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MRF Round 3 in Dubai, a great end to 2015.

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Round 3, MRF Challenge 2015 at Dubai

From never driving the Dubai circuit before and only being able to look at videos on youtube, Laura did amazingly when she went out for the first practise of two, setting a time to put her 11th overall which was a great start to the weekend. “The car felt good and I really liked the circuit, was quick to learn and get in a rhythm”.
With a little tyre problem in practise session two, Laura then dropped back to 14th overall but she wasn’t phased by this back step and was set for qualifying the next morning.

Qually came around the next morning and Laura went out in the car confident to set a time to put her in the top ten. Unfortunately Laura was unlucky to have been issued an uneven batch of tyres which wasn’t determined until on circuit. With a car sliding around for most of the 30min qualifying Laura was struggling to set a time. “The car was sliding around and was so hard to control, it was like I was driving on ice”. With the problem obvious to her team, they brought Laura in with 3 minutes left on the clock to change the tyres used in the practise session, just to see if this was the problem and if it would resolve it. Within half a lap and without even getting much heat into the tyres, Laura was already up half a second so it was obvious that this was the reason for the massive time loss and sliding car. Unfortunately it was too late to set a time and the session was red flagged due to another incident on circuit, giving Laura an overall position of 16th. “I wasn’t happy with the result in qually but there isn’t anything I could have done about the situation”.

Starting at the back for races one and three, Laura had a lot of work to do to come back through the grid and with off line being so dusty, it wasn’t going to be easy.
In races one and two, Laura’s starts were brilliant which got her up to 12th but she struggled to come through any more as the gap had become too big, and with her times being the same as those in front, it was hard to pull the gap back in.

Race three was a difficult race for the whole grid. Laura made a place at the start and then a big crash involving another driver hitting the wall, caused a safety car. This meant the whole grid including Laura drove 5 laps under the safety car. When it was clear and the green flag was shown, Laura had an amazing restart making four places but unfortunately the red flag was shown due to another crash, and taking the results from the lap previous meant that Laura finished 14th and not 10th.

Starting her last race 14th, Laura was determined to get her result she had deserved all weekend.
Laura had yet another brilliant start getting her 3 places and moving her to 11th. Throughout the race, Laura’s times kept improving and she picked off drivers one by one as they made mistakes, she was driving consistently, this helped her to get through to 6th place when crossing the line giving her her best result to date in the championship.

MRF Challenge 2015 Round 2 Bahrain

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Round 2, MRF Challenge 2015 at Bahrain

The second round of the MRF in Bahrain came around not long after the first round in Abu Dhabi, this time the MRF cars would be running alongside and supporting the WEC, GP2 and GP3 series.

After visiting this circuit before, hopes were high for a good result.
After seeing the program, track time was to a minimum, with only one free practice before going straight into qualifying on Thursday afternoon.

Free practice, proved to be a difficult session for Laura with a brake pressure problem, resulting in lack of brakes in the heavy braking area’s. The problem was thought to a leak on the brake line, but once going again they realized that the problem hadn’t been resolved prior to qualifying. Overall Laura was happy with the progress made in the session and felt she had more to come from herself and the car for the next time out on track later that evening.

After a 5 hour wait from free practice to qualifying, all was run under flood lit conditions. Laura stated afterwards “When I got out on track, the car felt great, times were looking good and we was sitting inside the top 6, but then I had a strange feeling from the car and then started to loose time, especially in the high speed corners on around lap 5”. When all drivers had returned the garage, it was found that Laura had actually suffered a broken left rear wheel nut, meaning the wheel was left attached by only the safety clip.Due to this loss of speed and still a problem in with the soft brakes, the times didn’t progress anymore resulting in Laura qualifying in a disappointing P15.


Friday morning arrived, Laura was looking determined to make up for the unlucky qualifying issue, and having to start in P15, she had nothing to loose.

Laura got a great start making up 3 positions by the first corner, as she entered into turn 2 the car oversteered suddenly when only a little throttle was applied, resulting in a spin.

Once back facing the right way, Laura got her head down and started chasing down the pack, which not only showed with lap times, but clearly visible was that she was honing in on a 5 car pack, until once again the demon of bad luck struck the 24 year old, as she was at top speed entering into turn one when a blow out on the left rear tyre brought race 1 to a early end.


