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Costello get the car racing bug with HRDC

Costello get the car racing bug with HRDC

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Maria Costello MBE got her four-wheel racing season underway with two races in a ‘Works’ HRDC Austin A30 ‘Academy’ racer at the Historic Racing Drivers Club event at Silverstone on Easter Sunday.

The Northamptonshire racer is better known for her motorcycle road racing but in recent seasons has branched out into other forms of motorsport with sidecar racing and now historic car racing. 

Representing the HRDC in the Works Academy Austin A30, run by Westbourne Motorsport, Costello succeeded in her aim of taking her first chequered-flag in a car race, something that had eluded her in her first brief taste of historic car racing in last year’s Austin A35 celebrity challenge at the Silverstone Classic meeting after her car broke down at the start. 

Sunday morning was busy with the process of being introduced for the first time to the A30 car she would race, getting signed on, scrutineered, fitted to the car and then heading straight out for a fierce qualifying session for the Coys Trophy alongside almost 40 cars on very short National Circuit. A second chance to improve her time in the Allstars Race qualifying session ended when the throttle broke on the out lap.

That failed to dent her confidence and in her first race she went almost two seconds faster on her out lap than in qualifying and improved by a further second as she completed her 18-lap stint and the first half of the Coys Trophy race before handing over to teammate James Colburn. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire after the car developed a small mechanical problem.

Then it was Costello’s turn to run solo in the 30-minute HRDC ‘Allstars’ race and, among an eclectic field of Mustangs, Lotus Cortinas and classic Alfa Romeos, she improved yet again to a commendable 1min 27.841secs and after 21 laps took that long-awaited chequered flag in 34th place. 

A beaming Costello summed up the day’s events: “Of course I’ve a lot to learn, it’s so different but all in the HRDC paddock have made it such a great and welcoming place to learn and it’s been such a brilliant day. It feels great to have two car races under my belt. I need to thank HRDC Race Director Julius Thurgood for organising this opportunity, the team at Westbourne Motorsport, especially my mechanic Andy Nash, plus James and Ben Colburn for all their driving advice. Not least a special mention goes to the HRDC racers, all of whom have made it a fantastic day. I’ve definitely got the historic car racing bug and I can’t wait for round two, which will be at the Donington Historic Festival 4-6 May!