A 17-year-old from Suffolk has her eye on a national rallycross title.
Abbie McGuinness from Haverhill only started out in the sport (of rallycross) at the beginning of 2019. Abbie originally began a career in stock car racing at the age of 11, but decided to follow in her father Brian’s footsteps with a switch to rallycross two years ago.
Mr McGuinness had a successful motor racing career in his youth before he had to retire because of illness.
His daughter Abbie, who studies on a Level 3 course in Motorsport Engineering at West Suffolk College, said, "My dad is my sporting hero. So, it’s now down to me to keep up the family name in terms of motor sport."
She is working hard to do this and was crowned ‘the BTRDA future champion of the year’ last year.
Although the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross 1600cc series in 2020 was severely disrupted because of COVID-19, the teenager managed to gain a second place in one of her first senior outings and is looking forward to the first big race of the season that will take place in May 2021 (subject to restrictions).
But why was she drawn to the sport and how dangerous is it?
"I like the adrenaline and I enjoy the fact that every race is different," Abbie said. "In terms of the danger, the safety equipment we use is very secure and the cars are all up to a certain standard."
What ambitions does Abbie have?
"I would like to win the British championships within a few years. Then, it would be great to move up to the super cars, get recognised and do this professionally."
When asked if the sport is male dominated, she added: "Yes it is. I’m not sure why that is. I’ve proven that I can be competitive - and being competitive is nothing to do with gender. I absolutely believe that the next rally cross star or Lewis Hamilton could be female.”
Head of Automotive at West Suffolk College, Leon Wilde, said, “We are very proud of Abbie’s achievements and we will support her ambitions all the way.”