Jade Goodwin – from go-kart queen to Fiesta motorsport icon

11th June 2024

Posted on Categories LifestyleTags , , ,

A career-charting story by the female motorsport ace who made a childhood dream a reality. Here, she writes about her inspiration and supporters.

I developed an interest in racing at a noticeably early age and my love of motorsport began through my dad. Growing up, I was fascinated by the speed, precision and thrill of motorsport with F1 often on the TV. As a girl, I remember the hum of the engines every Sunday.

Dad was only allowed access to the TV if he did the ironing at the same time (Mum’s clever rule), myself in the washing basket he’d emptied, with a rolled-up tea towel for a pillow, knocking back a bottle of juice.

Years later, for my dad’s birthday, my brother would give him tickets to the BTCC race at Oulton Park. During this day, I got to walk through an actual race paddock, something I would later do most weekends. The smell of rubber filled the air, the vibrations through my feet, a ripple of wind hit me, the lights went out and the cars disappeared into a low hum elsewhere on the circuit. I looked at my dad and he just smiled back at me knowingly. (He would never financially recover from this.)

My first taste of in-seat racing came from go-karting, a common entry point for many professional racers. On a shoestring budget, I started my racing career at 11 years old, visiting my local indoor kart track ‘Fast Lane Karting’ where I began to dominate the monthly championship and single-handedly killing the business as no grown man wanted to be beaten by a ‘little girl’. It soon became time to buy my own kart.

We hit the track, mostly for ‘fun’ days. Soon the track owner, Bob, noticed my speed and recommended that I enter their ‘Indy’ kart series. On my first outdoor race, it began to rain. My dad lovingly in the past told me that the track was ‘closed’ when it rained so I had never driven in the wet before. In a rush, we brought wet tires – knowing zero about set up and engine changes – to race my first wet lap under race conditions. The race was extremely fun, although I did not have a wetsuit so, after each race, I was sat in a puddle, the water pushing its way under my helmet and up my nose. I finished second that day and I knew this would never end.

Struggling with my mental health due to being a victim of sexual assault in my early teens, my career motorsport has been my focus and rock. Motorsport is brutal and often competing as the only girl on circuit, it has not been easy. It is the love and my passion which drives me through life and every tribulation.

I jumped into the F100 ‘Formula A’ series in a demo run. My kart was borrowed and built at the track that weekend. I went on to win the British Open Championship, taking the O from the dominant driver in the series – my greatest triumph to date. Winning that race sent a statement to the paddock and I still compete in the series today. This statement was received by my teammate, Simon Nicholson, whom to quote sais he “saw Jade do things in karts that he couldn’t believe” over the course of that season. Simon has 47 years of karting experience and was a huge aid with his wealth of knowledge and support both off and on track.

One evening before a race, we grabbed a team dinner as we often did, and I said that it was hard to see drivers I have beat now winning formula two races and making careers in motorsport due to finances. The theme of the evening was “why not me?” I did not know it then, but Simon began to produce a plan.

A few months later, I was stepping up to race the cars of my childhood dreams. My first day’s testing on a car circuit felt alien. I had raced karts and held my road licence for years but to finally take a car to the limit, and to drive on a long circuit, was a feeling I didn’t know I was missing until I experienced it. I felt the meaning of the word equilibrium.

Simon was monumental in securing sponsorship and, without him, I would not be in this magazine, having the opportunity to have an episode on the Different Hats Podcast with Sam Thomas, be on the track or speaking at Best of British Events with Faye White.

Later, I was strapping into a Fiesta ST150 for my first race at Snetterton in the Vinyl Detail Challenge. Growing up watching racing my whole life, for it to be me I could not even fathom. Then came Silverstone GP and Oulton Park. The track that started it all, whilst still on novice plates, I finished p9 securing my first top ten finish in my third race.

Soon after this, I was approached by SBR Motorsport, the championship winning team, to sign with them for the 2024 season. Then followed by Silverstone National learning more. This season opened at Brands Hatch Indy. Following these two races, with a top ten start at the second-round croft, the season so far has been a tough one, with limited budget and extra costs in engine failure my testing program was unfulfilled due to race weekend costs with my season marked by unfortunate unavoidable contact and hitting oil.

I cannot thank my team, Simon, my father David and all my sponsors, Matt from Optimize Web Trends and Paige Collins from Warren House Accountants who allowed me to drive her Fisher fury Hillclimb car with her as a passenger at Brands Hatch. Thanks also to Sam Thomas who gave me the opportunity to appear on his podcast, Different Hats, and this magazine! He also allowed me to scare him to death as my passenger at Goodwood circuit. Other thanks must go to Paul Addison from DevAssist, Eloise Jenner from Skerritt’s Wealth Management, Chris Flynn from Mars Jones Limited, Hayley Hubble from Coach and Consult, Ryan Heal from Best of British Events, and Driven Minds, who support mental health issues within the motorsport industry, who I am a proud ambassador for.

I am still looking for more sponsors to join this team, journey, and my story through the motorsport world. If this is something you feel would represent your company and own values, positive brand goals, association, awareness, exclusivity, and differentiation, you are welcome to get in contact and drive my career further and your own direct social impact.

Looking forward to pushing the limits and seeing how the rest of the Fiesta season goes!

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