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Martin Takes History-Making Momentum to VIR in Lamborghini Super Trofeo

Her Road America Victory Marked the First for a Transgender Driver in Super Trofeo

By Mark Robinson

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There are big wins in motorsports, and there are monumental achievements. In doing the first, Charlie Martin accomplished the second.

When she won the LB Cup class race in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America at Road America on Aug. 6 with co-driver Jason Keats, Martin became the first transgender driver to win a race in Lamborghini Super Trofeo annals. She’s also presumed to be the first transgender winner in any IMSA-sanctioned event in the organization’s half-century history.

“Obviously, I am very proud to be who I am and to be doing what I am doing and to go out there and achieve a first in an IMSA series,” Martin said from her home in England as she and Keats prepare for the next doubleheader round this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway.

Winning, she added, says, “Hey look, not only am I here because I am proud to be me and I’m proud to be doing what I’m doing and I love the sport, but it also says look, I’m just as capable as any other driver.”

Martin, who turned 41 on Wednesday, started as a racer at hill climbs in Europe more than 15 years ago. As her transition began in 2012, she stepped away from racing, but the lure of the sport drew her back within two years. She said she didn’t fully come out within the motorsports community until 2018 but has been an ambassador for the LGBTQ+ community since.

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While not her first race win, the victory with Keats in the No. 54 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini San Francisco Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2 was her first in the United States. The significance, she said, cannot be understated.

“I’ve been trying to use (racing) to create a bigger platform and use that to create more acceptance and awareness,” she said. “Every time you go out and achieve something that’s either a fantastic result or something like this that’s a real first, it gives you the opportunity to get the spotlight and therefore reach other people.

“The more people that I can reach through my story and share my lived experience with them, it’s a lived experience that’s different to probably 99 percent of other racing drivers.”

Keats, a 40-year-old Californian racing for the first time professionally this year, has been friends with and a supporter of Martin for more than two years. When the opportunity arose for him to join the North American Super Trofeo series this year, he didn’t hesitate on who he wanted as his co-driver.

“It’s been fantastic,” Keats said. “We’ve had some immense success and I’m thrilled to have Charlie as a partner.”

Martin and Keats are second in the LB Cup standings, 10 points from the lead with four races remaining. Their on-track goal is to keep climbing toward the class title, but the greater purpose is to show anyone struggling because they feel “different” that they can still achieve their dreams.

Keats has witnessed the power of Martin’s story firsthand, hearing what many fans going through their own life’s journey have to say when they meet her at the track.

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“To hear them talk to Charlie about how her exposure in the world has helped them, you can’t help but tear up when you listen to those stories,” Keats said. “It makes me incredibly proud to be able to support the community and support Charlie. Plus, it’s awesome to have someone who’s super-fast on my team.”

And Martin intends to continue setting that speedy example, especially since she didn’t have one of her own growing up.

“Getting this result,” she said of the Road America win, “gives you a bit more wind in your sails to go out there and keep pushing … to move things forward and create a bit more visibility. It’s a hell of a good feeling hearing people’s stories and thinking that you might have played a small part in someone starting their journey. … That to me is what it’s all about.”

Thirty-one cars are entered in the four classes this weekend at VIR. Two practices take place Friday, with qualifying Saturday morning. The first 50-minute race starts at 2:05 p.m. ET Saturday, the second at 11:35 a.m. Sunday. Both stream live on Peacock and IMSA.com/TVLive.