Once again a long break between race 1 and race 2 gave Laura time to reflect and go through all car and track data required with her engineer, working hard to improve the car for the final race of the week.

Race 2 once again under floodlights, was a good atmosphere, and Laura was going all out to grab a positive to take away from this week of mechanical issues.


As all was set for race 2, Laura once again bagged a great start, moving up around 4 positions in turn 1, but once again in turn 2 the rear tyres became slippery and oversteered uncontrollably, causing Laura to spin off track and getting the rear wheel caught in the gravel. Laura did well to keep the car running but having to wait for the marshals to help her out meant a huge loss in time and also the rear wing was pushed forwards whist trying to get her back out the gravel, this meant a lack of straight line speed for Laura and for the remainder of the race she was half a second slower due to the wing, but Laura had found a whole second within herself putting her top 6 on the times. This was a great positive to take away from a not so lucky weekend from Laura.


Now that Bahrain is completed Laura is now focusing and working hard for the 3rd round out in Dubai in mid December, hoping that all issues have arisen now, and at the halfway point of the season results will turn on there head and prove just what she has in the bank when the equipment allows it to be shown.

MRF Challenge 2015, round one Abu Dhabi

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Round 1, MRF Challenge 2015 at Abu Dhabi Yas Marina

Back for another year in the MRF Challenge, Laura was looking forward to getting out on the Abu Dhabi circuit and drive the 2.0 Renault backed single seater again.

Laura’s first round was squeezed into two solid days and with only two practise sessions before qualifying, Laura had to learn quick. The 26 corner circuit was a challenge for Laura to learn within two session before setting a time in qually, and with a 17 car grid, Laura was determined to keep pushing throughout the races to finish the weekend with a good result and good start to the season.

Laura had a good start in race one and was coming through the battling grid. Passing two drivers who came off together just in front of her, Laura thought it was an easy two places made, but with their determination to continue to race, one of the drivers came rushing back onto the live circuit and into the side of Laura’s car damaging her rear wheel and she had to retire from the race.

In races two and three Laura kept pushing her way through the grid, but with only two major overtaking places on the big Abu Dhabi circuit, it was hard to over take anyone defending and one driver in particular was proving difficult to overtake. Once past, Laura tried to catch the pack back up but it was hard as the gap had become big within a short period of time.

Race four was another mega start for Laura, but realising the driver who had been defending and making the previous races difficult was just in front. Laura knew she had to make a move quickly before the gap became too big to regain. She went for the gap which he was closing up, gritting her teeth and holding her place Laura passed the driver and gained the place which allowed her to pull away from the pack behind. Laura went on to overtake two more drivers and finish the weekend with an great result of 9th.

Laura is really looking forward to the next round at Bahrain where she feels she will improve on her result from Abu Dhabi
“Abu Dhabi was a difficult race for me, I can’t explain how but sometimes things just don’t go the way we would like. I know Bahrain well and have had a brilliant races there in the past so I really look forward to making more progression forward there and getting closer to the top 5.”


Laura’s back for the 2015 MRF Challenge


For the last 3 years Laura has competed in the Indian MRF Challenge during the winter period and has always expressed her excitement towards the championship.

The MRF Challenge has been a popular series over the last 4 years for drivers coming from all categories to compete during the winter shut down. The series gives drivers a great amount of track time which includes four races per round, high standard and well known FIA circuits, teamwork with the entire grid of cars which allows every driver the chance to compare data against the quickest lap record, and lets not forget the brilliant weather.

This year the Formula Renault backed cars are competing at four amazing circuits including, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Chennai.

“I can’t wait to get back out in the MiddleEast to compete, I have always really enjoyed this series and feel really at home in the car. I get on amazingly well with the team and come back with new skills each time I compete.”

Laura’s first round is situated at the F1 monster circuit of Abu Dhabi next weekend.


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Donington Round 7 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

First year saloon car racer Laura Tillett ended a challenging maiden season in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup a mere two points shy of the championship top 15 at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 13th September, after two battling performances in the season finale.

