Jem Hepworth teams up with Greystone GT and RAFA Racing Club for McLaren Trophy
British racer Jem Hepworth becomes the first woman to join the all-new McLaren Trophy series, where she will share the RAFA Racing Club McLaren 570S with Rafael Martinez.
British racer Jem Hepworth, 22, will race in the all-new McLaren Trophy this season, teaming up Greystone GT and RAFA Racing Club. The young driver will share the McLaren 570S with El Salvador-born Rafael Martinez.
Hepworth and Martinez will compete in the 570S Trophy class, in the six-event calendar that will see the new series supporting GT World Challenge Europe in 50 minute double-headers on some of the most exciting racing venues in Europe. Each crew will have a Pro-Am driver pairing.
Already a championship-winning driver at her racecar debut in 2020, Jem Hepworth raced in the Senior Rotax class of the British Karting Championship before graduating to cars, where she sealed the title in the British Endurance Championship.
In the two following seasons, Hepworth was a front runner in the Praga Cup UK, at the wheel of the Praga R1 prototype.
In 2022, Hepworth was part of the W Series selections at Inde Motorsports Ranch - when the most promising up-and-coming female drivers in the world were assessed in F4 cars - as well as at Circuit de Catalunya, where the British driver got behind the wheel of the Tatuus T318 F3 Regional car. In November, Hepworth was also shortlisted among the nine finalists for an all-female GT4 shootout in the US.
In what will be her first international campaign outside of the UK, Jem Hepworth will become the first woman to race in the McLaren Trophy - as well as the first female driver for Silverstone-based team Greystone GT.
“I’m so excited about this season", Jem commented. "My racing so far has been almost entirely in the UK so to have the chance to race the McLaren 570S with RAFA Racing Club and Greystone GT at some of the most iconic circuits in Europe is a great opportunity."
Her teammate Rafael 'Rafa' Martinez is set to contest his first season in professional motor racing. Based in Houston, Martinez had his first track days in 2021 and founded the RAFA Racing Club - aiming to create a community of supercar track day enthusiasts in Texas.
He made his racing debut earlier this year at COTA, in a SCCA Super Tour event, claiming a double podium.
"Rafa’s very new to racing, but he’s done lots of miles in the McLaren so the key to the season will be getting ourselves up-to-speed as quickly as possible", explained Hepworth. "We’re trying to cover off as many of the tracks as we can during pre-season testing to lessen the learning curve."
Hepworth and Martinez have already tested at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.
"His rate of progress has been very good so far, so we’ll aim to keep that going as we get towards the start of the season", she continued.
With RAFA Racing Club, Martinez has worked with a number of non-profit schemes to promote diversity and inclusion in business and sport.
"The RAFA Racing Club is about taking people who love cars and driving and helping to give them the chance to become race drivers", he stated.
"Promoting diversity and inclusion in motorsport is important to me so I’ve chosen Jem – already a championship-winning female driver – to race with me. She’s extremely quick, we get on well and I think we’ll have a good season.”
"A big part of my career involves helping women in motorsport through Motorsport Woman and we’re super-excited to work with RAFA Racing Club in the coming years to bring more girls into the sport" - Jem echoed.
The drivers of the RAFA Racing Club McLaren 570S Trophy will have some time to prepare for the season, which is scheduled to start on June 2-4 at Circuit Paul Ricard, in the South of France. The series will then support the 24H of Spa on June 29 / July 1, before heading to Nurburgring and Hockenheim. The season finale will be held at Barcelona, on September 30 / October 1.
2023 McLaren Trophy calendar
R1: Paul Ricard, France / Jun 2-4
R2: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium / Jun 29-Jul 1
R3: Nurburgring; Germany / Jul 28-30
R4: Hockenheim, Germany / Sep 1-3
R5: Barcelona, Spain / Sep 30-Oct 1