Karen's Plans for Racing in 2010


Karen is planning to continue racing in the Subaru Cup and Nippon Challenge in 2010. The current plan is for the series to split and the Subaru Cup, Evo Cup and MR2 Turbo Cup to share a grid. The Nippon Challenge races will take place on separate days. 'Cup entrants will be offered a special rate to also participate in the Nippon races.

Rexy, Karen's long-suffering Impreza WRX race car looks to get a spruce up before the season begins. Most important on the list is the fitting of a new clutch and flywheel up to the job. Karen's starts were originally blistering, but she's since been surpassed by everyone else and the deteriorating clutch is greatly to blame.

In addition, it's likely to receive a front spoiler seeing as most others are using them. The fog-lamp recesses will also be filled with lamp covers to improve the air-flow at the front of the car. It's also highly likely that the silver doors will be painted blue to match the rest of the car.

A major sponsor would be very useful in helping out with the costs of racing, and Richard will be trying hard to sort out some kind of deal. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Karen through the contact link on the right of this page.

Karen's End of Season Summary 2009


I thoroughly enjoyed racing my Subaru Impreza WRX in the Subaru Cup/Nippon Challenge this season. Although there were some races I didn't compete at due to damage to my car and unforseen financial constraints.

Some bizarre and unfortunate incidents like a black flag for a minor wardrobe malfunction at Pembrey (Whilst 2nd in the Subaru Cup!) and a spin on oil at snetterton, meant I missed out on more podium opportunities. At least I didn't suffer any real mechanical problems like many of my fellow racers.

The car ran pretty much faultlessly and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Graham and Alix at XSpec Motorsport fo their sponsorship, support and friendship. Thanks also to my sponsors Opie Oils and SFS Performance silicon hoses for essential items at a special reduced rate.

I'm really looking forward to racing in the Subaru Cup/Nippon Challenge against all my friends again next year. I intend to improve upon my lap times and finishing positions whilst continuing to have fun!

Best wishes,

Nippon Challenge 2009 from Richard Senter on Vimeo.

Race Report – Snetterton 22nd August


Snetterton was the venue for what turned out to be Karen's final races of the year (Due to not planning to attend the Brands Hatch meeting and unfortunate circumstances ruling out the Mallory Park meeting). The weather was dry and sunny and hopes were high for Subaru Cup podium finishes. Things started well with Karen qualifying 3rd in the Subaru Cup, ahead of Darren Hughes and 14th overall.

Race 1 started and Karen was a little baulked by the two Hondas in front of her until she tried for 3rd gear and once again suffered with problems finding it. Meanwhile the Subaru Cup cars of Darren Hughes and Martin White had overhauled her and she was also passed by Richard Johnson’s Honda Civic. As she turned through the apex of Sear corner she was given a tap from behind which saw her make a mid-corner correction, and she was now having to fight Nick Jones’ GT200 MR2. Lap 2 saw Karen overtake Nick up the main Senna straight. As she went through Sear corner for the 2nd time she was given an almighty whack from behind from a GT150 MR2!

As Karen gathered herself together Nick passed her again along the Revett straight, but she returned the favour once again on the Senna straight. She was soon catching up with the group of cars in front along the Revett straight, but up ahead Andy McLennan’s Suzuki Swift had deposited oil over the track. As Karen braked hard for the Esses the rear of the car locked up thanks to the oil, and span her out. Luckily she came to a halt without hitting the barriers, and several other cars were lucky to avoid her or span out themselves. Just about everything else passed her before it was safe to move away and as she tried to catch up the Safety Car boards came out and everyone slowed up in convoy whilst the track was attended to.

The Safety car period lasted for 4 whole laps and during this time the field had become far too strung out and it was going to be impossible for Karen to catch up with the front runners. The Nippon races are all time limited as well and so Karen knew she had very little time to recover from this position.

As the green flags came out she powered up the Senna straight and overtook the GT150 MR2’s in front of her and used the power of the Impreza to catch up to the squabbling GT200 cars of Nick’s MR2 and Roger Sibley’s Honda CRX. She followed them closely through the Esses, Bomb Hole and Russell bend and over hauled Roger along the straight. Nick was harried through Sear and overtaken along Revett straight, where she also overtook a GT150 MR2. She was now left to chase down Piers Hulford’s Subaru Cup Impreza and Jim Bridge’s GT300 Nissan 350Z. She caught them at the Esses but had no chance to get past before the chequered flag was waved.

Having qualified in 14th, to finish in 21st was very disappointing for Karen and she was still fuming over being struck from behind earlier on in the race! It was left to Richard to make repairs to the rear bumper and replace the tow markings ready for the next race…

Nippon Challenge Snetterton 22/08/09 Race 1 from Richard Senter on Vimeo.

Thanks to the result of Race 1, Karen began from 21st on the grid. She got a reasonable start, overhauling Jim’s 350Z but was overtaken herself by Dallas Jackson’s MR2 and Piers’ Impreza. Coming out of Sear she managed to overtake Richard Johnson’s Honda Civic, Ian McLaughlin’s Suzuki Swift and Dallas. By the end of the Revett straight, Karen had caught up with Lee Bennett-Neal’s Integra, Nick Jones’ MR2 and Piers’ Impreza.

Up the start/finish straight Karen tried to out drag Lee’s Integra and was doing well, but he had the inside line and she had to yield going into Riches. Before the end of Lap 2, Lee had got past Piers whilst Karen was still chasing them. All the while she was busy fending off Richard Johnson’s Civic.

On Lap 4 going into the Esses, Karen overtook the ailing Impreza of Stuart Ward and followed the fraught battle between Nick’s MR2 and Piers’ Impreza, with Richard’s Civic still looming large in her mirrors.

Coming out of Sear in Lap 5, Piers got a bit sideways which caused Nick to slow up and Karen took the advantage to get past. As Karen followed Piers into Riches at the start of the next lap they were greeted by Darren Hughes’ Impreza recovering from the side of the track. Piers pulled up really quickly and baulked Karen as she tried to pass. Richard Johnson jumped at the opportunity and outbraked Karen and Piers into Sear corner and was now chasing Darren. Leaving Karen and Piers drag-racing up the straight! Piers had track position under the bridge and into the Esses, but Karen got a good tow on him and shot past him on the inside of Coram. Meanwhile, Richard’s Civic tried a move on Darren only to spin out onto the grass in the attempt.

The rest of Karen’s race was spent chasing Darren and gradually catching him to end up only 0.773 of a second behind him at the line. This meant Darren collected the final Subaru Cup podium position and Karen missed out. Karen finished in 12th overall. A great advance from her starting position of 21st.

Nippon Challenge Snetterton 22/08/09 Race 2 from Richard Senter on Vimeo.

It was when Karen drove into the paddock that Richard noted string-like material poking out of a bonnet vent. It turned out that during the race the power steering and alternator belt had been mostly shredded. Karen was lucky to be able to complete the race without losing her power steering!

Once again, an unfortunate incident in Race 1 ended up blighting both of Karen’s races. Despite this she enjoyed her recovery drives, even if she didn’t get to grab a trophy on the day.

About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Classic and Sports Car Club (CSCC) Modern Classics series, with her husband Richard as a 2nd Driver. The races are mini-endurance events involving a driver-swap. Karen has previously raced in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

Contact Karen

Last posts


Karen's On-Line Store

Image Galleries


Karen's Sponsors