Girls on Track UK Ambassador Catie Munnings shines at home Lydden Hill event
FIA Girls on Track UK Ambassador Catie Munnings led the British charge at the event. The local rally star made her return to the Kent venue, her home circuit, in the final part of a three-event program in the all-electric series.
Racing for the vibrant #YellowSquad, a junior team set-up by brothers and rallycross stars Timmy and Kevin Hansen, Catie – who also competes in Extreme E for Andretti Autosport – only had one prior experience in rallycross before the opening round of the 2023 RX2e season in Norway in June.
A return to her home circuit on the World Championship stage was an unexpected, but pleasant, surprise and allowed her to develop on what she learned at the previous two events.
Catie told Motorsport UK: “Rallycross is a new discipline for me and the grid out here is so fast, and super competitive. It’s a world championship – there are no beginners here!” Despite her relative lack of experience, she rebounded from the eventful heat races and was set to make her first Final appearance before a puncture in the preceding Semi-Final cruelly put an end to her weekend.
Alongside her racing duties, Catie is also an active Girls on Track UK Ambassador and showcased her core values in a pre-event chat with the celebrated Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.
“Girls on Track is fantastic for showing girls that there’s an opportunity there that they may have thought wasn’t available to them,” Catie comments. “The first step is showing them that there is an opportunity there, and you’re allowed to race if you want to, but it’s not just racing – it’s engineering, aerodynamics…any side of the sport they want to work in is available and that’s amazing.
“I think the next part of it is cultivating opportunity. I know first-hand, and still continue to know, how the world of motorsport is so hard to get into, sustain and then find the right backing for – all of these things that make our sport different to one where you can just pick up a racket and go and practice, and get good at your skill.
“I think initiatives like Girls on Track are creating opportunities there, and the more pathways and academies we can have in the sport, the better it’ll be for the future. It’s also important to introduce the sport to girls who don’t have families in it, or aren’t from that background, at the right age.”
Catie also looks to her own beginnings in the sport and remembers the influence Susie Wolff had on her – as well as the help she gave and the care she had for nurturing young talent.
“Susie was like a mentor for me, and I remember she phoned me up randomly and just asked how my season was going and what I was up to, and how finding budget was going because that was always the biggest challenge for me, like most drivers. She really cared about the young talent and cultivating that. And she was, being a racer, a big influence for me when I was starting out.
“She was always saying – where are you against the boys? You don’t want to compare yourself to the girls. And it was exactly the way that I looked at it, and with my dad being a rally driver, he brought me up saying that there’s no reason you can’t be as fast, or faster, than the boys. So, that was always the aim for me. I just want to be out there competing.”
Click here to find out more about FIA Girls on Track UK.
Want to get started in rallycross, or learn more about the sport? Click here.