Today we focus on 32 year old female racing driver Jo Polley-Goldin, who races in the Power Maxed MINI Challenge and is also a grid girl for Eurotech Racing in the BTCC for 2015.
Jo Polley-Goldin being Grid Girl for Jeff Smith in BTCC. (Picture Credit; @JoPolleyGoldin)
What is the MINI Challenge?
The Power Maxed MINI Challenge is the championship for people to race the new minis in the UK since 2002, it has always had great grids full of talented drivers, colourful cars and close racing, watched and enjoyed by many fans. Over the time the mini challenge has been going it has built a big reputation for affordability, fairness and fun. It has also been building on the iconic MINI brand. Since a new team took over promoting the championship in 2013, they have brought in new prizes to entice the drivers to aim higher. Some of the initiatives they have brought in are; a touring car test for a JCW Class driver and a subsidised JCW drive for the Cooper Class winner. The championship now has even more of a presence on social media sites since it has been promoted more. The championship visits some of the UK’s top circuits including; Brands Hatch GP, Donington Park, Oulton Park, Silverstone and Snetterton. The championship has multiple classes which allows drivers who struggle with budgets or some who may not have much experience to compete in the championship, whilst at the same time providing a natural route of progression for the drivers participating. Being a single make/model championship means that fairness is maintained to give drivers and teams equal opportunities. There are restrictions on tyre use and widespread use of control parts in areas where drivers could gain a performance advantage, this helps to keep budgets under control.
The entry level for the Mini Cooper Class car uses a 135BHP, 1.6 Litre normally aspirated engine, slick tyres and single way adjustable dampers. The car is best suited for those who are new to motorsport, or people who have some karting experience or those who just simply want some super, entertaining close and fair racing on a high profiled stage but within a reasonable budget to spend on racing.
Mini JCW Class
The JCW class is for mini challenge spec JCW cars with 220BHP, 1.6 Litre Turbo engines, with slick tyres and two way adjustable dampers. This combined offers excellent performance, adjustability and most importantly excitement. This class suits drivers who are stepping up from the mini cooper class, those who have raced cars for at least a season if not more, or people who have extensive karting experience but still want results to be determined by people’s skills and knowledge instead of people’s budgets.
The F56 class is the ultimate class in MINI racing with big slick tyres, three way adjustable dampers, sequential gearbox and motorsport ECU. This class suits drivers who want a touring car experience but at a fraction of the budget.
Jo has been involved in motorsport all of her life, but only started competing when she was 15 years old. The reason she started becoming interested in motorsport was because her dad raced, so she grew up around the sport. Jo’s favourite drivers/idols are her dad; George Polley, Rob Austin, Nick Tandy and Kimi Raikkonen. This year she wants to get back to the front of the grid and get some more podiums under her belt in the MINI Challenge. Her future career goal is to compete in the BTCC because she enjoys tin top racing and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) is the pinnacle of tin top racing in the UK, she hopes to be competing in the BTCC within the next 5-10 years. She enjoys working as part of a team because she thinks it’s great to work as part of a team but you need to have the right people around you. She was inspired by her father, George Polley, who was a twice world champion in Hot Rods and he inspired her to become a racing driver. To keep fit between racing weekends and during the closed season Jo attends the gym 3 to 4 times a week and she tries to maintain a high level of fitness and strength. In her opinion her favourite tracks are Mallory Park and Oulton Park. During race weekends Jo tends not to eat much because of the adrenaline and nerves pumping through her body, so she forces down a protein bar to keep herself going throughout weekends. Jo suffers with vertigo so she isn’t very good with heights, so one thing you wouldn’t get Jo doing is skydiving or bungee jumping. She loved everything she has raced in so far in her career, but her personal favourite is the Mighty Minis because it gave her the personal moments competitively and the MINI Challenge she feels has been amazing for her to compete in throughout 2014 as she has learnt a fair bit from competing in them. The only team she has competed for was Lawrence Davey Racing in the MINI Challenge, before that she ran her own cars.
Jo showing off her trophies. (Picture Credit: @JoPolleyGoldin)
For 2015 Jo will be racing in the MINI Challenge again but in the Cooper Class. Last year she finished 13th in the championship for the MINI Challenge. Jo chose the championship because she likes minis and the close racing that comes with the one make tin top series, also it was the next step up from the minis she had been racing before. This year she will be competing with Dale Racing.
To follow Jo Polley-Goldin in her racing career or just in her general life you can follow her on twitter: @JoPolleyGoldin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoPolleyRacing
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© Fay Tilley 11th April 2015.