Londonderry teenager Jessica Martin has made waves in the NSW Series X3 having finished fifth across the field.
The series is an entry level category for Hyundai Excel Series X3 race vehicles.
Martin began racing go-karts in 2015 at the Combined Districts Club in Lithgow, beginning in the Junior National Light and then moving to KA3 Senior Light at 16-years-old.
After racing go-karts for three years she made the jump to car racing and started competing immediately at just 19-years-old.
She decided to make the switch as go-karts became too expensive and her dad, Lindsay, knew Glen Manning was selling an Excel car that had previously won the Series X3.
Lindsay works on the car regularly, which provides Martin with the best opportunity to win.
The switch saw Martin have to learn about tracks in different ways to what she’s used too.
She needs to review footage to know when to change gears and the best way to take each corner.
She raced in all seven rounds of the 2018 NSW Series X3.
Despite not finishing three rounds due to crashes or car troubles, Martin still managed to finish fifth overall out of 41 competitors.
Martin said she finds racing great fun. “It’s an adrenaline rush… I like sticking it to the boys,” she said.
She had a great year in placings as she ranked the highest rookie of the series and was awarded Rookie of the Year.
“It was pretty cool, I really wasn’t expecting it at all,” Martin said.
“It’s nice to feel recognised … we want to win next year so it gives us that extra confidence.”
The series is in its fourth year and currently features two girls with another to join next year.
Martin is looking forward to future challenges, “I want to push myself to be better, I’m looking forward to it ,” she said.
“I didn’t think I’d do as good as I did, but there is still room to room.”
Mum, Gillian, believes, “Jess is very technical in her racing...much smoother than other racers.”
“I’m not as cocky as a lot of the other racers,” said Martin.
“But I need to improve my reading of my car and to be more aggressive earlier.”
She has received sponsorship from G&W Bathroom Renovations, Truckmate, Bird in Hand and Space Grill in just her first year of racing.
She hopes to take racing as far as she can, but also studies primary school education full-time at university knowing that racing is a difficult sport to reach a professional level in.
She is looking to further improve her overall driving ability and win the Series X3, as well as potentially race with professional driver John Bauer as a partner.
Martin will be racing in the series as well as some interstate competitions in 2019, and will also compete for team NSW in an Excel support class of the Bathurst Hi-Tech Oils 6-hour in April.
“For me, to finish Bathurst is an achievement in itself,” she laughed.
Martin will start her 2019 season on February 2 at Wakefield Park Raceway.