Talented young driver Emily Glanvill has successfully completed a test day with leading Fiesta team Specialized Motorsport. The former Junior Saloon Car Championship scholar has been testing a Mini Cooper during the current season, making one start in the highly competitive Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup at Knockhill. Last Friday Glanvill was given the opportunity to test a Class C Ford Fiesta at Brands Hatch, where I was fortunate enough to attend the day in support of Emily.
Prior to the test day, Emily had never driven the Ford Fiesta before or experienced a race car on slick tyres, in addition to the fact she had little knowledge of Brands Hatch in both wet and dry conditions. Nonetheless, Glanvill took everything in her stride and surpassed every expectation, showing excellent speed in all conditions while gaining confidence with each passing lap. The test day was an unforgettable experience for both myself and Emily, as I was able to gain an inside perspective into motorsport, while Emily was given the opportunity to test with a race-winning team and receive guidance which she has not previously benefited from.
After intermittent rain during the morning, Specialized Motorsport’s Simon Horrobin decided slicks would be the best choice of tyre for the opening session. Simon sat alongside Emily as she took to the circuit for the first time, a daunting prospect initially with the session including a range of cars including Caterham’s and even machines from the Dutch Supercar Challenge. Following a series of sighter laps, Simon was happy for Emily to take to the track solo and she began to build up her lap times. Being able to spend time in the pit lane and even on the pit wall, was a thrilling experience as I was able to get up-close to the action as Emily began to find the limits of the Ford Fiesta on an ever-drying track. As her confidence began to build, Glanvill set some highly competitive times at the end of the session, particularly impressive considering the track was still partially damp and this was the first ever time she had driven a race car on slick tyres.
During the lunch break, Emily was given the chance to sit down with veteran race-winning driver Simon Horrobin to discuss data from the morning session. The level of information available from just one 30-minute session was remarkable, with Emily able to study sector times and compare them to the potential of herself and the car. Simon was able to explain characteristics of the car to a degree which Emily had not experienced before, enabling her to give detailed feedback and understand where she could improve her lap times. As the rain started to fall, Simon was able to give Emily extra reassurance by discussing characteristics of certain corners in the wet, enabling her to take full advantage of the upcoming session.
The second session started with full wet conditions, similar to those which Emily faced during qualifying for the Junior Saloon Car Championship at Brands Hatch last year. Glanvill did a great job of building up her lap times among a session littered with red flags, with the tricky conditions catching out a number of drivers, including a Porsche which spun right in front of her at Druids. Although she wasn’t able to complete as many laps as in the first session, Emily’s confidence in the wet improved significantly and she was feeling even more comfortable behind the wheel of the Class C Ford Fiesta.
Eager to put what she had learnt over the day into practice, the final session saw mixed conditions with the team deciding on wet tyres for a track which was slowly drying. This proved to be the perfect call as Emily pushed the car to its full potential, even receiving a warning for track limits! Glanvill’s commitment was undoubted as she reeled off a series of impressive lap times, with her speed through Paddock Hill bend especially noticeable indicating the confidence she had in the car and her own abilities. As Emily arrived back into the paddock for the final time, she was elated with her performance which served as further motivation for a future in motorsport.
Throughout the day Emily was able to showcase her talents and develop her skills in a range of conditions, gaining confidence with each and every session. Glanvill’s ability to adapt to the situation presented to her while maintaining competitive lap times highlights her natural capabilities, with her car control in particular praised significantly. Emily is hoping to compete in one final race weekend to round off the 2017 season, with her experiences from Brands Hatch giving her the best possible opportunity to improve as a driver regardless of the challenges presented to her.
Many thanks to Emily, Brian and Specialized Motorsport for inviting me to the test session so I was able to experience motorsport from another perspective, it’s certainly a day I will never forget.
You can keep up to date with Emily’s progress using the social media links below: