Sophie Says: an interview with Jem Hepworth

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On Saturday 27th April the Citroen C1 Endurance challenge, an epic 24 hour race, took place at Silverstone. Featuring 100 cars, 300 drivers and some unbelievable overtakes, it really was an incredible race…

The C1 racing club is a brilliant way to get into motorsport, while not spending a fortune (it’s possible to build a race car for just over £3000). It does endurance and sprint racing, at circuits all around the world.

It was a fantastic race to watch (the races are live streamed on YouTube). As there was 100 cars on track, there was always action taking place! There was lots of close racing, and contact and even some cars rolling over!

One of the many teams taking part in the race at Silverstone was Motorsport Merlin International Team. This all female team featuring Jem Hepworth, Alice Hughes, Sami Bowler and Katie Milner, had an awesome weekend. Starting P17, they worked their way up the grid, finishing 5th out of 100. This is amazing, especially as it’s karting star Jem’s first race in cars and it was the biggest grid in C1 racing history!

I caught up with Jem, to hear her feelings on the race…

How did you find your first race in cars?:
“I was so excited about having an opportunity to race in cars for the first that it actually took the nerves away. The other three girls were so helpful and encouraging, I couldn’t have wished for more supportive company.”

What was your favourite part of the race?:
“My favourite part(s) ,has to be the feeling of excitement getting up to P2 in my second stint and the joy of sharing the whole experience with these 3 girls.”

How did you train for the race?:
“Both I and Sami had 2 track days at Silverstone in the C1 under the guidance of Katie Milner of Merlin international and Alice of Alice Hughes racing. They used a vbox to show me where I could improve lines and speed.”

What was the hardest part of the race?:
“The hardest part was when you get things out of your control happen like long safety car stints and mechanical faults that are beyond our control.”

Looking to the future, would you like to do more endurance racing?:
“I am definitely going to do more endurance racing. I think that weekend will always be special. I’ve had so many kinds words and encouragement from people that it’s amazes me.”

I think C1 is a brilliant, affordable and fun motorsport series to get into. I’d love to do endurance racing when I’m older… I might need a few cups of coffee, to help me stay awake all night!

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