Abbie Eaton: Who Is The Grand Tour’s Racing Driver?
Who Is Abbie Eaton?
Abbie Eaton is a British racing driver who was born in January 1992 in East Riding in Yorkshire, England. She is best known for being the test driver for the second and third season of The Grand Tour.
She comes from a racing background, with her father Paul Eaton also being a racing driver. She currently resides in Northampton, UK.
She is an ambassador for Racing Pride, which is an LGBT rights charity working to promote inclusivity within motorsport. She came out as gay via Twitter back in 2019 after The Grand Tour was accused of being homophobic, something she and the rest of the cast have obviously denied.
Eaton started her life of racing early, and began at the tender age of just ten, when she took up karting. She originally took part in the Comer cadet class which is for ages 8-13 years old and features cars with a 60cc Comer sealed engine.
Over the years she climbed the karting ranks, moving classes up into Minimax, then Junior max where she competed in the Super 1 Series.
In 2007, competed in her first season of racing cars in the SAXMAX Championship, which takes place at numerous tracks across the UK. Her highest finish was in fourth place, which is considered quite the achievement for a first year rookie.
The following year, Eaton led the SAXMAX Championship of 2008 for the majority of the year but ended up with an overall place of fourth, she won three podiums and had two fastest laps that season.
British GT & The Production Touring Car Trophy
After competing in SAXMAX for two years, Abbie was to go on and compete in full adult car racing in the form of the Production Touring Car Championship in 2009, the vehicle she raced in was a Vauxhall Corsa SRi-R. In her first year, she won the class B championship with 15 out of 18 wins, sixteen podium positions and seven fastest laps.
The following season in 2010, Abbie was unlucky to say the least as she was left without a team when her British GT debut fell through a couple weeks before the season was due to start. Despite this set back, she did in fact manage to compete in one race in a Mazda MX-5 Mk1 championship where she finished third out of over ninety competitors.
Mazda MX-5 Cup
Following her right off season in the Mazda MX-5 Mk1 Championship in 2010, Abbie returned in 2011. The teething problems sadly continued and Eaton missed several rounds due to a lack of budget, but still managed to achieve eleven top-ten finishes, with a third place being her highest finish.
2012 also came with its issues, as Abbie sadly had to draw out of the competition due to family circumstances.
Mazda MX-5 Supercup
In 2013, Abbie Eaton raced in the final three races of the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup where she achieved a win, two second places, a third and a fourth place. Her success allowed her to compete in the Autumn Challenge where she achieved two second places.
The following season in 2014, Eaton competed in what would be her last Mazda MX-5 SuperCup Championship. During the season she achieved five wins, seven podium finishes, six fastest laps, two pole positions, a lap record and was crowned the 2014 Mazda MX-5 SuperCup Champion.
Eaton then went onto enter GT Racing in the form of competing in the UK based championship – competing in a BMW E46 M3 GTR which was run by Geoff Steel Racing. During the season, Eaton achieved one win, three fastest laps and eight podium finishes.
In 2016, she moved to the British GT Championship and drove a Maserati Granturismo MC GT4, which incidentally was the first time that a Maserati had competed in a British GT competition in over 20 years. Her racing partner was Marcus Hoggarth and they finished second in the Pro/Am Championship and fourth overall.
In 2017, Abbie was meant to be taking a year out but was offered a one off appearance in the 2017 Blancpain GT series where she was to drive a Ferrari 488 GT3, which was run by AF Corse. This would be Abbie’s first time in a GT3 spec vehicle and her first race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy.
Following just ten laps of practice, Eaton finished first out of 52 cars in the Am cup, making her the first female to ever win the series.
Abbie Eaton’s TV career started back in 2015 on ITV’s Drive – where she coached rapper Professor Green in various racing challenges over a five week period. Some of the challenges involved mud buggy, stock car and sports car races .
Eaton then went of to star as the resident test driver for both the second and third series of The Grand Tour, where she replaced test driver Mike Skinner who featured in the first series. James May said in 2017 that a huge number of drivers had been tested and she was by far the fastest and the best.