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Category: Trofeo Abarth 500 GB

Cassey WatsonLunar Racing’s teenage female racing driver, Cassey Watson, continued her streak of scoring a podium in every vehicle she has ever driven at Snetterton when she finished 2nd in the 8th round of the 2010 Zing Trofeo Abarth 500 GB driving her Thames Abarth of Slough backed Abarth 500 Assetto Course.

However it was education that was the real winner on the day with the car being run by 3 of the teams new 14 year old students over seen by one of the projects 17 year old graduates,

Lunar Racing, based at Rockingham Speedway in Corby, are not the usual motorsport race team! Of course like every other team when they enter a Championship they are there to win. However the team’s main goal is teaching!

Lunar Racing works with 14-18 year old school children to build and maintain real racing cars which compete against professional racing teams in professional championships. The desision to enter the Trofeo in 2010 was taken in order to prove that the projects students are capable of competing against some of the most successful teams in British Motorsport.

High quality lessons are at the heart of everything they do, but then they can’t afford to do anything less. When a racing car has to brake from 150 mph before taking a hairpin bend at the limit of its tyres’ grip, every component has to be fitted and maintained correctly. As a result of this, their students are the best in the world. Leaving their two year programme with a full level 2 qualification worth 5 GCSE A*-C grades, and an ability to work under pressure and to deadlines unique in the educational system.

The team now move on to Silverstone where the Trofeo races as part of the prestigous Silverstone Classic, July 23rd – 25th where 18 year old Cassey will be looking to continue stepping onto the podium.

Cassey WatsonOver the Easter weekend Evesham’s Thames’ backed female driver Cassey Watson helped make history at Oulton Park, when she took part in the first ever Abarth 500 race series in Great Britain.

Cassey had only driven her car in wet conditions prior to the race meeting and with heavy rain forecast for the entire weekend she was feeling very confident. However the forecast couldn’t have been more wrong and the circuit remained dry for the entire time turning the event into a learning experience for the team.

Problems with the timing transponder in qualifying meant Cassey had to pit to fix it which left her in 10th on the grid.

Despite Watson’s limited testing in the Abarth, she was quick to demonstrate her driver-talent early on in the first race (round 1) after managing to claw back six places to take up fourth position during the third lap. However with the track temperature rising the lack of dry testing started to have an effect and she eventually finished eighth, with clear signs that both driver and car have more to give, which bodes well for the season.

“When you look at the drivers who have registered for the GB series, it’s clear to see just how competitive this series will be,” explained Watson.

“Overall, I thought there were a lot of positives to take from Saturday’s race, particularly as it’s only the fourth time I have been out in the car, and the first real opportunity I have been able to drive in dry conditions.”

“I’m pleased that I managed to record a best time of 200.320, which is over a second faster than my best qualifying lap time. But I know that I have more to give and, with a bit more testing and tweaking to the car, I feel that there’s good scope to make up the additional couple of seconds over the course of the next race meeting at Silverstone (17/18 April) to place me in sight of the leading pack,” added Watson.

On Monday, a tyre failure caused by the hard chicanes at Oulton Park forced Watson to limp the car back to finish in 10th place – despite once again managing to break into the top 5 for some of the race and taking another second off her laptimes, after starting 8th on the grid.

Ex BTCC driver Gareth Howell won both inaugural rounds of the Zing Trofeo Abarth 500 GB to currently top the driver championship.

Cassey WatsonPremier Abarth franchise dealer Thames has confirmed 18-year-old female driver Cassey Watson to steer its race entry in this year’s Zing Trofeo Abarth 500 GB race series.

Worcestershire-based Watson,, who has already recorded a string of podium finishes while competing at junior level, was officially unveiled as Thames’ drive-partner at the Abarth GB 500 media day held at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday (24 March 2010).

Despite her younger years she will be eager to break through the glass ceiling of what is still a very male dominated sport, when she takes to the wheel of Thames’ 1.4-litre 197bhp Abarth Asetto Corse race car over the Easter weekend at Oulton Park, Cheshire.

The bank holiday weekend also signals the traditional start to the motorsport calendar, with the start of the new Abarth 500 GB (first round) set to showcase alongside the British Formula 3 and the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

“It’s a great opportunity for me personally – as well as to be part of a Thames’ team who share my vision,” says Watson. “What’s more, the Abarth 500 GB series provides the opportunity to complete in a high-profile race series, yet be on a level playing field – something that has eluded me until now.

“Prior to the media day, I had only driven the Abarth Asetto race car once before, but although Wednesday [media day] wasn’t a dedicated testing day at Cadwell Park, I can see why the car is so popular among consumers. It handles superbly.

“As a driver, it’s not often that you get the opportunity to drive a car that is essentially a road car, but has been modified for the race circuit; as well as this one. The Abarth Asetto Corse is a terrific car – certainly one of the best-converted road cars I’ve come across. I’m looking forward to racing against the likes of Gareth Howell and Ben Winrow,” she added.

Sanjay Sobte, Managing Director for Thames, said: “When we were looking to confirm our position into this year’s competition, Cassey came highly recommended from a number of respected sources within the motorsport arena, which is not only testament to her success at junior level, but her character and competitive nature.

“Cassey was the youngest student ever to be accepted onto the Government’s advanced apprenticeship for sporting excellence [in motorsport], which is quite an accolade in itself. Her hard work will now see that she receives the utmost technical support from Thames’ engineers to enable her to compete fairly against other more established drivers – some of who have had experience at Le Mans and on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) circuit. All told, the Abarth 500 GB is primed to be a very interesting race series,” added Sobte.