Continued success for the women of the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup
Sitting at the entry level of the Porsche motorsport ladder in the UK is the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup: discover the five female drivers who have regularly competed in the championship this season.
Celebrating 75 years of Porsche sports cars in 2023, there is arguably no better place to start your racing career than behind the wheel of a Porsche. Sitting at the entry level of the Porsche motorsport ladder in Britain is the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup.
Five female drivers have regularly competed in the championship this season, with Faye Noble-Evans finishing third in the overall standings. Excellent performances have also come from Sarah Thomson, Jessica Wilkinson, Sarah Wood and Zoe Kyle-Henney.
Whereas Faye Noble-Evans and Sarah Thomson came into the season with Porsche racing experience under their belt, Jessica Wilkinson, Sarah Wood and Zoe Kyle-Henney entered the year as racing rookies. This trio all signed up with SW Engineering, an organisation co-founded and owned by Ellie Bartley and Stuart Wallace.
By working together in an all-female team, this allowed the drivers to support each other in what was a challenging, yet rewarding, debut season.
Porsche Club Motorsport took command of the Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup in 2023 and have seen the championship go from strength to strength. With a calendar featuring 14 twenty-five minute races across seven rounds, drivers were give significant track time to hone their craft in equal Porsche Boxster machinery.
The majority of the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup events take place alongside other Porsche championships including the Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and the Eden Porsche Club Motorsport Open Cup & 911 Challenge, offering scope to progress while remaining with the Weissach marque.
Competing at historic circuits such as Silverstone and Brands Hatch, a trip to Anglesey gave the calendar variety and an opportunity to tackle a new circuit which was enjoyed by novice and veteran racers alike.
Faye Noble-Evans has begun to establish herself as a leading light within the Porsche Club Motorsport setup. Entering her first race with the brand in 2021, Faye competed in Class 3 of the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup in 2022. This season has seen Noble-Evans take significant strides forward and as a result, she finished a fantastic third in the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup standings by scoring a total of 331 points after dropped scores.
Faye’s consistency set her apart from the rest of the field, failing to finish in only one race during the entire season with all of her classified results within the top-10. This run of good form begun at the first round at Donington Park where she qualified fifth, before finishing both races inside the top-5. Her only retirement was to come in race two on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, with Noble-Evans showing fantastic character to bounce back at Anglesey.
At a circuit visited by few championships across Britain, Faye excelled and was hugely unfortunate not to step onto the podium in Wales. Qualifying fourth, she finished one place away from the rostrum in both races to solidify her position within the top-5 of the championship standings. Despite not being able to replicate that speed at Oulton Park or Silverstone, Faye continued to score valuable championship points and complete every lap which set her up for a strong end to the season.
On her second visit to Brands Hatch, this time tackling the Indy layout, Noble-Evans found significant improvements from her earlier visit to the circuit. Qualifying sixth, her race pace was excellent and this saw her claim another fourth place finish in race two, missing out on fastest lap by just several hundredths of a second.
This confidence was carried forward into the season finale at Snetterton in which Faye qualified fourth, finishing in that position in both races. It was an extremely strong end to the season which secured her third place in the overall drivers championship standings, while being incredibly unlucky not to visit the podium during the campaign.
Twenty-three-year-old Sarah Thomson is an inspiration to any racing driver as she continues to prove that disability is no barrier to competition. Sarah is deaf and uses a bonebridge implant in order to help transmit sounds in her day-to-day life. However, with this solution unavailable while racing, Thomson uses a shift light inside the car to help her change gear effectively.
Motorsport also runs in the family for the young driver, with her father Ken a former class champion in the 1996 British GT Championship. Sarah’s raw speed is unquestionable and she has consistent challenged for podium results, allowing her to end the 2023 season fourth overall.
Sarah acheived the highest qualifying average of any of the female drivers (5) and removing her poorest effort at Brands Hatch, this would improve to an incredible 3.8. Converting this single lap speed into more consistent race results will be her next step and would ensure she would competing for outright victories.
Thomson’s exceptional pace was immediately displayed at Donington Park where she qualified third and scored a pair of top-6 results.
Consistency was the key to Sarah’s strong results at the second round of the championship on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, with Thomson netting her second top-5 of the season in race two.
Round three at the picturesque Anglesey Coastal circuit saw Sarah come within just three tenths of a second of pole position, lining up a season’s high second. Although the weekend brought no points scoring finishes, her speed was impressive and would be a sign of things to come in the second half of the season.
After two solid results at Oulton Park, Thomson’s qualifying performance was once again the highlight on the Silverston Grand Prix circuit. Setting the second fastest time, she was able to translate this pace into the opening race where she claimed her maiden fastest lap of the season on her way to a fourth place finish.
A best result of seventh at the penultimate round at Brands Hatch was followed up by a fantastic season finale at Snetterton. Returning to the top-3 in qualifying, Sarah finished sixth in the opening race before displaying her pace in race two to set the second fastest lap of the race. These impressive performances ensured that Sarah would finish fourth in the drivers standings, improving on her 2022 position of 11th.
