- Transgender racer Charlie Martin is a veteran endurance racer from Leicester, United Kingdom.
- Racer is using her platform as a driver to promote LGBTQ+ issues and inclusivity.
- Martin’s goal is to one day race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Charlie Martin is not your average racer taking on the 170 corners at the 50th anniversary Nürburgring 24 Hours race this weekend in Germany.
Martin, who is driving a BMW M240i for Adrenalin-Motorsport, is believed to be the first transgender racing driver to compete in the 24 Hours.
Martin’s effort at the Nurburgring is no publicity stunt. She’s been racing since 2004 and is currently racing in the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie, Cup 5 BMW M240i Racing Cup class, where she is 31st in the points standings. A native of Leicester, U.K., she is one of seven Brits in the series.
“It’s a shame it’s happening without spectators this year, but even so it’s going to be an amazing feeling to compete in this legendary race,” Martin said.
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The 39-year-old racer is also a veteran of the British Hill Climb Championships, Formula Renault, the Ginetta GT5 Championship (a support series to the British GT Championship) and the Michelin Le Mans Cup. This past summer, she participated in a test race representing the DS Techeetah Team on the streets of virtual Monaco for the Formula E Stay at Home esports series.
Martin uses the racing stage to promote LGBTQ+ issues and is an ambassador for Racing Pride—an organization that formed in 2019 to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within the motorsport industry and among its technological and commercial partners. She also serves as a trustee for Mermaids, which is a U.K.-based organization that has been helping gender-diverse young people and their families since 1995.
During Pride Month in October of 2018, Martin helped adorn cars in the Ginetta GT5 Championship with rainbow stickers to help promote inclusivity and awareness.
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Martin’s racing career continues to motor ahead. This week, she announced that she will be driving a Praga R1 in the Britcar Championship endurance series in 2021. The Praga 1 is a lightweight LMP-style race car powered by a Renault-Alpine F4R Formula 2.0 engine that produce as much as 380 bhp.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be racing with Praga, and I’m over the moon,” Martin said. “The car was lightning quick when I tried it. It’s going to be an amazing season next year.”
Martin’s racing goal is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I’m not going to stop until I’ve made it a reality,” Martin told Forbes. “I think it would just be an incredibly inspiring thing, and an incredibly powerful moment for the LGBT community. Because in a sport that really doesn’t have much visibility at all, I think it makes it even more powerful to do something that can really help inspire positive change in society.”
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