When planning what I wanted to bring to this blog in 2017, the idea of diary entries was something that stuck with me. With platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allowing users to post their opinions and achievements, it can often feel like you know an individual and as a result enjoy following their experiences. This was one of the reasons I wanted to start the series ‘My Motorsport Month’: a series of monthly diary entries in which I will share with you what I have been up to and possible content from this website that you might have missed.
It may be that this series falls on its face and is never seen again, or it could be quite good fun.
Anyway, enough nattering, let’s get into it.
Recognition from Sauber F1 Team
It’s January 1st. I’d been in a constant food coma since Christmas Eve and am feeling slightly delicate from welcoming the new year in to the early hours of the morning. I’m vegging out on my sofa when I get a Twitter notification on my phone. It’s a direct message from a follower who tells me Sauber F1 Team have featured my blog on one of their Reddit posts. I follow his link and sure enough Sauber have shared my blog, along with some text that I had to read twice.
“Katy’s way of thinking and writing is mesmerising, so have a look at her blog.”
It all seemed pretty surreal. My little blog that I started in my bedroom had reached as far as Formula 1 teams and they liked enough to not only to read it, but promote it too. After making sure this wasn’t some elaborate prank, I showed my family and leaped straight onto my laptop. Within minutes of Sauber’s post going live, visits to my blog spiked like never before and my follower count on Twitter began to increase with great speed. I also shared the news with you all on Twitter which lead to some of you leaving lovely comments and really making me motivated for the year ahead.
Becoming an Autosport Junior
Another ‘pinch me moment’ from January was receiving the confirmation that I was to become an Autosport Junior. Having read Autosport like a bible for the last three or four years, being able to represent such an prodigious outlet and be amongst the brightest young talent in motorsport journalism is incredibly special.
The opportunity had been suggested to me in the summer of 2015 and I was in talks with Matt Beer who runs the programme, however I didn’t feel it was the right time for me so I turned the opportunity away. Probably a stupid move but one I don’t regret. Then towards the end of last year I started to set myself goals for 2017, one of these being to try and get another shot at the Autosport Junior Programme. As well as telling myself to get on the programme, I had support from the likes of Susie Wolff who recommended that I get back in touch with Matt at a Dare To Be Different event last year. Then, just days later, I received an email in my inbox from Matt inviting me to a assessment session and the rest is history.
A lot of you have also asked what it is to be an Autosport Junior. In short, Autosport take you under their wing and help develop your skills as a journalist. They host online training classes (which can be totally bonkers but very valuable), in addition to offering a wide variety of paid freelance work and the opportunity to visit the offices for training days.
Autosport International Show
During mid-January, I headed to Birmingham and the NEC for the Autosport International Show, my third-consecutive year at the show. The motorsport-mad event is the ideal way to kick-start my year and gives me lots of inspiration for future content, as well as the chance to catch up with lots of individuals in the industry. Although I spent most of my time in meetings which I can’t talk about just yet, I did have the chance to interview a number of people at the event including the CEO of the Electric GT Championship which is looking to provide this blog with some really interesting and intriguing feature pieces in the coming weeks.
Over the weekend I also attended several sessions put on by Autosport for their juniors, once again lapping up the information they threw at us and enjoying every second of it.
Another highlight from ASI was the 20th annual Watkins Lecture, this year headed by FIA Safety Director Laurent Mekies. I find this lecture always offers such an interesting look into safety in motorsport and once again I learnt so much. If you hadn’t already guessed, I love learning new things about my passion. It’s the best part of my job.
I also took notes of statistics and quotes from the lecture, which I can partner with unpublished interviews I already have about safety in motorsport. One of these pieces I hope to publish in February is an interview I had with 2016 GP2 Champion Pierre Gasly and his views on the halo device that looks to be deployed into Formula 1 in 2018. With quotes from Gasly and then addition quotes and statistics from Mekies, this appears to be a strong piece that I will enjoy sharing with you in the coming weeks.
FIA Formula E’s Vegas eRace
Before the Autosport International Show, the FIA Formula E Championship hosted the ‘biggest simulation race the world has ever seen’ in the heart of Las Vegas. Ten of the world’s best sim racers would take on the entire Formula E grid in a sim battle that would see the winner scoop $200,000 from the $1 million prize jackpot on offer. I dedicated quite a lot of time to the sim race here on katyfairman.wordpress.com including:
- Simulation takes on Sin City: Formula E prepares for Vegas eRace
- Game on: meet the British driver hoping to win a share of $1 million in Vegas this weekend
- What Happens in Vegas: the future of simulation racing
As well as writing about the event in the lead up to the eRace, I offered my services to e-racing.net by live tweeting the race and producing session reports. The race itself was hectic and was met by several technical gremlins, however as the first event of its kind on that scale I think it was successful, even if the race winner was stripped of his title as a tech glitch lead to him having Fanboost for six laps and not the six seconds as expected.
The return of the World Rally Championship
January also marked the return of the World Rally Championship (hooray!) and saw the series welcome a new era. There were huge improvements to the cars, making them bigger, louder and lightweight in one of the most sizeable upgrades to the sport in years. With Volkswagen departing last season, there have been manufactures making a comeback such as Toyota who have had a 17-year absence from the WRC and Citroen who decided to take a sabbatical year in 2016 and look as strong as ever.
The reason the return of WRC makes this list is because I will be covering the championship on this blog throughout the year and long into the future. I have produced posted a couple of blogs on here about the WRC over the past two years, however this year I will be producing several features and conducting interviews from WRC in addition to the existing coverage from other motorsport championships.
It is with this news I am excited to announce my first WRC feature will be a in-depth interview with Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon. Having won his first Rally in Argentina last year, Hayden looks to be in a fantastic car this year and is definitely looking to secure more rally wins this year. The full interview with Paddon will be published early February here on katyfairman.wordpress.com