Shanel Drewe earns Driver of the Meeting award on her return to action
Competing in her first race meeting for almost two years, Shanel Drewe enjoyed an excellent debut weekend in the Vinyl Detail Fiesta ST150 Challenge at Croft, where she claimed a top five which gained her the coveted Driving of the Meeting award.
Competing in her first race meeting for almost two years, Shanel Drewe enjoyed an excellent debut weekend in the Vinyl Detail Fiesta ST150 Challenge at Croft. After qualifying an impressive sixth in a competitive twenty-car field, Shanel finished fifth, tenth and seventh across the three races at a circuit which she had little experience racing at.
These performances led to the 20Ten Racing driver achieving the coveted Driving of the Meeting award, with Drewe aiming to build upon this performance in the season finale at Silverstone.
Shanel’s car racing career began in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2016 where she finished the season 18th in the overall standings, scoring two top-15 finishes. Overcoming adversity in her rookie season, Drewe displayed good progress throughout the campaign which helped her lay the foundations for a step up the following year.
In 2017, Shanel moved into senior racing by competing in the Road Class of the Michelin Clio Cup Series, a multi-class championship for Renault Clio machinery of different specifications. Taking considerable steps forward, Drewe finished on the podium a record-equalling 13 times and claimed three class victories. This saw the championship going down to the wire with Shanel narrowly missing out on the title to Jade Developments teammate Nic Harrison.
After taking a break from motorsport, Shanel returned to competition in 2021 with a partial campaign in the Quaife Mini Challenge Trophy. Competing in four rounds of the championship for AReeve Motorsport, Drewe achieved a best overall finish of 21st coming at Thruxton. Despite limited testing and high-quality competition, Shanel rose to the challenge and was unfortunate not to fight further towards the front.
Determined to return to racing, Shanel secured the funds to join another one-make, front-wheel-drive series to close out the 2023 season, the Vinyl Detail Fiesta ST150 Challenge. Arriving into the weekend at Croft with very little experience of the car, Drewe’s primary aim was to work with experienced 20Ten Racing team to improve her performance and develop her racecraft. Shanel qualified an exceptional sixth, with her three fastest laps within one tenth of a second of her quickest.
Carrying this consistency into the three races to follow would be vital and after successfully dealing with a red flag to open race one, Drewe settled into sixth. Her race pace was commendable in her first outing in two years, competing well with regular front-runners and consistently applying pressure to championship stalwart Lee Bowron. On the penultimate lap of the race, Shanel made a move on her rival to elevate her into fifth, a position which she held to the checkered flag to mark an excellent return to racing.
Race starts were always going to be a challenge for Shanel after significant time away from competition and although falling from fifth to 11th on the opening lap of race two, she was determined to make up for lost time. Moving inside the top-10 on lap five with an overtake on Aiden Vickers, she then set her personal best lap of the race. Quickly closing the gap to the drivers ahead, Shanel lapped faster than the leaders in the closing stages but just ran out of time to make any further moves, ending race two in tenth.
Race three saw Shanel line up from tenth and made an excellent start to gain four positions on lap one, with a safety car then halting her progress. Enjoying her closest battles to date, Drewe exchanged positions with Daniel Robinson and Thomas Ikin multiple times and ran as high as fifth as the checkered flag flew. Post-race, Shanel was dropped to seventh but these on-track fights indicated that the 20Ten Racing driver had lost none of her competitive nature despite her time on the sidelines.
Shanel’s impressive debut performances earned her the Driver of the Meeting award, a significant accolade for a racer with few competitive outings in the last six years. Her fastest lap in race three was also just three tenths of a second away from the quickest overall, highlighting her ability to challenge the leading group of drivers.
Drewe will return to the Vinyl Detail Fiesta ST150 Challenge for the season finale at Silverstone on the weekend of 7th/8th October, with the young racer aiming to challenge for the podium positions.