On the eve of the first live qualifying sessions for the first rounds of the 2019 Kwik Fit BTCC season (Brands Hatch this weekend), many thoughts and discussions are understandably around the drivers, who has been looking sharp in testing, and the new car and team set ups for the season ahead.
But, we thought we’d break a little with tradition and instead introduce our loyal grid girls for the season ahead in advance of the race days.
Before we introduce Michelle and Serena separately, we thought we’d just remind readers of what it is that the girls have to endure for the team. Many would be forgiven for thinking the roles are simply to be a glamourous representive of a driver for a few minutes before a race, and indeed, this is part of the job description. But, in addition to wielding the driver placards before each race, Michelle and Serena need to leave their already very busy lives (see below) to get to the tracks around the country, more often or not staying overnight in hotels away from their families to sometimes stand in the pouring rain, or freezing cold, or very occasionally, blazing sunshine…all the time with a smile on their faces. Not only that, but the grid girls also have fans of their own and as representatives of the team and the team sponsors, the girls spend much of a race day posing with fans, signing autographs and having chats, trackside or in the team garage.
We think we are particulary lucky to have Michelle and Serena represent our team because, glamour and style aside, they are HUGE petrolheads themselves, as you’ll now discover:
Michelle: Those of you who have met Michelle previously will firstly recall her extremely bubbly and approachable personality, but many others may also remember her when she was a 2017 promo girl for Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead from Wheeler Dealers (Sky Discovery Channel) for their “classic rumble” charity build event at NEC.
As a big motorsport enthusiast anyway, Michelle has attended BTCC events for many years, starting off like many others watching from the fences and was then lucky enough to make it onto the grid as an AmD Grid Girl for the 2018 BTCC season during which time she worked on track with: Tom Boardman, Glynn Geddie, Sam Smelt, Josh Caygill and Ollie Jackson. For this season she’ll be with Sam Tordoff.
Off track, Michelle has also recently been a featured fashion model on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Phillip and Holly. On non race weekends she can be found at race tracks and at Ford events, where she has achieved multiple concours wins with herm and her partners Escort Cosworth “Monte Carlo”. Michelle then became the owner of her “very own” Escort Cosworth which she love to show at events around the country. At present she (the Cosworth!) is currently undergoing a restoration which Michelle has been a huge part of, which included stripping down the engine to cleaning every nut and bolt ready to enter into her first concours season.
For last season (2018) Serena worked on grid with Rory. Considering the remarkable season that Rory had, we think Serena must have been a calming influence! Prior to the 2018 season, Serena had promo experience, but just not on the grid, but had also been involved in motorsport for years in a different capacity as Serena’s father was a former endurance driver in a Lola t70, Fastback Mustang and a Camaro.
Also, like Michelle, Serena has her own passion for cars, and RS Fords again too, coincidently, as she currently owns a Mk4 Escort RS Turbo that she herself has been ‘tracking’ for years.. and she is now rebuilding the car back to standard. Serena is also heavily involved in her husband’s gorgeous Mk3 Escort RS Turbo (Phase 1) which is a gold cup winning modified concours car.
Serena, like Michelle, was also a promo girl for Discovery TV’s ‘Wheeler Dealers’ and for Mike Brewer’s and Ant Anstead’s “Classic Rumble” charity build-off at the NEC two years ago. Along side the BTCC grid work this season, Serena is also doing a charity modelling competition for ‘UK Calendar Girls’.
With this much knowledge and experience about cars and track racing amongst the grid girls, we sometimes wonder if they give the drivers tips and advice before each race, as well as representing them in all weathers!