Sittingbourne-based Laura had been hoping to wrap-up her first year in ‘tin tops’ with a real flourish in rounds 15 and 16 but, despite great determination and focus, her competitiveness was again impacted by the power issues which have blighted the second half of her season in the category.

Disappointingly for Laura, her weekend got off to a frustrating start after an unfortunate excursion in qualifying midway through the session on Saturday, 12th September. Running well with the 13th fastest time prior to the spin, the 24-year-old ultimately ended the session 23rd overall.

With a huge amount of work to do in round 15 on Sunday morning, a dramatic start in the lead group resulted in a couple of cars going off into the gravel at the Old Hairpin which eventually led to the Safety Car being deployed.

Holding 21st position at the resumption on lap five, Laura broke into the top 20 shortly after and although edged back a place on the subsequent tour she moved back into 20th position on lap seven when Graham Ewing slipped back.

Then climbing into 19th at the expense of Mark Clynes a lap later, Laura continued to pick up her pace but her VW Golf GTi didn’t have the straight-line speed it should – an issue which first reared its head with turbo problems during the Spa-Francorchamps weekend in mid-July.

Profiting from a moment for Tim Snaylam on the penultimate lap, Laura grabbed 18th place which the SlideSports driver held to the chequered flag before being elevated into 17th due to a post-race penalty for a rival.

Notably, the Kent racer continued to set personal best lap times throughout the race – within 0.4 seconds of top 10 pace – to confirm her strong progress even with the continued power issues which made the straights very hard work.

Beginning the 40-minute second race on the ninth row of the grid, Laura held 17th on the opening lap and despite being nudged back a place she battled back on lap four and then moved into 16th a lap later. Running fairly comfortably, just before mid-distance Laura was hit with a five second time penalty for a track limits infringement and the net result was an eventual finish in 18th place.

“It’s been a tough weekend and tough end to the season”, said Laura, “I pushed really hard in qualifying and the spin was entirely my fault, but we just didn’t have the pace to come through in the races. We’ve still been having a problem with straight-line speed which has been there since the turbo problems started at Spa.

“The car felt good, and my times were consistent, but there’s just a lack of power somewhere which made everything really hard work – especially in the 40 minute race! It’s not been an ideal season for my first year back, I just hope people can see there is some potential there and come onboard to give us some support for next year.”

She added: “I’m unsure what we’ll do next, I’ve still got a desire for single-seaters and they do suit my driving style more, so we’ll probably look at doing the MRF championship again in India over the winter. It’s all down to budget what we do next year, we’ll have to wait and see!”

Straight line speed issues limit Tillett’s progression at Snetterton

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Snetterton Round 6 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

Laura Tillett’s aim to bounce back strongly from her start-line accident at Brands Hatch three weeks ago was unfortunately pegged-back to some degree at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 22nd/23rd August, when straight-line speed issues hampered an otherwise positive outing in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup.

With her VW Golf GTi having been expertly repaired by the SlideSports team after sustaining substantial damage during the previous round, Sittingbourne racer Laura targeted a strong fightback during the penultimate event of the season and did come away with a best finish of 15th in race one.

The story of the weekend for the 24-year-old, though, was a consistently frustrating problem with a lack of straight-line speed which meant, despite two superb starts in rounds 13 and 14, she wasn’t able to capitalise in the pair of longer-than-usual 30 minute contests at the Norfolk track.

“We’re really good through the twisty stuff but in a straight-line there was nothing I could do to stop people pulling away from me, or catching me”, said Laura, “It’s not been ‘racing’ this weekend for us as everything I’ve been able to earn through the corners and on the brakes, when we get onto the straights the cars just pull away from me.”

“I think there’s definitely been an improvement in my driving this weekend, and also with the handling of the car and the rotation. My starts were quite good in both races, but we couldn’t build on them with this problem – it was worse with the races being longer as well this weekend. Overall there is a definite improvement, just no pace on the straights so both races were very hard work.”

Having to settle for 20th position on the grid for Sunday morning’s contest, round 13, the Kent racer made a fantastic getaway from the line to begin picking up places on the run into Riches for the first time and by the end of lap one she was in 16th place.

