British endurance racing driver Charlie Martin has campaigned hill climbs, single-seaters and in 2019, she made a bid to be the first transgender race driver to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The effort fell short, due to a lack of sponsorship dollars.
She noted the frustration on the Outsports podcast, “The Trans Sporter Room.” “It’s a sign of what it's like to compete in professional motorsports. It’s difficult,” she said. “But I’ve learned the lessons and now it’s about building a solid platform for next season.”
Through the disappointment, she stayed persistent, and it paid off with a seat for the 2020 season, coronavirus permitting.
Martin announced on her website Wednesday that she will be part of the German-based Adrenalin Motorsports team for the 2020 VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series. She will also have the opportunity to compete in her first 24-hour event, the ADAC Total 24 Hour race at the Nürburgring, September 24-27.
“I am excited to be heading to the Nürburgring. So much work has gone into finding the right opportunity for hard racing in a competitive championship and VLN has everything I am looking for,” Martin exclaimed on her website. “I’m proud to be racing with Adrenalin who have a proven record in this championship, and it has been a great fit from the start. I see them as the perfect partners for my first 24 hour endurance outing and a big step towards my goal of competing at Le Mans.”
Adrenalin Motorsports enters the season as the defending series champion, and seeks to win their third straight series championship. Team principal Matthias Unger noted that Martin has been impressive in testing early on and is quickly making the adjustment from the higher-downforce endurance cars she raced last year, and the BMW M240i racing mount she will run in the season ahead.
“Charlie has already shown her speed and has adapted very quickly to the new car during testing, and we are looking forward to a successful season together,” Unger said.
Unger also noted the intangibles she brings to the team. For most of 2019, Martin didn’t have a ride, but kept racing forward as an activist. As a representative for Racing Pride and as a Stonewall Sports Champion, she continued to press for diversity in racing and speaking out for a trans community in the UK that’s been under siege by political leaders and the mass media.
“For us, Charlie is the whole package and we’re proud to have a LGBT+ woman representing our team both off and on the track in the year ahead,” Unger said. “We are making history together and are excited to be alongside her during her first 24-hour endurance race.”