Autosport International Show 2019 WRC Launch Day- Part one

For the second year in a row, the World Rally Championship came to The NEC Birmingham. The only difference was that instead of just the Thursday media day, it was held on the first public day, Saturday the 12th of January.

There was massive interest around the display of full-blooded cars from M-Sport, Toyota WRC Team, Hyundai Motorsport and Citroen Racing ahead of the launch, with the cars all covered up. Then the teams arrived and the cars were unveiled. First the Fiesta WRC, followed by the Yaris WRC, i20 WRC and finally the C3 WRC.

Afterwards, I got to speak to the new co-drivers for Kris Meeke, Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans. They are, Seb Marshall, Marko Salminen and Scott Martin.

First up, Scott. I asked him how he came to join Elfyn in the car?

He said, well Dan and Elfyn weren’t going to continue in 2019, so the opportunity came about. Unfortunately, Craig didn’t have anything organised, no programme to offer, so yeah it wasn’t easy a difficult situation to be in, ultimately an opportunity to have a full season in the WRC and Craig didn’t have something solid, so that’s how it came all about. Since then we’ve been working hard to work together and look forward to the year, to try and put as much preparation in as we can going into Monte-Carlo.

In terms of preparing for the season and in particular Monte-Carlo, you’ve been testing?

Well, that was great to get in the car that we’ll be rallying, and I’ve never competed with Elfyn before, never sat in the car with him before. We’d done some pace note work, around my home in the UK, you know just to understand the notes a bit, we watched on board videos, I watched a lot of Dan and Elfyn from last year, just to try and understand a little bit, but until you actually sit in the car with him and actually go through the motions and get the feelings of how he drives to the notes, that’s when you really get to learn, you get areas I need to get more familiar with and then you go from there. Now there are loads of things we can be doing now and now we’ve actually done the test a lot of things work well and there’s some areas we need to work on to understand each other, so it’s a work in progress and we’ll keep working hard at it and try and be in the best possible way when we start Monte Carlo Rally.

What are your hopes for Monte?

I hope we have a clean rally, I hope we work well together and hope we have a good result.

In terms of preparation for Monte, how many kilometres have you done?

We were sharing the car both days with Teemu, but we probably got about 300km over the two days as a crew, and as a team maybe six to seven hundred. We had all the conditions you’d probably expect to get at Rallye Monte-Carlo, so this was really good. I feel like we had a good test on that point. It was always changing, we were able to do a lot of tyre work and just make sure the car felt comfortable in these tricky conditions, so I think that’s key to have a good result in Monte-Carlo. Yeah, we had a good two days. Now we’ve got to work with the gravel crew, that’s the unique thing about Monte-Carlo, that’s a relationship that Elfyn already has, need to build that up, so that when it comes to Thursday night, we know what we’re all doing.

Is Phil Mills still in the gravel car with Elfyn’s dad?

Actually, there’s been a bit of a change there. Phil Mills is a bit tied up with work, so Elfyn’s got a friend of his that’s co-drove for him before, (it’s not Dan Barritt, Scott said whilst laughing), so I’m working with him and we’re all working together and will continue that right up to the rally. Looking forward to it!

Next up was Seb Marshall.

I asked him testing and preparations have gone for Rallye Monte-Carlo?

Yes, it’s gone well. We’ve had two days before Christmas, and it was the first time that myself and Kris had been in the car together at speed and the first time with the team as well. The first day was on a road that we know quite well, absolutely bone-dry conditions perfect for feeling your way into the car in a very consistent environment. The second day, we were on a new road that in the morning had five kilometres of sheet black ice, that melted throughout the day to get the slush and mud, so it was difficult but, in some ways, it was perfect Monte testing. The feeling as good, it’s one of those events so much is down to tyre choice, that’s it’s not all down to set up, but feeling comfortable in the car.

Do you know how many kilometres you covered over the couple of days?

Something like 350km’s I would have thought. About par for a testing day.

How did the switch from Hayden come about?

Well, towards the last year Kris was in talks with Toyota, managed to sign his deal and felt he wanted to have a change of things in the car. So, he approached me, and asked what I was up to this year, if it something I’d be interested in, so kept talking across the weeks and went from there. So, its wasn’t that I was looking to leave or jump ship, it was just case that an opportunity presented itself. For me, despite I’d been around the championship for a while, I’d never done a full season. Now it’s great to compete at this level, doing anything but of course the chance to do the full championship is quite a big thing, so that was quite a big draw, you know a driver of his calibre, it’s a good opportunity!

Marko Salminen was next.

I asked how good it was that it would be that he would be doing a full season in his debut year?

Ah, well that has been my dream for many years, and now it’s coming true and I’m really looking forward to it and working with Teemu, it’s so good too. He’s a good guy and easy to work with, and I’m just enjoying it and waiting for the season to start.

Now, you were testing this week and sharing the car with Elfyn and Scott?

Yeah, we did two day’s with Teemu and luckily there were some snowy conditions and ice, that kind of stuff, so it really helped to prepare and understand ahead of the rally.

Okay, give us your first impressions of the car.

Of course, the first time, it was amazing but after a few runs you get used to the speed, but I can say that they really go fast!

Now, speaking to Teemu I asked him how his relationship with Marko, his new co-driver was?

Yes, it’s been good at the moment. I know him from 2014 when I was driving against him in the Finnish Championship, and the last two years he’s been driving with Takamoto, who has been driving in WRC2, he has good experience from WRC cars. After the season, I just had a phone call to him, would you be interested to come and co-drive me, as I felt that he had something to give me in the car.

Now, you’ve also got a new suspension partner, in the team. How has that integration gone so far?

The challenge is to change one part of the car because to see how it works with the other parts, so it’s not so easy to find a good balance in the car immediately, but I see it holds good possibilities to improve the car, but we just need the time.

