Laura Camps makes car racing debut with top-5 in IRL
"It was challenging to think that my first racing experience would be in the wet but in the end it came out good" - From a last minute call to a top five: Laura Camps made her car racing debut in spectacular fashion in extreme weather conditions at the season opener of the Indian Racing League.
Laura Camps Torras, 18, made her racing debut in single seaters last weekend in Chennai, India, after a late call to join the Indian Racing League.
The young Spaniard, who had won the second edition of the FIA Women In Motorsport-promoted Girls On Track - Rising Stars selections in 2021, gained a spot in the Ferrari Driver Academy and joined Maya Weug as the second ever female Ferrari driver.
In 2022, Camps completed a testing programme in Formula 4 machinery with FDA, under the banner of Iron Lynx, while she continued to compete in international karting. At the end of the year, though, she parted ways with Ferrari and returned to the Spanish Karting Championship.
As she continuously explored opportunities in cars, an unexpected and last minute call would prove decisive: "I never would've imagined that my first race in single seaters would be in India, but here we are", she recalled. "A late call on Tuesday night made it official that I was going to race my first car race ever – imagine the excitement" – she wrote.
Camps in fact joined Hyderabad Blackbirds for the second edition of the Indian Racing League, replacing Lola Lovinfosse. The championship features six teams lining up four drivers each – two for each car. Drivers share a Wolf GB08 Thunder prototype single seater, a lightweight formula-like machine powered by a 220hp engine.
For Camps, it was the very first time in such a car, as well as in India. Once she reached the Madras International Circuit, Laura had the chance to get behind the wheel of the #9 machine that she shares with Anindith Reddy for three practice sessions on Friday, having missed pre-season testing on the previous days.
"New car, new track and obviously new country. On Friday my jet lag was really hard but I managed to do 3 free practices so I could get used to it", she continued.
Camps progressively built confidence in the car and learned the circuit, ahead of the first race event. On Saturday, her teammate took on driving duties for Q1 and the first race.
Reddy qualified on P11, but Race 1 had to be moved on Sunday morning after heavy rain hit the track in the afternoon, halting activities. Making his way up the order, Reddy managed to finish sixth in the first sprint race of the weekend. It was then time for Laura Camps to take over and make her racing debut: after a further 20 minute practice, Laura entered the 10 minute qualifying. "Sunday was the day, practice went so well, but unfortunately I couldn’t put everything together down in one lap for qualy", she said. The Catalan set a 1:36.214 that put her in P12 for the race later in the afternoon. As cars were reaching the grid, though, a huge downpour flooded the track and meant that drivers would have to face extremely challenging conditions – even more so for Camps, at her very first race, and among a field of experienced racers, including several international and local talents. After a safety car start, the race was underway in the most difficult circumstances, with plenty of standing water and with limited visibility. Cars were going off track and spinning all over the place - but Camps made no mistakes and was outstanding in the first lap, after which the safety car was out once again. At the restart, Laura kept it on track and continued to make progress, running in sixth place. Conditions were so difficult that most of the drivers wrestled their cars - but Camps was flawless and gained one more position on the final lap to cross the finish line in fifth place - in one of the most impressive car racing debuts. "It was challenging to think that my first racing experience would be in the wet but in the end it came out good, started to gain confidence and finishing P5 was a great result for me and for the team!" – a deservedly proud Camps said. From a last minute call to the top five, Laura showed a glimpse of her potential after finally being given the chance. "I also got to meet great people there so it is a win win for me. It was a pleasure and we’ll be fighting again in 3 weeks." She will in fact return to Chennai for the second round of the championship on 30 November – 1 December, as the series will contest a back to back weekend at Madras International Circuit.