Lining up against some of the biggest names in the business at the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship’s (GRC) first round in Barbados, Emma Gilmour did herself and New Zealand proud.
She was not only the first woman to ever race in this testosterone-fuelled series, she hit jumps, battled for corners with the Ken Block, Tanner Foust and charmed the 40,000 spectators at the Top Gear Festival, which hosted the GRC opener.
Her reaction after her first heat race sums up Emma’s experience.
“Wow! It was so cool! Finally racing with other cars was really enjoyable. I did the jump pretty big and the crowd thinks its awesome having a lady amongst the boys.”
Emma’s Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) Hyundai Veloster Turbo rallycross car had a few niggles over the practise, qualifying and heats, which her RMR team did a great job of rectifying to give her a chance to stay out on the circuit.
“Although we had small mechanical issues all weekend I still got the opportunity to keep improving my driving in the super fast, competitive GRC format.”
Emma qualified 12th but continually improved her times and given it was her debut in the championship and first time driving the recently-built Veloster, she will return to New Zealand this week determined to make it through to the final in the GRC’s next round.
“I learned heaps and kept improving throughout the practise, qualifying and heats. Despite the racing being a big learning curve, I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the next round at the X Games in Austin Texas on June 7.”
Dunedin-based Emma is now looking forward to getting back into her Vantage-sponsored Suzuki Swift Maxi for the next round of the Brian Green Property New Zealand Rally Championship, driven by VINZ event at the Canterbury Rally June 1 and 2.
EMMA GILMOUR’S 2014 GLOBAL RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
· May 17-18: Barbados, Top Gear Festival.
· June 7: Austin, X-Games.
· June 21-22: Washington.
· July 19-20: New York.
· July 25-26: Charlotte.
· August 2-3: Detroit.
· August 22-23: Daytona.
· September 19-20: San Pedro.
· September 26-27: Seattle.
· November 5: Las Vegas.
Photo: New Zealand’s Emma Gilmour flies over a jump in her Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster Turbo at the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship’s (GRC) first round in Barbados this weekend. Photo credit Nigel Browne.