Scottish MINI Cooper Cup driver Hannah Chapman is celebrating her first ever victory in the highly competitive series following her success at Knockhill last month. Hannah has been a front-running driver over the course of the past few seasons with multiple podium finishes to her name and is now in contention for the overall championship after a strong start to the 2016 campaign.
Hannah’s passion to succeed and her extensive racing knowledge have made her a fan favourite at her local circuit of Knockhill. Away from the track, Chapman is co-host of a new motorsport magazine on YouTube called “Faster Scotland” where Hannah, along with colleagues Duncan Vincent and Joey Stuchlak, will explore a range of different topics within Scottish motorsport. The first episode of “Faster Scotland” is now on YouTube and you can watch the video here https://youtu.be/FwNYphv5obg
Liam: Now you’ve completed three rounds of the championship this season, how would evaluate your performances?
Hannah: Round 1 started off promisingly with a 2nd place on the podium but soon after it all went downhill with a collision causing a DNF and not having enough time in between races to get the car back together again so unfortunately resulted in another non-point scoring finish after joining the race 3 laps down. Round 2 was nothing special, qualified P4, races 1 & 2 I finished P4 and sadly race 3 I was leading for all of 2 laps before making a couple of silly mistakes and being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulting in me dropping back to a disappointing 8th. Round 3 however was brilliant! Again didn’t start off amazingly, qualified P6, race 1 P6, race 2 P8 but then my luck changed and 8 was pulled out of the bag for the reverse grid in race 3 putting me on pole. I then managed to lead the entire race and take my first ever overall win!
Liam: Who was your inspiration to start racing?
Hannah: I discovered racing by myself just by chance when I went karting when I was younger but admittedly the reason I went karting that first time was because I had been inspired after watching Disney’s Herbie with Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel (cringey to admit now but acceptable when you’re 13!)…
Liam: What has been the proudest achievement of your racing career so far?
Hannah: Receiving special awards at the SMRC Annual Awards Ceremony (Knockhill Young Saloon Driver of the Year, Top Lady Driver competing in Scotland and SMRC Driver of the Year) and also achieving my first overall race win in the Scottish MINI Cooper Cup.
Liam: Do you feel any extra pressure being a female competing in motorsport?
Hannah: I put pressure on myself because off track I come across as a really girly girl so people don’t always expect me to be fast and competitive so I always feel as though I have to prove myself as being good enough and not just a girl who likes pottering about in her shiny pink racecar but at the same time, I enjoy being a girl in a male dominated sport, I take it in my stride (hence the girly car).
Liam: How rewarding was it to have BTCC driver Aiden Moffat as your teammate in the most recent round of the championship?
Hannah: Aiden started racing at the same kart track that I did and we were also teammates in 2014 so to have him back as a guest teammate for round 2 this season was brilliant, especially now because I was able to keep up with him. Although he is younger than I am, he has a great deal more experience and I have learned a lot from him.
Liam: How do you pick yourself up after a difficult race, is there anyone you always go to for support and advice?
Hannah: It’s not easy. My biggest problem in the racing is picking myself back up after a bad race and getting my head back in the right place but you just have to get on with it, you’ll never move forward if you keep looking back. I normally like to be left alone to calm down rather than surrounded by people fussing over me but my family, team, driver coach Vic and friends are always there to offer me support and words of advice when I need it (and also a kick up the backside!).. Tough love is what I need not wrapped in cotton wool.
Liam: Have you set yourself any goals for the rest of the season?
Hannah: Well since just achieving my first race win I hope for it to be the first of many. The ultimate goal is to win the championship not only for myself but for everyone who has stuck by me and continued believing in me like my sponsors RAM Tubulars, Nexus 24 and Whitehaul Ltd. I am currently sitting 3rd in the standings and I think only around 6 points off the leader so it is all to play for and is going to be a close championship this year so my goal is far from impossible at this moment in time.
Liam: Would you see the move up to competing in the MINI Challenge as natural progression for the future, or is there another series you’d love to race in?
Hannah: Definitely. After 4 years in the Scottish MINI’s the next progressive step would absolutely be to join MINI Challenge and race nationally, I have been close to making the jump up for the past year and a bit but I felt I had unfinished business in the Scottish MINI’s and kept going back for more. This year however is definitely my last whether I win the championship or not and next season I hope to progress. The only limiting factor is budget, what I race next year will come down to what budget I have to work with but whatever I end up doing I will be aiming high and to continue being as much of a serious contender as I am in the Scottish MINI’s.
Hannah would like to thank her sponsors RAM Tubulars Scotland Ltd, Nexus24, Whitehaul Ltd and Minimax Motorsport for all their continued help and support.
You can keep up to date with Hannah’s progress using the social media links below:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/hannahchapmanracing
Twitter – www.twitter.come/hchapmanracing