The future of motorsport undoubtedly involves electrification, and the new generations of race drivers are very clear about it. We recently told you all about the NxtGen on a previous article, with some extraordinary electric MINI as a springboard for the youngest drivers.
Kate Turner has just turned 19 and she is one of the 4 female race drivers in this new championship.
Just 4 female drivers but you are 4 more than other championships, right?
– Yes, there are not many championships that feature both male and female drivers together. Having 3 other female drivers around me has been especially great. The NXT Gen organizers are really keen on having more female drivers on the grid, which is a great thing to see, as many don’t get this chance in other championships.
Kate, you were trained thanks to the Formula Woman program, please tell us how the experience was.
– My time with Formula Woman has been great. They have been supportive of me and gave me all the help they can to push me further into the motorsport world. They gave me advice on sponsorship, how the motorsport industry works and what to look out for.
What difference do you see between the Katie from before Formula Woman and the current one?
– I have seen a massive difference in myself over this past year. I first came into motorsports officially just over a year ago. When I first joined, I was never nervous in the car – I have always been confident behind the wheel. But my confidence out of the car has grown. If you ask my friends and family, they would say I am shy or reserved normally, but when I am at a track (for a track day or race day) I am a completely different person and I will happily talk to anyone.
There is always someone who inspires you in a certain way during your professional career; family, other athletes, some historical champions… do you think there is someone like that in your life?
– For anyone who has followed along with my races, they would know my race number is #14. I picked that number because of Fernando Alonso. I would say he is my biggest motorsport inspiration. I have also been inspired by many women within motorsports such as Susie Wolff, all the W series and F1 Academy girls – and of course all the drivers within Formula Woman.
What type of training do you usually do to prepare yourself physically or mentally? Do you have any ritual before starting a race?
– I have a playlist I always listen to before a race. I just pace up and down before I get in the car whilst listening to songs. I also always speak with my engineers before I get in the car just to get some last-minute advice and support.
Many current pilots are also into gaming or e-sports. Do you use any simulator? Are you into gaming in general?
– Yes! I love gaming. Preparing for a race weekend I always get some time on the simulator, practicing the track I will next be driving on.
I also play many other games, my favorites being the Uncharted series and The Last of Us series. I currently play on both PC and PS5.
What has been your relationship with MINI so far?
-Minis are definitely some of my favorite cars. My normal road car is a dark blue Mini One. I always name my cars. My road car is called Rory, it is named after a children’s TV show called Rory the Racing Car. My race car is called Vernon which is a joke between me and my best friend. I do really love Mini’s; I am also looking to buy another one to convert into my own track car.
“My favourite memory has been racing at the Nürburgring with DTM. I shed a tear walking onto track for the first time, it was overwhelming in a good way“
Although we are still in the first year and we are practically starting the Championship, what can you tell me about the NXTGen? What are your first impressions?
– NXT Gen has honestly really surprised me. With it being a brand-new championship, I was nervous joining as I couldn’t research it. However, I thought ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ and I just went for it. I am really happy that I did.
I really think that it is a championship that will take off and gain a lot more attention in the future. Not only is it exciting to watch, but it is also something that hasn’t been done before. The championship also teaches us behind the scenes, between all 18 drivers on the grid, we all share data and onboard footage and learn from each other, as well as that I feel the engineers have been impressive with teaching us behind the scenes.
This electric MINI looks impressive. What differences have you been able to see compared to driving a traditional car? Is there anything that has surprised you?
– The electric MINI has really exceeded my expectations. Of course, there are the obvious differences between and electric car and a traditional car. They have been really smooth to drive, and they handle incredibly well on track. One thing that has surprised me with these cars is how loud they are. Outside watching – I assume since I’ve not actually watched them race from outside of the car – they are really quiet; they obviously don’t have the roar that a traditional race car would have. However, inside the cars it is totally different. They are so incredibly loud, so that is one thing that has surprised me about these cars.
