Sarah Moore made a sensational debut in the Mini Challenge JCW class at Brands Hatch this weekend. With only one test day under her belt on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Sarah showed impressive pace throughout the weekend on the Grand Prix layout to collect two top-6 finishes in one of the most competitive single-make championships in the country. Arguably Sarah’s most remarkable performance came in qualifying where she set the fourth fastest time in wet conditions, her first ever experience of the Mini Challenge JCW in the wet. Sarah continued to battle hard throughout the races, narrowly missing out on a podium place in race one by finishing in fourth after a close battle with championship leader Brett Smith. Starting from reverse grid pole in race two, Moore held the lead early on but was shuffled back just outside the top-5 where she enjoyed a thrilling fight with Henry Neal.
Coming into the weekend, Sarah had some experience of driving Brands Hatch in a Mini following her one-off outing in the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro class earlier in the season. Driving the race-spec JCW class car would be a totally new prospect however, with just one test day on the Indy circuit available before the weekend, in addition to day at Snetterton three weeks before the event to help familiarise herself with the car. Qualifying on Saturday was the first time Sarah got to drive the JCW car on the Grand Prix circuit, and to make the session even more challenging, the heavens opened leaving an extremely wet track for all the drivers. Moore was first out of the pits and was the guinea pig for all the other drivers, nonetheless, she did a great job to put in a series of competitive lap times. After a period of yellow flags, all drivers were faced with just one lap in order to set their best time with Sarah catching some traffic in the first part of the lap. Nonetheless, Moore set the fourth fastest time overall, including an overall best second sector, a truly remarkable performance on her first time driving the car on the Grand Prix layout.
Starting from the second row of the grid in race one, Sarah made a good start and was running just inside the top-5 as the red flag was brought out before one lap was completed. This meant a full re-grid which Moore took full advantage of by making an excellent start and moved past Brett Smith into the final podium place. Resisting the pressure from the championship leader, Sarah did a valiant job of defending from the Eurotech Racing driver for a couple of laps. By the end of the third lap, Smith had found a way through with a safety car deployed shortly after which sadly continued for the remainder of the race. Despite narrowly missing out on a podium position, Moore claimed a trophy for the highest rookie driver as she took the fight to series veterans, claiming the scalp of former champion Charlie Butler-Henderson in race one.
Finishing in fourth proved to be a blessing in disguise with Sarah being drawn onto reverse grid pole, an incredible opportunity in her first ever Mini Challenge JCW weekend. Moore made her best start to date and had almost a three car length lead entering Paddock Hill bend. Despite being shuffled back over the next few laps, Sarah did well to hold herself inside the top-5 until a hard-charging Luke Caudle was able to take the position. Moore was then under-attack from Henry Neal who twice made the move into Paddock Hill, before Sarah regained the position up the inside at Druids. Once Neal was able to complete the move, Sarah fought back magnificently to regain sixth spot and slowly pull away in the closing stages to complete a fantastic weekend in the Mini Challenge with her best lap in race two just one tenth away from the best.
Throughout the course of the season, Sarah has proven her versatility by racing with success in a variety of series, ranging from Mighty Mini’s to the LMP3 Cup. The former Ginetta Junior champion showcased all of her abilities, especially in race two where she got the better of Henry Neal after an intense battle where the position changed multiple times. Sarah is assessing her options for next season which could see her make a return to Le Mans prototype competition, or possibly compete for the Mini Challenge JCW championship where she would be sure to enter the season as a title favourite.
Sarah would like to thank her family and girlfriend Carla for their continued support and she hopes to be back on track soon.
You can keep up to date with Sarah’s racing progress using the social media links below: