Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Marta Garcia has proved competitive F3 driver in newly created 2020 WSeries ESports League, taking 1-1 victory in Round 5 at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium earlier this month to consolidate current standings of 3rd Overall in the 10 Round Series.
After experiencing all important learning curves in Round One at Monza, 6 weeks back, Marta set task to work hard on SIM training to gain race-craft strategies of remaining mentally focused through-out the 20 minute Races x2 over 10 consecutive weeks.
With loss of physical feeling of actually racing in F3 car, Marta’s determination to gain consistent points each week meant hours of SIM training to learn new tracks, process braking techniques and get to grips with handling the pressure when fellow drivers were oh-so-close.
Marta: ‘Well to be honest when I started the league I had not been using this racing platform at all. When I tried it -it felt really different and not similar to real life. Then I did the first race at Monza of the W Series ESports league and it obviously didn’t go well’.
‘After the first race I just started training 2h everyday on the sim to make myself used to this racing platform as I wanted to be competitive and I had the target to win. I’d say the most challenging has been getting used to the sim, to the I racing software cause in the end is not real racing and you need to spend some quality hours to be able to be competitive and have the chance to win’.
By Rounds 2 and 3, Marta gained mental clarity to edge out her peers by her quick reactions off starting grid which propelled the Spanish driver to 3rd place in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2 at Brands Hatch, UK.
The Reverse Race 2 still needed work, with Marta realizing staying calm in the opening laps avoided potential hook-ups from race incidents- which gave greater opportunity to work her way through the field along with gaining valuable points for each Round. By Round 4, #19 proved consistency of results was key to edging up the points table, standing 3rd Overall with improved reverse grid racing.
Marta after Round 4:’“I qualified second for race one, had a good start and took first place. Then I had some good fighting with Beitske [Visser] for the first three laps before she passed me. She was really fast so second was a good result’.
‘In the previous reverse-grid races I’ve been trying to really go for it at the start, but I realized I couldn’t do that because there are a lot of crashes. For this race I stayed calm and let the early laps play out. After that I managed to do good work and finish fifth so I’m happy with that because reverse-grid races have been a struggle for me. I qualified second again for the third race, got a good start and managed to hold my position. Beitske was really fast again so I couldn’t get her.”’
Utilizing Marta’s grass-roots training in Go-Karts from an early age, it is evident Garcia believed commitment, focus and hard work would produce real-time results of racing single-seater cars for a career. As difficult as it is- to gain seat-time, race-time, testing, financial backing to race- Marta achieved sense of what could be possible when competing in Spanish F4 Championship and then, being selected for 2019 WSeries.
Marta: ‘I think the motivation is still the same as it was before COVID-19. Since I was really small I always had this dream of becoming a F1 driver, and nowadays I still go for it’.
‘I’ve been working so hard over the past 10 years just to achieve what I want and that’s what I’m still doing, fighting for it. In those difficult times where I’m not able to drive a real racing car I’m just thinking about preparing myself as good as possible to be 100% when I jump in the car again. That’s what keeps me motivated’.
And, the opportunity to race 2019 WSeries 6 Rounds, compete against 18 F3 drivers, learn heck-of-a-lot working with engineers pre-during-post racing has most certainly been life changing experience which has made Marta a more experienced racing car driver.
Marta: ‘When I did the selection for the 2019 W Series there was some stuff I had never done my life, like drifting in the water, driving as fast as possible in the snow, competing against 56 other women drivers… etc. This was a super nice experience but also a really challenging one’.
‘I knew I had to do good to be able to get in the Championship and nerves were always there. We also had to do many other stuff related to media and it was also kind of new for me. I think it made me grow as a person and as a driver in different aspects and get many different experiences, which I love’.
If one thing provokes an athlete to raise their game amid the unknown, racing WSeries F3 Series was an opportunity Marta knew was massive in terms of gaining experience and recognition for results produced on and off the track. Equally, putting herself out there to learn new skills had flow-on-effect for developing greater self-confidence in achieving goals- as seen in results within WSeries ESports League 2020.
Marta: ‘I guess the most important is that I was able to get some more experience in a Formula 3 car and on racing vs the other drivers. In the end, as I said, you need to train to be there on top and in single seaters it is really difficult to keep yourself into the rhythm of the feeling of the car, as you probably don’t do loads of testing or you need a big amount of money to do them. During the season I also improved as a racing driver and was able to work with different engineers and see different points of view, which I think is always good’.
Most certainly, Marta has risen to heights not anticipated amid a world inflicted with COVID-19- all of which takes courage and self-belief that a positive mind-set maintains mental strength, which is relevant for racing- ESports or real.
Rounds 5 and 6 of WSeries ESports League confirmed Marta’s rise was for real, consistent with her goals of gaining top results- 1-1 win at Round 5 under fierce pressure from Visser was most certainly stand-out performance. Currently standing 3rd, and closing gap on 2nd place, Marta sure has plenty of ‘what-it-takes-to-be-F3 Champion- with the remaining 4 Rounds worth the watch.
Marta: ‘As I said, I have super motivation and I think that’s the first thing you need to have. Now I’m focused on the W Series ESports League and working to get TOP 1 in the championship. It is going to be really difficult, but not saying almost impossible, as the first driver is far away on points’.
‘My goal is to cut this distance in the next remaining races. Apart from that I’m training physically and mentally with my coach every day to be super ready when the real thing comes again, which I hope is going to be really soon’.
WSeries Esports League Round 7: Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan, July 23rd.