Smartly working her way into the top 15 ahead of the VW Golf of Simon Andrews on lap three, as the field began to get more and more spread out she wasn’t able to use her pace through the twisty, technical sections to her advantage. Despite the gap over her pursuers significantly reducing throughout the contest, Laura just had enough in hand to retain 15th position to the flag.

Round 14, which was televised live on Motors TV, was harder work for the 24-year-old but she did initially make the most of her improved top 15 starting slot to gain two places on the first lap. Soon edged back to 14th position, Laura was eventually pushed back to 17th spot before the chequered flag on lap 14 with no way of defending on the straights.

Despite her disappointment with the end results, the first year saloon car racer still managed to climb up two places in the championship into 17th position with only one event remaining now on the 2015 calendar.
There are only three weeks to wait until the season finale of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup, at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in Leicestershire, over the weekend 12th/13th September.


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Brands Hatch GP Round 5 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

Laura was fortunate to emerge unscathed from a heavy startline accident during the concluding race of her ‘home’ event at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 2nd August, during the latest instalment of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup season.

After a year of terrible luck and a variety of problems out of her control, the 24-year-old aimed for a richly deserved turnaround on home soil and following a competitive run to 18th position in round 11 on Saturday, 1st August, confidence was high ahead of Sunday’s live televised second encounter.

Lining-up on the ninth row of the grid, Laura made a good initial getaway but as she started to accelerate through the gears on the run towards Paddock Hill Bend contact from the car of guest driver, and British Touring Car Championship regular, Aiden Moffat pitched her into the barriers.

First pushing Laura’s SlideSports machine into another car on her right-hand side, both made heavy contact with the barriers near the exit of the pitlane, triggering something of a chain reaction in which several cars were caught-up.

Resulting in the obvious appearance of the red flags, Laura’s race was run with her car stranded in the middle of the track and with hefty damage. Most importantly, though, the Sittingbourne racer was able to walk away uninjured.

“I’m a bit bruised but fine really”, said Laura, “We really haven’t had much luck at all over the last few rounds and what happened in race two was even more disappointing with it being my home race meeting, I was really confident of a strong race.

“The initial start was just as normal, everyone was in a straight line, but then [Aiden] Moffat came from nowhere, went for a gap and just hit me on the left side and that pushed me right into someone else, then into the barriers really hard. The car has got quite a bit of damage, two side impacts, the front corner and I was also hit from behind as well afterwards – it’s so disappointing.”

Qualifying 20th fastest for round 11, within little more than a second of the top 12, Laura was edged back a place on the first lap but climbed back into the top 20 on the second tour. Remaining there until the end of lap five, when Simon Tomlinson moved ahead over the line, Laura then managed to break into 19th position on lap six after dramas for Simon Andrews and Graham Ewing.

With Andrews’ VW Golf requiring recovery, the deployment of the Safety Car followed and it remained on track for three laps. With the time limit almost reached, racing got back underway for a final lap shoot-out on the 11th tour and after making a clean restart Laura was able to move into 18th position when Moffat dropped down the order.

“Race one was quite good, it was really close and there was a lot of overtaking, swapping places, and we were quite competitive”, commented the Kent racer, “I didn’t get to experience the GP track in the car until qualifying as practice on Friday was on the Indy Circuit, so without many laps it wasn’t easy to get the car how we wanted it.

“I needed a lot more oversteer, the first race wasn’t too bad but I still wanted some more oversteer which we’d done for race two – I didn’t have chance to see what we could do though! It’s obviously not the way we wanted the weekend to turn out, we’ve got to get the break we deserve soon.”

Laura’s season will resume three weeks from now, on 22nd/23rd August, at Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia.

European Championships in Kristianstad Sweden, Laura’s big come back

What a come back to karting!

After watching her brother Archie compete all year in high level karting and the Official European Championships, Laura was dying to get back out on track and do what she did best and race karts.

