Claire has just been announced as part of our all-star TV presentation team alongside Lee McKenzie, David Coulthard and Ted Kravitz, but what make our lead commentator tick?
Read our exclusive Q&A to find out more.
You’ve just been announced as the lead commentator for Channel 4’s coverage of W Series, have you always been into motor racing?
Yes, the memories go right back. My dad is a motorsport doctor, so when we were young we used to go to Le Mans, touring car racing and quite a few different rallies. My parents also used to watch a lot of Formula One, so as a family we were really into the motorsport side of things. There’s a picture of me at Le Mans in front of one of the Silk Cut Jaguars in 1988 when I was about one and I’m leaning down trying to grab part of the car.
So you’ve always been into cars. What was your first?
A blue Peugeot 106 with a broken starter motor. It never started when it was cold, so I used to have to wiggle the starter motor, which probably wasn’t the safest thing to do. It was called Lennon and I loved it. All my cars have Beatles references for names.
And your current car is…?
Lovely Rita, she’s a Mini Cooper. When it comes to naming cars I’m like a not-so-rich Sebastian Vettel.
Do you have a racing hero?
Growing up it was Jenson Button. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when he won the championship. I shed a little tear. Those memories are very special.
What about commentators, who did you look up to?
When I was starting out as a commentator there were hardly any women to look up to and think that’s who I want to be. I used to work for the BBC full-time, where I was the pit lane reporter for Five Live, and that’s a great place for getting in contact with people. I once sat down with Alison Mitchell, who was the first woman to commentate on Test Match Special, and had a chat about the pressures of being a female working in sport and how I might be able to develop. She was a great help.
But I had so few female role models to look up to. Someone I used to work with told me to give it up because motorsport was too niche and that I would never make it there as a commentator.
Why is W Series so important?
I’m really passionate about females in sport and having true representation. With W Series it’s about addressing the gender imbalance that we have in motorsport. We’re lucky that we have some fantastic drivers that are making their way through, but we don’t have a main driver in Formula One. It’s madness that there hasn’t been a woman racing in F1 for 40-odd years. It’s shocking and when you look at it you think something’s not happening here, something’s not right, not clicking. Young drivers coming through want to have someone to look up to in mainstream motorsport. It’s so important to try and do something about that gender imbalance and show that woman are just as good.
Which W Series race are you looking forward to most?
They’re all going to fabulous, but Brands Hatch will be great because it’s one of those tracks that really gets the crowds in. I’m really looking forward to Assen, though, because I’ve never been before. I’ve watched motorcycle racing there on TV and it looks amazing so I really can’t wait to go there.
Formula One’s lead commentator is known as ‘Crofty’, what will you be known as?
You’re not going to give me ‘Cotters’, are you? I get Cotters a lot and I get CC a lot.
So it’ll be DC and CC for W Series?That will confuse everybody, but I’m taking top billing there! Seriously though, it’s fantastic that W Series have picked a female commentator. The drivers will empower people and I hope I can a little bit too.
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