Christie Doran, 17, from Carron in Falkirk.
Full-time student, and part-time worker at ProBowl in Falkirk.
Last year, Ginetta issued a challenge for a complete non-driver to learn how to drive and how to race. If you passed your race licence and got up to the right standard, they would provide a race car for the Knockhill round of the British Ginetta Junior championships.
We went for it. We had just seven months. I was taught the basics of how to drive my On-Board Training at Ingliston, then started race training at Knockhill and Croft.
I passed my race licence with a couple of weeks to spare and I lined up for qualifying in front of a 12,000 crowd at Knockhill. I finished my first ever race 13th out of 15. Then my second race was live on TV. Unfortunately, that ended prematurely on the grass at the bottom of Duffus Dip.
It was very scary, but really good fun. I got quicker every time I went out and I had caught the bug. I was desperate to do more races.
I got my provisional driving licence in March, but did a full season in the Scottish Classic Sports And Saloons in the TR8 Squadron. They are based in Falkirk, and I was driving a Triumph TR8 that was 19 years older than me!
The Scottish Sun wanted to prove you didn’t have to spend a fortune to go racing. I had to find a five-figure budget for the season. Then we were ready to go racing.
We had a couple of delays, but the team did a great job. It was a bit tight before the first race. I did my first couple of laps on the Friday, four more on Saturday as we sorted a gearbox problem, then it was qualifying on Sunday.
I finished race one 17th out of 25 in race one and 18th in race two on a wet track.
I improved steadily throughout the year – getting my laps times down by five seconds. That put me in the middle of pack and I was breaking into the top ten overall until I had a fairly big crash in the BTCC round at Knockhill. I shortened the car by two inches after going face-first into the wall and it shook my confidence a little – especially as I had my driving test two days later.
But I passed that and got back on track as well – a finish in the penultimate race of the season was enough to secure second place in the E class in my debut season.
I was delighted but also disappointed because a blown clutch in the last race meant I finished tenth overall instead of seventh.
I got well done messages from the likes of Le Mans winner Allan McNish, Grand-Am star Robin Liddell, World Endurance LMP2 champ Ryan Dalziel, BTCC champion Gordon Shedden and new F1 star Susie Wolff. Indy500 champ Dario Franchitti even came to look at the car and chat to me at Knockhill. They are all watching how I get on which is pretty cool.
I get a lot of messages from the public as well because I did a weekly diary in The Scottish Sun highlighting how I got on and ways to get involved in racing, things to think about – like insurance. I will be doing that again next season.
I also started a ChristieDoranRacing Facebook page and have a Twitter account.
But one thing doesn’t change. It wouldn’t matter whether I was female or male, I just want to get better each time I go out. I still have so little experience compared to people who have had years of karting , but I can compete and I have fun.
I know some girls get a tough time racing, but the guys have been great with me. They have helped me learn and don’t take it badly if I get past them.
There are a few women racing in Scotland, but it would be great to have more.
I am looking at my plans for 2013. We have a couple of great proposals, but it always comes down to money. I know I will be on the grid next year.