Johnston's career just getting started

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

BOWMANVILLE -- Nineteen-year-old Caitlin Johnston is not an irresponsible teen driver, but she does regularly takes her favourite car out on weekends winding the speedometer past 200 km/h.

Luckily for her -- and her insurance company -- Johnston's favourite car is an F2000 Van Diemen RF02/Ford Zetec and she races it in the Formula 2000 Championship series.

Today and tomorrow Johnston, a native of Orangeville, will be attempting to log her first victory in the series at the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport behind the wheel of the No. 20 Pizza Pizza/Warp 9 Sports Racing entry.

"I got my first racing experience in a Go-kart at Innisfil (Ont.) when I was 10 years old," she said yesterday.

Johnston said that after just a few laps in the kart she came in and walked up to her dad and said: "You gotta buy me one of those."

As fortune would have it, her dad Mike owns and operates a dealership that sells a variety of motorized vehicles. A few phone calls to his contacts in the industry and Caitlin was being fitted for a seat.

"Both my dad and my mom have been so supportive of my racing," she said after she lapped Mosport's four-kilometre road course in one minute, 23.595 seconds in practice for today's race.

She has learned quickly, however, that negotiating a race track with 27 other cars around her is the easiest part of wanting to be a racer.

"Getting and keeping sponsorship is the hardest part of what I do," Johnston said. "It's a bit easier being a girl because there aren't many in the sport and there a lot of women who are now racing fans."

Johnston's goal is to get to Indy Cars, but she wouldn't turn up here nose at NASCAR racing if that opportunity should come her way.

Besides the first of two F2000 races at Mosport this weekend, today will see a Star Mazda Championship race and qualifying for all American Le Mans Series classes for tomorrow's main event.


Videos

Photos