Charlie Martin dreamed of a return to LeMans and on Thursday her dream lived with a strong podium finish. | Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Media

This year’s 24 Hours of LeMans has racing analysts and fans excited about the prospects for the 92nd edition being the most competitive in decades, and perhaps even the best LeMans ever. The largest crop of legendary manufacturers since the 1960s and 70s and a wave of accomplished drivers are converging on historic French circuit this week.

Racing on one of the support series, longtime British endurance racer Charlie Martin returns to this hallowed ground after seven-year absence. She is still fueled by her dream to go twice around the clock with the azure-salmon-cream banner of transgender pride in hand.

She and Lamborghini Super Trofeo teammate Jason Keats of Canada piloted their Brutal Fish Racing Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 to second place in the LB Cup class in Race 1 of their round at LeMans Thursday afternoon.

Keats opened the 45-minute event with solid stint to hold their fifth-place starting position in class. Martin took over at halfway and showed the distance her and Keats have traveled in their third season in the series. She gamely marched through the class field and moved up to second on the race’s final lap to yield the teams best finish since Keats deftly played a rain strategy to grab a storm-shortened win in the season opener at Imola, Italy, in April.

Their second place at LeMans gives them big points toward the season title, where the Brutal Fish duo currents sits in third place as they head to Race 2 on Saturday, prior to the start of the 24 Hours.

Martin, shown earlier in the season at Imola, have been fast all season and Thursday’s effort boost the team’s standing in a contentious points fight (Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Media)

Thursday’s finish is refreshing cleanse of the palette for Martin and a testament to her determination. Prior to the start of the season, she looked back on the frustrations and near misses as she fought to get back to perhaps her favorite place in motorsports.

“I’ve been saying Le Mans is the goal for a long time but ultimately it’s a really hard thing to do, when you don’t have a big pot of money to finance your career,” she told Outsports in March. “I was due to be driving in the support race there in 2019. Unfortunately, that year my season didn’t pan out the way I had seen it going. People who said they were going to support me didn’t.”

Getting back to LeMans and having success was also ray of light amid the difficult reality that transgender people with a sporting dream are facing right now in Martin’s home in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

“With all the negativity and discrimination happening against trans people in sport and society,” Martin said Thursday via facebook, “To stand on the podium at one of the greatest racing events in the World right now as an out and proud transgender woman fills me with emotion.”