Bia Martins establishes female presence in HRacing Cup launch at Interlagos
The newly-launched Brazilian touring cars series HRacing Cup made its debut with Bia Martins on the grid - at her full-time debut in touring cars.
Last weekend marked the debut of a new touring car series in Brazil, the HRacing Cup - based on the Hyundai HB20 machine. The first round took place at Interlagos Circuit, in São Paulo, with two races between April 14th and 18th. And among the 22 cars on the grid, at the wheel of the HB20 #555 was Bia Martins, a 26-year-old driver, who was also making her debut in a full season of touring car racing.
Coming from a family with a long presence in national competitions, Bia Martins has a wide experience in the Brazilian karting scene, where she has collected many trophies and victories since she was 9 years old. In recent years, Martins took part of the all-female FIA Girls On Track team, alongside Antonella Bassani, Cecília Rabelo, Gabriela Mesa and Thaline Chicoski, in the 2022 Brazilian Endurance Championship where they finished in 8th place.
But her first ever experience in a touring cars race was in the final round of the Shell HB20 Cup in 2021, where she had the opportunity to drive a similar machine to the one currently used in the HRacing Cup. Now, after moving from her hometown João Pessoa to São Paulo - as she looks for new racing opportunities, Bia Martins was rewarded with a seat on the newly-launched national series.
HRacing's inaugural season was underway on a wet Interlagos. Race 1 was marked by a few incidents on the first laps, due to the slippery conditions - which also caused the safety car to be deployed twice. Having little time to train in between the announcement of her participation in the category to the qualifying session, Bia Martins started in 21st place and showed a great performance throughout the race, with a consistent run clear of troubles. She crossed the finish line in P14 overall - 6th in rookie class - which earned her the first 2 points in the championship.
On Sunday morning the track conditions were better, and Bia Martins started the second race from P12. When the lights went out, she lost a few positions into the tricky turn 1 - Senna's S, dropping to 20th. On-track action was neutralized for a few laps when an incident involving the cars #11 and #55 brought out the safety car. It was then up to Martins to do the recovery work over the remainder of the race and she did manage to finish in 18th place - 9th among the rookies.
"It took me a long time to get used to the car's brakes and it took a toll on my confidence. I needed to trust the car more to be able to be more aggressive." - said Bia Martins.
"But it was a round that served as training and a way of adapting to the car. Now it's time to focus on the next ones!" - she concluded, aiming for the next round, which will also be held in Interlagos, on June 18.