Nerves had been building up for weeks as Laura wasn’t sure whether she would be competitive enough or where she was be in the standings, as she hadn’t raced since 2011. Jumping in the deep end Laura decided to enter the last round of the European Championship in Sweden with team Strakka Zanardi, “the team have been doing really good in the championship with my team mate Tom Joyner in the running for winning the Europeans, I love the team, they are kind, friendly and hard working, I couldn’t have picked a better team to join for my come back”.
With not much testing Laura jumped in the kart and was 4th quickest within the first test session, this was a great first shot for Laura as she grew with confidence and all of her previous experience was coming back to her. “I am so happy to be back, of course I am nervous just as I was when I used to compete before, but just being back here and being able to compete at this level again is an amazing expereince and I am really grateful. Whatever the result from the weekend, just knowing I am competitive is rewarding and my big challenge is to beat my baby brother as this will be our first race against each other.”
With only 5 laps to qualify in, Laura couldn’t get the kart to work in time and qualified 34th overall out of 60 drivers. This meant Laura would start 14th for all of her heats.
Racing started and with 4 heats to compete in Laura had to get some good results to put her straight into the final, so with Laura’s results of the Saturday being 10th, 10th, 11th and 11th Laura had qualified directly into the main final and was starting 25th out of 34. Laura’s brother Archie, however didn’t make the final which was a bitter sweet moment within the family.
Laura had been tested all weekend with the weather conditions so this defiantly wasn’t an easy weekend for her first time back, but Laura showed real talent when out for her Prefinal whilst on slick tyres, the rain began to fall. Laura held her own really well and even with these difficult conditions she raced like the professional she is and managed to keep 29th for the main final.
Dry conditions where back for the final and with 25 laps to complete Laura was nervous to how she would perform with such a long race. Race started and Laura made up many places, really giving as good as she got but with the tyres overheating and the rear pushing, the kart was sliding and making it hard for her to keep her position. Half way through the final, Laura had to change her driving style to suit the situation and gradually reclaimed places she lost throughout the first half of the race. 25 laps completed and Laura finished a respectable 25th in the main final of the European Karting Championships. “I am really happy with the result, although I feel I should have been further up, I did the best job I could with the way the kart was handling at the time, and to say I made the main final of the Europeans on my first race back in 3 years is a real achievement, plus not to mention I survived a long 25 lap final which no training can prepare you for, I am over the moon!”.

Laura Is looking to come back and do some more high level karting, possibly the World Championships??? WATCH THIS SPACE!

Round 4 of the VW Cup Championship 2015 at Spa



Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup driver Laura Tillett endured another weekend of frustration during the latest event of the 2015 season at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium – a series of unrelated power issues with her newly built VW Golf GTi spoiling realistic hopes of a season-best top 10 finish.

With rounds nine and 10 on Friday, 10th July, and Saturday, 11th July, marking the 24-year-old’s first ever races at the famous Belgian Grand Prix venue, the race meeting was also the first for Laura with the SlideSports team after switching to the squad following the previous event at Silverstone.

Unfortunately for the West Malling starlet and the team, her new Mk6 Golf GTi encountered a series of woes during qualifying and racing with 18th place in the first encounter the best result the first year saloon car racer had to show for her efforts.

“I can’t believe how many problems we’ve had this weekend, the car felt so good in testing and the team worked so hard to try and get to the bottom of everything”, said an exasperated Laura, “I don’t know why we’re having so much bad luck, none of the problems were related to each other so it’s all really baffling.

“The guys at SlideSports worked their backsides off to try and find out what went wrong but the team is going to have to totally strip the car down back at the workshop. Hopefully it’ll all be good for the next round, when the car was working right in testing we were really quick.”

Laura clearly had the pace to challenge for a season-best result at Spa, when she was able to display her true competitiveness, and at the beginning of the weekend hopes were very high of a suitably strong SlideSports debut – her first weekend in VW racing with a DSG ‘paddle-shift’ gear change.

However, any positivity was tempered by great frustration ahead of Friday’s all-important qualifying period when engine problems ruled her out of the session before it had even begun, a dislodged boost pipe the culprit.

Given dispensation to begin the first of the weekend’s races, round nine, from the back of the grid, the Kent racer produced pace comfortably good enough to challenge around the top 10 and was set on making strong progress, which she initially did.

