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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Aimee Watts claims victory on return to the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship

Updated: Mar 19

It was an excellent opening weekend for Aimee Watts, who asserted herself as a club class championship contender in the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship after claiming one victory and two runner-up finishes at Silverstone in both wet and dry conditions.

Aimee Watts, Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship, Silverstone 2024
Photo credits: BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup

Aimee Watts asserted herself as a club class championship contender in the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship after claiming one victory and two runner-up finishes at Silverstone. After qualifying third, Aimee’s race pace was excellent in both wet and dry conditions to claim a hat-trick of podium finishes in the club class, with a best overall result of 14th coming in race three.

Watts returned to the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship following an excellent debut season in which she finished fourth in the overall club class standings. Throughout the season, Aimee developed as a driver which saw her step onto the podium four times, with these results all coming in the second half of the season. The penultimate round of the championship at Donington Park was a particular highlight as Watts scored two podium finishes, including a runner-up result in race three, with her first ever fastest lap coming in race two.

In addition to her full campaign in the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship, Aimee has previously competed for her father’s team, Patrick Watts Racing, in both the Miata Trophy and the Silverlake C1 Endurance series. Branching out into historic racing, Watts has also raced a classic Mini Cooper in both the Classic Sports Car Club Mintex Classic K series and in the Jack Sears Trophy at Goodwood. Aimee’s experience of both classic and modern racing provides her with ideal preparation as she targets the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship club class title in 2024.

Qualifying opened the weekend on Saturday with dry conditions at Silverstone. It was a session of great improvement for Aimee who chipped away at her lap time despite the majority of her laps being without the help of a tow. Setting her fastest time on the final lap of the session, Watts’ 1:18.785 placed her third in the club class, 19th overall in a strong 27 car field which included reigning champion Aiden Hills and four-time British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington.

Lining up on the tenth row of the grid for race one, Aimee dropped one position at the initial start to complete lap one fourth in the club class. Watts was then quickly on the move, overtaking class rival Steve Kite on lap two, before moving past pro class competitor Alistair Dendy a lap later. The nature of the Silverstone International layout made for extremely close racing, with positions changing hand multiple times a lap.

Aimee’s race craft was on full display as she made a pass on Ollie Hall to move into club class runner-up position. After setting her personal best lap time, Watts enjoyed a fantastic battle with Kite as the pair traded second, while class leader Wilbur Tiley currently out of reach. Coming out on top, Aimee was secure in runner-up position as the second half of the race commenced.

On lap nine, an incident involving Tiley and Will Blackwell-Chambers brought out the red flag with Watts now assuming the class lead. Due to a lengthy clean-up required, the race was not restarted with Aimee claiming victory in the club class and a top-15 overall finish.

Race two on Sunday morning brought a change in weather with wet track conditions at Silverstone. Watts lined up 20th on the grid, fourth in the club class, with the driver’s second fastest time in qualifying used to set the grid for race two. With the two drivers involved in the red flag incident from Saturday absent, Aimee was initially promoted to 18th.

Making an excellent start, Watts gained four overall positions on the opening lap while also claiming the club class lead. Her pace was further evidenced by being tucked behind Colin Turkington as the drivers began lap two.

After slipping to second in the club class behind Ollie Hall on lap two, the following lap saw the deployment of the safety car. When racing resumed, Watts held second in class before a small issue on lap seven saw her lose time to the drivers ahead. Now 18th overall, third in class, Aimee’s lap times stabilised and this saw her set to claim a second podium finish of the weekend.

On the 13th and final lap of the twenty-minute contest, her result improved further when club class rival Kamal Kalsi found the gravel trap just corners before the checkered flag. This enabled Watts to claim the second step on the club class podium, while securing 16th position overall.

The grid for race three was based off the results of race two, with Aimee lining up 16th overall, second in the club class. Conditions had improved which saw a predominantly dry track, with damp patches off-line. It was another confident start from Watts who gained one overall position on the opening lap, before moving into 13th on lap two following a spin for George Grant.

Lap three saw Turkington make his way past, with fellow pro class runner Martin Tolley also following him through. The middle portion of Aimee’s race featured a fantastic three-way battle between Watts, Tolley and Kamal Kalsi, with Watts dropping to the rear of the trio on lap ten. On lap 11, a crash involving Kalsi led to the red flag being displayed with Aimee ending her weekend with a 15th place overall result, second in the club class to complete a hat-trick of podium finishes.

It was an excellent opening weekend for Watts who has continues to develop as a driver with each passing weekend. Her race pace was particularly impressive as she came out on top in a number of close battles to collect a large haul of championship points.

Aimee will be aiming to continue her strong start to the season when the Clapham North MOT Mazda MX-5 Championship visits Snetterton on the weekend of 6th-7th April.



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