Completing her first season of circuit racing, Canadian Jessica Wilkinson has shown fantastic speed in spite of her inexperience. Jessica has always been keen to race since taking her own Porsche on track days and therefore Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup provided the perfect platform to make her racing dreams a reality. Wilkinson finished the season seventh in the standings, overtaking Porsche Club veteran Vikram Sudera by just two points in the final round.
Jessica’s season got off to a great start at Donington Park with the racing rookie qualifying an extremely respectable eighth on debut. Completing both races without incident, Wilkinson was rewarded with a pair of top-10 results, with a best of ninth coming in race two. After a solid second meeting of the year on the challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, a trip to Anglesey in Wales saw Jessica achieve a breakthrough result.
As a circuit new to the majority of drivers, this meant that Wilkinson was not at a substantial disadvantage to her more experienced competitors. Consequently, she qualified a season’s high sixth and scored a sensational podium finish in race one, the only female driver to achieve such a feat throughout the 2023 campaign.
Silverstone saw Jessica involved in a number of action-packed battles, qualifying inside the top-10 before finishing eighth in race two. On her second visit to Brands Hatch, Wilkinson used the knowledge she had previously gained to good effect. A ninth place result in race one was followed by an excellent sixth in race two, made all the more impressive by her fastest lap being just two tenths of a second away from the quickest overall.
Jessica continued her run of qualifying inside the top-10 for the entirety of the second half of the season with a stunning sixth at Snetterton. Despite some misfortune in the races, she ended the year with an eighth place result to round off an extremely encourage debut season in the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup.
Sarah Wood came into the 2023 season as a complete racing rookie and fulfilled her motorsport dream by lining up on the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup grid. As a true novice, it has been a season of learning for Sarah who has made exceptional progress despite her limited seat time and has continued to close the gaps to the drivers ahead. Her consistency and commitment to the championship saw her end the campaign ninth among the full-season drivers.
Opening the season at Donington Park, Sarah did a great job at improving her lap times throughout the weekend and after qualifying 13th, achieved a best result of 12th position. Finishing both races without incident at Brands Hatch gave further cause for optimism, with Wood banking valuable championship points to open her account.
Gaining confidence with every outing in the car, Anglesey proved to be a fruitful weekend for the SW Engineering driver. Qualifying inside the top-10 for the first time, her lap times were considerably closer to her rivals and this allowed her to both progress through the field and capitalise on any mistakes from fellow competitors. She was rewarded with a season’s best effort of seventh in race one and was looking ahead to an even stronger second half of the year.
Despite the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit being the longest track of the entire season, Sarah was now significantly more competitive and her progress was clear to see. This was especially the case in race one where she finished 12th, while a 13th place result in race two was also a strong showing. Wood achieved her second top-10 finish of the season at the penultimate round at Brands Hatch, further underlining her progress and the benefits she felt from visiting a circuit for the second time.
Rounding out her rookie season at Snetterton, this was another tricky circuit to learn with a mix of high and low speed corners. After qualifying inside the top-10 and matching her best starting position of tenth from Anglesey, she gained three seconds worth of lap time from qualifying to race two. Enjoying a close battle with Phil Graham, Sarah ended the season with a 13th place result and satisfaction that she was now involved in regular on-track battles for position.
By taking to the track in 2023, Zoe became the latest member of the Kyle-Henney family to be involved with Porsche motorsport. Her father Peter is a former Porsche Carrera Cup GB Am class winner and was a stalwart of the TOCA supporting championship in the 991.2 era of machines.
Zoe’s brother, Matthew, previously competed in Porsche Club championships and took the step up to the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB this season and achieved ten Am class podiums on his way to third in the championship standings. Zoe meanwhile, completed a partial schedule in the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup and has adapted exceptionally, finishing inside the top-15 of the overall standings.
Zoe’s season got underway at Donington Park in which she completed a solid debut weekend by finishing both races in 11th position. After qualifying 13th at Brands Hatch in round two, Kyle-Henney made significant progress in race one especially, competitively running amongst the midfield drivers and narrowly missing out on her maiden top-10 finish.
This progress continued into the next round at Anglesey in which her single-lap pace took a sizeable leap forward. Qualifying seventh, she improved further in race one by finishing in sixth. Zoe then took a mid-season hiatus which saw her return to the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in September.
In a bumper grid at the Kent based circuit, Zoe took an incredible jump in performance to qualify fourth. Although just missing out on her personal best result, finishing seventh in race one showed her ability to carry forward this speed into a race situation. This marked Kyle-Henney’s final appearance in the championship in 2023, but in her limited outings she proved she had to speed to fight towards the front.
All five female racers showcased their skills throughout the season and should be proud of their achievements driving in a highly competitive championship. While some may aim to return for another season in the Woods Foodservice Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup, others may look to move up the Porsche motorsport ladder and aim to develop their craft as a GT racing driver.