Rebecca Jackson holds the Guinness World Record for visiting 14 countries on a single tank of fuel. An acclaimed racing driver, journalist, Le Mans competitor and car obsessive, we chat to her about her achievements, dream car and more…
1.Hi Rebecca, thanks for agreeing to chat with us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in motoring? And could you give our readers a brief overview of your career highlights so far?
“Thank you for asking me! It’s a pleasure to be involved.
I have always been interested in cars and motoring. I was at the race track when I was 6 weeks old and have grown up surrounded by car knowledge and passion. When I was at university, my bedroom wall was covered in car pictures and when I graduated I knew I wanted a career with cars. Career highlights to date: 2013 BRSCC Production Boxster Champion, successful completion of Project Le Mans; my four-year plan to compete at Le Mans 24 Hour Event.”
2.Congratulations on becoming a Guinness World Record holder, which you achieved for visiting 14 countries on one tank of fuel. Could you tell us how this incredible journey came about, and how you prepared for the trip?
“RAC and Audi had a mission and they wanted two competent drivers to carry out the task! They approached Andrew Frankel, a fellow motoring journalist and classic car racer, and myself to drive for virtually 28 hours of non-stop driving. We did 4-hour stints each and only stopped every 4 hours for a quick loo break and swap seats. Toward the end, I did not want to miss any of it so really tried so hard to stay awake when I was in the passenger seat. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Seeing so many countries in such a short space of time and at times of the day that you normally are sleeping or doing something else, the scenery and sights were really impressive.”
3.What advice would you give to drivers who are looking to save fuel and drive more economically? Does it all depend on the car, or is driving style the most important factor?
“There is so much you can do as the driver; looking at the road ahead to pre-empt and minimise any excessive braking, ensure tyres are correctly inflated, the car is regularly serviced, keeping only essential items with you so that you are not carrying excess weight, keep the windows up and unused roof racks packed away in the garage and think about your revs. High revs will always burn more fuel.”
5.In 2016, you competed at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race event after a challenging three-year campaign. How did it feel to drive on the legendary circuit, and do you have any plans to drive this race, or others like it, in the future?
“I launched the four-year project in 2013 and hit my target in just over 3 years. It was a full-on campaign and took every living breathing-waking-moment! I am still extremely dedicated now but have found a rhythm on how to make a project like this work while still enjoying a bit of life balance.
I would love to go back and race at Le Mans; it was incredible. I prepared for the circuit and had been there before many times, but nothing prepares you for being there as a racer. There are 250,000 visitors and I had friends and family watching from various points of the 13.6km race circuit. The entire experience was magical from arriving to the pre-race briefing, the race itself and the end – post chequered flag – when the entire team was over the moon for a successful race.
My next campaign is “Project Monaco” and I’m starting right away this year getting to grips with Porsche’s latest 911 Cup Car, ran by Welch Motorsport.”
6.As a successful racing driver, you must know a thing or two about track days. What advice would you give to amateurs looking to get involved in their local race events, and what kind of car do you think is most suitable for the job?
“I believe I could take any car around a circuit and have fun so I would probably start with whatever car you drive on the road. If you have some spare money then buy a track day car. Essential upgrades for a good track tool include better brake pads, I use Mintex on my track day car, uprated suspension if the car does not already have a decent setup and for the best experience race seats and harnesses. My favourite seats are Corbeau.
A lighter car is always best for a track day car but it very much depends on what you like and what you also wish to do with it. For example, a Caterham is an awesome track day car but it’s not very practical as a daily driver whereas a Porsche Boxster can do it all (although it isn’t quite as nimble as the Caterham). For cheaper thrills go for an old Golf GTI or M3. And for entry-level motorsport, buy a banger for £500 and enter an Auto Solo with your local motor club. If you can drive that at its limit, I guarantee smiles.”
7.You’ve reviewed dozens of cars for the likes of CarBuyer, Telegraph Cars and WhatCar? But, if you had to choose any, what would be your dream car to own and why?
“Asking any car lover to pick just one car is almost impossible! It almost makes you feel guilty for not picking other ones!
My ultimate car though is a Porsche 993 GT2. It’s the coolest car from the 90’s; turbocharged and only rear wheel drive as opposed to all-wheel drive. I go all giddy and excited just thinking about them! I need a million pounds to buy one and they are pretty rare!”
8.Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future? What races are you hoping to get involved in, and are there any other upcoming events which you’re excited about?
“This year I am racing modern Herbie, a newer version of the classic Beetle and also a 2018 Carrera Cup car. It’s the latest Porsche 911 and is the same car that I will be racing at Monaco in Supercup. It’s got so much power and torque launches out of the corners like a spaceship and sticks to the circuit like glue! I love it and cannot wait to get behind the wheel again soon.”
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us Rebecca!