Into the top 15 on lap one alone, Laura had impressively climbed into 13th position by lap three but no sooner had she broken into the top 12 than problems with fuel surge surfaced which meant the VW Golf driver had to ultimately be satisfied with 18th position in her maiden Spa race.

Ahead of round 10 on Saturday morning, everyone’s fingers were crossed for Laura’s maladies to be over and, to begin with, all went well. Rising through the order from the back to conclude the first lap in 13th position, everything appeared to be good but on lap two the power sapped once more and she was forced to retire to the pits.

“In the practice on Thursday everything was good, it all went quite smoothly and we didn’t have any problems with the power then”, reflected Laura, “As soon as I came out of the pits for qualifying on Friday though, the car conked out on the main straight. It turned out two pipes had come loose, one being the turbo pipe which was blowing through the engine.

“They managed to get me on the grid at the back for the race, even though I hadn’t done my three laps in qualifying, and the start was great – I made up a lot of places but when I overtook for 12th the power died because of fuel surge. I went to bed thinking Saturday would be a new day, no problems, but in race two the power went again and the engine would only rev to a certain level.”

She added: “I’m gutted for the team as much as me as they’re a fantastic bunch of people and they really did work so hard and do everything they could. We’re all determined to be back stronger than ever for the next round in a few weeks – we deserve some better luck!”

Laura will return to action on home soil for the next outing of the Volkswagen Racing Cup with rounds 11 and 12 of the season taking place over the weekend 1st/2nd August at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

Laura Tillett, Racing, Volkswagen, 2015, F1, Car, Girl, Driver, Laura, Tillett, Woman

Spa Round 4 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

VW Cup Championship round 3 at Silverstone International

Laura had been out testing the Monday before the race weekend at Silverstone to learn the International circuit and also get more feel for the car. Along with some onboard coaching from Tony Gilham and a different car, Laura’s times and confidence had improved massively throughout the day. Her lap times were looking good enough to easily be in the top ten and with the possibility of even a top 6. She left on the Monday feeling very confident and ready.
The extremely wet official test day came around, and although her session was canceled due to a oil spill, Laura was confident that the next day she would be competitive.

It was a long wait for Laura on the Saturday as she waited around until 4o’clock for qualifying. A nervous but excited Laura, left the pit lane and put into practice all that she had learnt the pervious Monday. Unfortunately something wasn’t right, the engine power was generally down and had no drive off the corners, killing her momentum down the straight. It was a near 10 seconds of the pace.

Laura came in feeling deflated and determined to find the problem. “We had found that the piston rings had broken leaving the engine with no compression, not good!”
The team fixed the engine by swapping it with another engine and Laura was able to make it out for her first race on the Sunday Morning.
Laura left the pit lane and noticed the engine was making popping and banging noises with a small power loss. “I wasn’t sure what the problem was so whilst the grid went for another green flag lap, I pulled into the pits to get the team to check over the car. The breather had come loose, and so the team re-fixed the pipe and I was then made to start in the pit lane.”

Waiting for the grid to come past and also the two at the back with a ten second penalty, Laura ended up nearly 20 second behind the pack. Thanks to the greasy circuit, she managed to catch back up and regain some positions finishing 20th out of 28.
Laura still wasn’t convinced that everything was right on the car as she could feel a dead spot in the engine power from 3rd to 4th gear. Once she explained this to the team they were sure it was because of the mapping not fitting the new engine. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do at the track and it meant that Laura would have to go out in the last race with the same issue.

Race two, the sun came out and the track was dry, Laura got a great start and made places that put her in the mix for around 14th. But before she knew it, the problem had arisen and she dropped back down the grid.
“All the places I had made within the start had drove back past me like I was standing still. It was so painful to experience as the straights are were so long, and it was difficult to hold people back. I did fight to keep 16th place and although I had drove my best to keep my position I was still disappointed as I had expected big things for that weekend but it just weren’t falling into place.”

“I would like to thank Team Hard for working so hard to change over the engines on the Saturday night, to Sticky George for whipping me up some decals quickly, and everyone else who supported me throughout the weekend.”

Laura Tillett, Racing, Volkswagen, 2015, F1, Car, Girl, Driver, Laura, Tillett, Woman

Silverstone Round 3 of the VW Cup Championship 2015