Karting is where most drivers start with it being the gateway into other series. Marta Garcia is one of Spain’s best young prospects in motorsport having raced in World Series Karting, European and Spanish Karting Championships, Formula 4 and next season is hoping to be racing GT cars. She has also worked with the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission who she recently spent 2 days with for a driver assessment programme along with 14 other female drivers from around the world. She told me about this, her difficult racing career and returning to the podium.
As a young child, Marta participated in a range of sports, playing many different activities. However, when she started karting at the age of 10, it quickly became clear that this was what she excelled at and enjoyed the most. “Since I was small I always practiced sports such as tennis, karate, swimming… and I loved doing any kind of sport, but then once I went in a go-kart, I loved the feeling of the speed and just driving,” she said. The exhilaration of racing had her hooked to motorsport with it soon becoming her main focus. “I guess the feeling I have when I am driving and competing makes it more exciting and different from other sports,” Garcia described.
It was only a year later when Marta’s first victory in racing came when she was competing in one of Spain’s junior categories. “I felt so excited and confident about my other coming races. From that race I thought I could do everything that I proposed as a driver,” she told me. After being successful at local and national levels, Marta began racing on the international scene. Starting in the World Karting Series, it was a difficult transition for her to begin racing against competitors from outside her home country of Spain. “My first international races were difficult, I also had to gain the respect from boys at the track. Race by race my experience improved and I felt stronger at racing so I started getting some good results and made some podiums in the WSK and European championships. So, all of these races and my experience takes me to where I am today,” Marta explained.
It was not long into her racing career that Garcia began contemplating whether motorsport could be an option for her in the long-term. “When I first started and saw that I could be good and it was something that I loved doing, then I thought this could be a racing career. At first, my dream was to get to F1 and be the first woman to win. But then passing the years and trying formulas and GT cars, I realized I enjoy them as well,” she said.
Having already raced in many championships, one of her most recent series has been the most challenging for her. “F4 was new for me and I didn’t have many laps in the car. It was quite challenging as I required experience in this category,” Marta told me. The season didn’t go exactly to plan for her, and so when competing in this year’s Spanish Championships, she fully focused on getting her racing back on track. Only a few weeks ago, Garcia returned to the podium at the 4th race weekend of the 5-event championship. “It really felt so great,” she said. “I felt strong again and my confidence improved after the last season racing in F4 which was not as I expected.” With one race remaining in the championship, Marta’s hoping for a win. In terms of next season, she’s also hoping to find a seat in GT racing, however as with many things in motorsport, it is mostly down to whether she can secure enough financial support.
Support is crucial for young racers and encompasses all aspects including economic, practical and emotional. Garcia has been lucky to receive such backing from the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, with them keen to encourage young female drivers. “They gave me small economic help in karting in 2015 and in the Academy Trophy Championship which I won in 2016. Afterwards they gave me help for racing in F4 in 2017 even if we couldn’t finish the championship because of the economic situation. I am grateful for all the support that they have given me all these years and I admire the job they are doing trying to get more girls involved in this sport and helping the ones who are racing to have more equality,” Marta said. She recently spent 2 days with the Commission who invited her and other women racing in international series for 2 assessment days. Presided over by Michelle Mouton, and Tom Kristensen from the FIA Drivers’ Commission, the Women Drivers Assessment Programme involved other racers such as Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch, Jamie Chadwick and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky. Speaking of the event, she said: “I had so much fun there. It was 2 days of trying Formula Renault 2008 and Porsche Cayman cars. It was great! I was able to meet 14 other girls who are racing nowadays. I think FIA WIM is doing an incredible job with these kind of assessments for girls.”
Marta Garcia’s racing career has not been easy with there being many disappointments along the way. After a difficult F4 season, she’s aiming to get her racing back on track with recent success in the Spanish Karting Championships. With one race remaining in October at Kartodromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero, she’s hoping to finish this year on a high. Along with the Women in Motorsport Commission, she’s intending to inspire other girls and has also recently started driver coaching so she can help the younger generation. Her advice for those wanting to pursue a career in the industry would be: “if it’s something you love doing then do it, and of course you must believe in yourself, sacrifice and train a lot. So, I’d say chase your dreams and never ever give up.”
Heading picture credit: FIA