APR: Lynne Champion set for debut in Clipsal

Performance Racing gets a dose of girl power The battle of the sexes in motorsport has generally been a one sided affair. While there has always been a number of women competing at various levels of Australian and international motorsport,...

Performance Racing gets a dose of girl power

The battle of the sexes in motorsport has generally been a one sided affair. While there has always been a number of women competing at various levels of Australian and international motorsport, it has never been to the same quantities as their male counterparts.

At next weekend's Clipsal 500, the Australian Performance Car Championship will get its own dose of girl power, with Lynne Champion set to join the fray.

Champion, a celebrity chef and entrepreneur who now runs the Fairways Guesthouse in Victoria, took the plunge into motorsport in 2004 - at 50 years of age, a time in life where many are starting to opt away from motorsport.

Competing in the Australian Production Car Championship aboard a Ford Falcon, Lynne attacked the year with enthusiasm and determination and improved her results throughout the season.

Now, ready to make her Australian Performance Car Championship debut, Champion is under no illusions.

"I think it's a big move up for me to go from one year of Production into Australian Performance," she said. "I know I'm up against some serious drivers who have a lot of experience, so I'm definitely the new kid on the block as they say. We just want to get more experience in the car and build up my times which will be a bit more slowly and surely initially."

Champion will drive a Mitsubishi EVO VIII Lancer, previously driven by Steve Knight and Mark King. The car will be prepared by one of the most experienced and respected engineers in the business, Alan Heaphy.

"I'm going from a Ford to a Mitsubishi Evo so that's a big change, having driven the Ford last year, we have only done one test day at Mallala about a week ago. We need a lot more time in the car to be very comfortable with the car.

"I did enjoy the test drive, it's a much easier car to drive than the Ford, its just going to take some time to really get used to it, but I did enjoy it a lot that very much. It responds very well, it's easier to drive and it should be a lot of fun and very exciting as well."

As Champion continues to learn her racing craft, she will be looking to draw upon the extensive experience of Alan Heaphy.

"I am very happy to be hooked up with Alan Heaphy who is very well respected in the motorsport world, for him to take me on as well, is also a great compliment. He really, really knows his stuff and I think we will have a great relationship together. He is also excited about the idea of working with a female, which he has never done before, so he is looking forward to the year as well."

While the car and competition are unchartered territory for Champion, the Adelaide circuit will be one thing she won't have to worry about learning on March 17-20. The Adelaide Parklands was the scene of Champion's racing debut, 12 months ago.

"I'm very excited about being at Clipsal. I did race there last year and came home with a trophy so it ended up being a very good experience for me for my very first race. Because it was my very first race, I went there being reasonably nervous about the whole thing, but we got through the whole weekend quite nicely.

"I actually really liked it, I liked the circuit, it's tricky in a few different places and if you do have an off you can be in some trouble, but it's a very good circuit, I'm looking forward to driving there again.

"I think the whole hype of the Clipsal event is great as well. Adelaide is such a beautiful city; the weather is lovely and the excitement surrounding the event is fantastic."

Lynne Champion and the rest of the Australian Performance Car field will kick off their 2005 season at the Clipsal 500, Adelaide, on March 17-20.

-www.performanceracing.net.au

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