot of money what would be your ideal championship to race in?

Abbie I would love to race in DTM, V8 Supercars or WTCC. I love the combative nature of those championships however I would also love to enter into the world of Endurance Racing. In terms of a career in Motorsport, endurance racing offers more opportunities and has several variables to take into account alongside the actual driving, such as mechanical endurance of the cars for one which adds excitement and drama to the races in a different form.

GR: Lastly what do you think has been the best moment of your career so far?

Abbie: Probably Oulton Park last year, the whole weekend was brilliant! It felt great to get back in the car after having over a year out and get a win and a second place on a grid of 20 cars. Obviously winning the Dunlop Sportmaxx Class B Championship in 2009 was great too but I never really felt I had earned it, the grids were only around 10 cars.

That’s one thing I’m really really looking forward to this year, big grids and great close racing. Bring it on!

GR: Thanks for talking to us Abbie!
If you want to support Abbie, her twitter is @AbbieEaton44 or her page on facebook is; https://www.facebook.com/AbbieEatonRacing?fref=ts
We should be reporting on Abbie’s season during 2014 so keep an eye on Girlracer! by Marc Waller

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