British driver Catie Munnings looks back on winning second place in both 2017 and 2018 European Ladies Trophy chamionship, competes for the Peugot Rally Academy and even brought out an original TV series. Despite her busy diary she found time to answer some questions for us.
Wheel Sisters: Catie, It’s such an honor that you found time to do this Interview with us. Please, introduce yourself to our audience.
Catie: I’m from England, competing in the European Rally championship for the Peugeot Rally Academy, I am a Redbull athlete and Peugeot ambassador. I’m an ambassador for Dare To Be Different, IAM roadsmart, and women of the future.
Catie gained the first experience on the quad at the tracks behind her farm.
Wheel Sisters: Your father already was a rally driver and you grew up on a farm where your parents had a motorsport entertainment company. With this background, was it natural for you to become a racing driver? Looking back now, how special it felt to you at that time having a rally driver as a father and a motorsport training enter in the backyard.
Catie: Yes I have always been involved in motorsport, and I sat in a rally car when my dad was an instructor but I never considered it as a career. I started competing in grass auto testing when I was 14, and loved the competition. After that I tested a rally car at 17 and fell in love with the challenge.
Wheel Sisters: Your first experience you gained on the quad, later you participated in banger races with old cars. How old were you at this time and was this your first contact with competitive racing? How did you feel during your first race? Did you love it immediately?
Catie: I never competed in banger racing, it was just for fun with some friends of my family. But I have always been very competitive and very sporty, so naturally I wanted to be the best. I found rallying to be the most challenging sport I’d tried, it’s very complicated in the sport, sponsorship, business and mentally, it has taught me a lot about life.
Wheel Sisters: Before that, you were into other sports like athletics and netball on national level, also a talent scout spotted you as a dancer, means you were in competitions way earlier. To me, this sounds very ambitious and purposeful. From where did the motivation for such achievements come from?
Catie: I was born with it! I don’t know the answer, it’s just how I am in myself.
Catie Munnings loves Michele mouton for not comparing herself to the girls, but always with the guys.
Pic by Radek Caga Photography
Wheel Sisters: How do you keep yourself fit nowadays?
Catie: Now I love yoga, it is the opposite to competition. About balance and patience which is important when your usual life is about adrenaline and competition. I also enjoy keeping active and excersising. This isn’t about anything other than being ready for my sport and feeling good.
Wheel Sisters: Your first rally was in 2015 the Lynn Stages Rally in Great Britain and your co-driver was your father. How did it go?
Catie: It was funny, my dad has never been a codriver and he was very bad!!! He wanted to be in control and was always just shouting driving instructions. I had no idea where I was going! They were good memories to look back on. We had a lot of fun.
Wheel Sisters: What had the biggest impact on improving your driving skills?
Catie: Seat time! It expensive and so hard to get but the more you drive, the faster you become. It’s that simple. It is something I am working on all the time as I never do testing or many training rallies and it is hard to be on the pace with drivers that are able to do this. I am also very grateful for the time I can drive, I know I am very lucky to be there and feel it every time I sit in the car.
Wheel Sisters: What does motorsport give you personally? How does it make you feel? What aspects of it do you love the most?
Catie: A sense of purpose, a challenge, something that can teach me so much more. I love the team work and friendships, the traveling, the sense of accomplishment.
Wheel Sisters: What’s your favourite rally or racetrack and why?
Catie: I love Latvian gravel for the sideways speed and rally Gran Canaria for the incredible tarmac grip!
Wheel Sisters: Who’s your motorsports hero or role model an why?
Catie: Michele Mouton for not comparing herself to the girls, but always with the guys.
Wheel Sisters: In your opinion, what does a successful rally driver have to have in order to become successful?
Catie: Work hard, be smart in the business side of things and always think in the long term with decisions. Drive as much as possible.
Catie likes the Latvian gravel for the sideways speed and rally Gran Canaria for the incredible tarmac grip!
Pic by Egons Ansbergs / Rally emotions
Wheel Sisters: You are member of the initiative “dare to be different”. What is it about? Also, in another Interview you mentioned Susie Wolff as a big help in your career, which role did she play and how was she supporting you?
Catie: As a mentor when I first started, she would give me advice on getting sponsorship and how to hold yourself as a woman in the sport. It’s a great initiative to get girls into motorsport at the right ages, the younger the girls are that are being inspired, the more opportunities there will be. Rally is a bit different, you can start late! Which is one of the great things compared to track racing.
Wheel Sisters: In 2018 you presented the TV-show “Catie’s Amazing Machines” at CBeebies. What was it about and where did the inspiration come from? Is it a way to get kids and teens excited about motorsport?
Catie: It was like top gear for children, to show them a different side to machines and the careers they could have. We tested everything from jet planes to snow groomers and submarines!
Wheel Sisters: Have you experienced any sexism during races and if so, how did you deal with it?
Catie: Not so much, I have always focused on doing what I love and not listened to others opinions. Whether you are a boy or a girl there will be people with good and bad opinions. The response from the industry from drivers has always been positive, they have wanted to help me. Sometimes people say stupid things, but that says things about them and not about you.
Wheel Sisters: Off the track you work at your parents’ corporate events company. Actually, you also wanted to be a veterinarian, right? Is there still this plan?
Catie: No! That was the plan when I was around 7 :-) and takes a lot of dedication in study. I still love animals though.
Wheel Sisters: What are your sporting goals in the upcoming years?
Catie: It’s all about progress. I’m still only 21, I want to be on the limit of the R2 before I move to the R5, so I know I am at the right stage I’m driving skill to be fast. Eventually I want to be in the World Championship. The European championship is fantastic training for this, and the junior category is one of the most competitive in the World. The standard is so high, so I learn very quickly.