“As much as it has been an enjoyable experience, it has also been a really difficult time for me. NXT Gen has been my first ever championship, with it being outside of the UK and being alone for the majority of my races it has been incredibly stressful and really dragged me out of my comfort zone, but this has also taught me a lot.“
The NXTGenCup has led you to compete in several countries. What do you think the international experience is giving you?
– Racing across Sweden and Germany has been insanely fun. My favourite part has been meeting new people and making friends that come from many different countries. Racing internationally has also give me so much travel experience. Up until this championship, I have never travelled alone so I have stepped out of my comfort zone.
As much as it has been an enjoyable experience, it has also been a really difficult time for me. NXT Gen has been my first ever championship, with it being outside of the UK and being alone for the majority of my races it has been incredibly stressful and really dragged me out of my comfort zone, but this has also taught me a lot. As the season has progressed, I have learnt to manage myself and the stress better each time.
There are also many positive experiences I have had racing internationally, such as the tracks. A lot of them have been very technical so I have managed to improve my skills. I have also been given the chance to race at one of my dream circuits – the Nürburgring! Not only that, but we were also there supporting DTM, something I didn’t think would happen this early into my racing career.
What has been your best memory so far in this championship? Do you have an anecdote or a funny story that you would like to share with us?
– My favourite memory has been racing at the Nürburgring with DTM. Even though that weekend didn’t go to plan for me as I suffered a mechanical issue, the experience itself was enough. I shed a tear walking onto track for the first time, it was overwhelming in a good way. I also signed my first ever autograph there! It was a strange feeling having people ask ME for an autograph.
Another fun memory I have had is also spending time with other drivers between sessions. We spend most of the time in the square playing games with bean bags, or just talking and joking about with each other. Once a bean bag war happened in the square between some of the drivers which was very funny. We are competitive with each other on and off track.
On a sporting level, what are your goals in the medium and long term? Do you see yourself competing in any other category?
– I aim to be in racing as long as possible, as a driver and an engineer. One day I would love to try out single seater racing, however, I really love touring cars. So, my main goal in racing would be making my way into British Touring Car.
I’m sure there is a different Katie Turner outside of racing. What do you do when you’re not competing? (Studies, hobbies…)
– On and off track I feel that I am quite different. Last year, I studied forensic science and criminology but in September I will be going to university to study motorsport engineering – which is why I value every minute with my engineers at NXT Gen. Around racing and my studies I also work within the NHS on the administration side.
I also love spending time with my dog, my family, and my friends. I enjoy art and gaming which I normally do with my little sister, Beth. I also like to binge watch TV shows, my favorite’s being, Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds, I am currently making my way through Desperate Housewives.
And now we are over the finish line, so let’s do 10 MINI-questions. Take it as if it were a race and try to answer as fast as you can.
1. Favorite movie?
I have three that I can’t decide between. Cars, Beetlejuice, and Labyrinth
2. Preferred circuit?
Croft Circuit 100%
3. Dream trip?
Monaco to watch the F1 GP.
4. Name a song you love.
Smooth Operator by Sade
5. If you didn’t drive a MINI, would it be a…?
Easy! A Porsche GT3 RS, in emerald, green.
6. A feeling behind the wheel in one word.
7. A friend in NXT Gen?
Too many to name just one, Greaham Hofmans, Filip Bartos, Louise Larsson, and Siri Hokfelt
8. Recommend me a book.
The starless sea by Erin Morgenstern
9. Who do you think we should interview next?
Frederik Lestrup – Co founder of NXT Gen
10. A wish for 2024
Get my own track car, a MINI of course
Thank you so much Kate, is there anything you want to say to the motorsport fans?
– Keep watching and keep supporting. Anyone who thinks it is too late to get into motorsport it is not, I started at 18 and if you really want it, you can have it.
We wish you the best of success in your sports career and above all, that you enjoy what you are doing every day!