Hello and welcome to my first blog post for The Checkered Flag! I’m Mark Turner, Series Manager for Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, the official support series for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. I joined the team in October and I’m really enjoying working on eTROPHY. Let me tell you a bit about myself, my career to date and some highlights about my job as series manager.
Motor Racing History
I have loved motorsport for a long time. My earliest memory of racing is watching Nigel Mansell on TV in 1987 at my Uncle’s house when I was 10 years old. Ever since then I have been totally captivated with all thing cars and racing. When I was at school, I wouldn’t stop harking on about motor racing to my friends and even managed to persuade my art teacher to let me do an art project on F1. While my family has no direct connections to motor racing, it has always been ‘my thing’. It wasn’t until I was at Uni that I realised I could actually have a career in motor racing.
Whilst I have never been a driver, I have played some important roles in different manufacturer series. In 2002, I started as a coordinator for the SEAT Cupra Championship in the UK. I absolutely loved working on this series; it was really fast-paced and taught me so much. I had a lot of responsibility at a relatively young age, so I was really pushed out of my comfort zone. We had the TV series ‘Racing Rivals’ following us around when I worked there, they would sometimes come to me for an interview if there had been an incident on-track which was a bit surreal. I thoroughly enjoyed working for SEAT and I learnt so much working so closely with the British Touring Car team.
I then went to work for Formula BMW in Asia. Formula BMW was a junior formula for single-seater cars and provided young kart racers with their first experience of car racing. Given we were working with a lot of young racers, there was so much energy and enthusiasm in the series especially when we raced at an F1 weekend – the first-ever Singapore race was incredible. Of the current F1 drivers, a good number came through Formula BMW Asia.
After Formula BMW, I was part of the team that set up the Audi R8 LMS Cup –Audi’s first-ever one-make championship. With it being a new series, we got to shape it from the start. In the best traditions of motorsport, the team was from all over the world and I have always enjoyed working with different people. It was a great experience and I loved working in Asia, especially Japan.
Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series
When I was first contacted about the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series, it was an offer I could not resist. Jaguar has been ground-breaking with its I-PACE eTROPHY racecar and how it relates directly to the road car technology. The most recent development for the road car was a software update that delivered an expanded range of 12 miles. This update was facilitated by learning within the eTROPHY series, showing just how crucial the series is in advancing Jaguar’s road cars. There’s no denying that society should be working towards zero-emission vehicles; being part of a team that is pushing these boundaries is a real honour.
Already, the series has produced some amazing moments. Our first doubleheader of season two in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia was electrifying! Being my first event, the races were both nerve-racking and thrilling in equal measure. Simon Evans and Sergio Jimenez both demonstrated their title aspirations with their wins in Saudi Arabia!
A particular highlight of the weekend was watching Reema Juffali, one of our two VIP drivers, race on her home soil. Women in Saudi Arabia have only been allowed to drive in the last 18 months and Reema made history by becoming the first Saudi woman to race within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am proud that Jaguar and the eTROPHY series were part of this landmark moment. I understand that Reema’s opportunity had a huge impact in the kingdom. A driving school is being constructed dedicated to getting girls on the road and teaching them to drive. Reema is an inspiring woman and it was an honour to support part of her racing journey. It’s amazing to see the positive impact motor racing can have on wider society and I feel proud to be part of such an amazing initiative.
I have been lucky that racing has taken me around the world. The next eTROPHY race takes us to Mexico City on 15 February. I have never been to Mexico racing so I can’t wait to see the action unfold there. Being able to race in city locations is brilliant, street circuits are always a challenge operationally and for the drivers. However, I love the challenge and we don’t go racing because it’s easy!
Most importantly, I can’t wait to watch the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY on home soil in London in July, it will be the first time I’ve raced at home in 13 years! This season is set to be electrifying so make sure you follow our social channels @JaguarRacing and tune in for the races which you can watch live on Facebook and YouTube!