For the 20-year-old Briton, the day at Brands Hatch was the next step in her driving programme as a Porsche Brand Ambassador. She took her first lessons in summer at the Porsche Experience Centre Silverstone alongside former endurance world champion and Porsche Brand Ambassador Mark Webber. Now the sports car manufacturer invited her to her local circuit to trade the WTA Tour for the track.
Emma has visited the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch twice this season, meeting the drivers and getting up close to the 911 GT3 Cup race cars in the single marque championship. When younger, she entered kart races and moto-cross; now, Emma fired-up her motorsport interest by driving on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit for the first time; and as a special surprise, drove the road-going version of the Carrera Cup race car – the 510 PS 911 GT3 (Fuel consumption* combined (WLTP) 13.0 – 12.9 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 294 – 293 g/km).
“As Brands Hatch is my local track, I visited with my dad many times when I was younger and always enjoyed watching the races, particularly with the Porsches,” said Emma. “It was great to see behind the scenes at the Carrera Cup GB earlier this year, but even then, I only saw the racing from the grandstands. So it was exciting to lap the circuit at speed today, and a real treat to try the 911 GT3.”
Emma’s doubles partner for this high-octane induction was Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior driver Adam Smalley. Sharing his experiences of driving a 911 GT3 Cup to victory, Adam helped guide Emma around the Kent track before swapping seats for some fast demo laps.
“I loved driving the 911 GT3, it was so much fun to drive, and I learned a lot about the testing and practice that helps build the skills of a champion driver,” said Emma afterwards. “It was amazing to add to my memories of being a spectator here and now be driving myself. I much prefer being this side of the fence!”
“Brands Hatch is quite a challenging circuit on first acquaintance,” commented Adam. “Emma was quick to learn the ideal line and the technique of driving on track. Every Porsche comes alive on a circuit, with strong acceleration, precise steering and powerful brakes, but the 911 in particular is bred for it. You can feel this in its rear-engined design, which helps push the car out of the corners.”
“It was great to have Adam here with me, that was definitely the best way to understand the circuit and get to know the 911 GT3 in detail. It was rewarding to find the ultimate balance between throttle and brake, as I explored the potential of the car,” Emma added. “As my confidence and commitment grew, the racing lines started to flow together so I could maintain speed through the corners.”
“Having visited the Porsche Experience Centre Silverstone, driving at Brands Hatch is another highlight of my year. It has been interesting to meet drivers like Adam, and Mark in the summer, and learn how their human performance and preparation is adapted to the track versus mine on the tennis court.”
From Brands Hatch, Emma flew to the Middle East and South East Asia to continue her tennis and fitness training schedule, ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, 16 - 29 January.