Elfyn next up!

How are things going with Scott?

So far, it’s been really good, we have a lot of preparation now to do before we head to Monte Carlo, it’s probably one of the most complex events to start a new partnership just because there’s the integration of the gravel notes, the way you process the weather information, means everything is much more complex. There’s a lot to get through before Monte Carlo and we’ve only had two half days testing, so it’s a relatively short time to prepare. We’re doing a lot of recce outside of rally, just on normal roads to try and get used to one-another and so far, so good. I’m confident it will turn out okay.

I asked him about the return of Kris to the championship.

Yes, it’s great, I think Kris’ speed is unquestioned, and for the UK it’s a massive thing to have another Brit back full time. Really pleased for Kris and Seb to be there.

Hyundai Motorsport

I asked Andreas Mikkelsen about if he felt any pressure heading into his second full season, after just one podium in 2018.

Ah, no not chilled. We know we need to deliver, we cannot have another year like 2018, it was a difficult year, the luck was definitely not on our side on many occasions as well but we feel like we’ve taken some steps and we feel confident that we will be back to where we belong, where we normally are. But we know what an important season this is.

I asked Thierry Neuville about his lack of pace in Rally Finland and what he could do to improve it?

We have tried everything in the last five years and in particular the last three years to improve. We come back from testing with the feeling we are fast and then obviously we are not. It’s difficult to say now because now Toyota has clearly a big advantage with their test area in the Finnish woods and knowing that the testing, they benefit from it. The speed is extremely high, but even compared to Citroen which doesn’t test so much over there, they were faster than us there, which was a bit of a surprise.

Part two of my interviews will be up soon, so do pop back and check in.


Mark Sutton Interview: “There is great camaraderie between all photographers”

Mark Sutton is one of the best-known names in motorsport photography, being the the co-founder of Sutton Images, the largest independent motorsport picture agency in the world.

His interest in motorsport and in photography was piqued at a young age when his father took him to local race meets.

“My father Maurice was a huge [motorsport] fan and took us to our local circuit Oulton Park in Cheshire near Manchester,” he told us, “so you could say I was brought up on motorsports as a young boy, going to races in my dad’s MGT with his mates from work, who built aircraft like the Nimrod, Vulcan bomber and HS147.

“He always photographed me with racing drivers and cars as he was a keen amateur photographer, always taking photographs every weekend at the races and at home.”

It was this initial foray into the world of motorsport that led to Mark’s pursuit of a career in the industry, and in 1983 he attended his first race as a photographer.

Sutton Images | British Formula Three Championship, Oulton Park, England, 6 August 1983.

“My first race working as a photographer was the Formula Three race at Oulton Park in August 1983, covering the Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle battle that year,” he said. “My brother had a contract as Senna’s photographer so I went along to assist him.”

Positioned at Cascades Corner, once the race started Mark found himself in the ideal spot to get a shot of the action.

“Brundle led at the start and after a few laps Senna lunged down the inside of the corner and they collided, and Senna landed on Brundle’s car. I have the frame of them side-by-side, but was shooting on a Praktica camera with no motor drive and this was in black and white.

“Then my next frame is them looking around the cars and those images were used all over the world as the story of the championship got bigger and bigger, and in fact it went down to the last round of the championship in Thruxton. It was a great start to my career at 18 years old!”

Sutton Images | British Formula Three Championship, Oulton Park F3, 6 August 1983

Just a few years later Mark made his move into the world of Formula One, and, out of the places he has visited in the few decades since, he highlighted Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps as two places he particularly enjoyed working at.

“The Monaco Grand Prix is my favourite track,” he said. “You can photograph the cars very close as it’s a very tight and twisty circuit that was first raced at in 1929 and has had different layouts, but the general feel is exactly the same. If a driver makes a mistake he is likely to cause a lot of damage to the car, and also it is very difficult to overtake.

“One of my favourite corners is Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, which is a fast kink coming downhill from La Source and then into a hill going up. It offers you some very different opportunities to shoot different images with the speed of the cars and then the exit, sometimes with the cars sparking.”

When asked about the nature of the relationship between photographers when working at a track, Mark said, “There is great camaraderie between all photographers, as most of them have worked in F1 or motorsports for a long time and have grown to love the sport. Of course there is competition between us all, but that’s life in the business.

“I always laugh at the driver celebration photos when everyone is fighting for the same photo. Elbows get wider and then after, as we all check our photos, we recover from getting wet. It’s all very stressful to get the images, but is also a funny moment.”

Sutton Images | Mark Sutton (GBR) Photographer at Austrian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Saturday 8 July 2017.

It goes without saying that at the heart of a photographer’s job is their equipment, and Mark pointed out that when it comes to upgrading, it isn’t necessarily as simple as immediately going for the highest quality camera.

“I tend to upgrade cameras every two to four years,” he said. “This really depends on how often Nikon brings out the new professional camera into the market, [but it] tends to be every four years now, as progress on the equipment has slowed down from creating the best configured camera with twelve frames per second and 22MB sensors. These offer huge files for both JPEG and RAW files, so the quality is good enough for all uses.

“There are better or higher quality cameras, but these are generally used in studio or still-life photography where subjects are not moving quickly. When a car is moving at 200 miles per hour you must be able to move with the subject and in most cases take multiple frames of the car either head-on or from the side, and that is where the twelve frames per second are essential.

“The Nikon D5 will shoot 4K videos as required, but we are not allowed to shoot moving footage at F1 races.”

Sutton Images | Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday 26 August 2018.


X2 Nikon D5 bodies

Nikkor 200-400mm F4

Nikkor 500mm F4

Nikkor 70-200 F2.8

Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8

Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8

Nikkor 1.4x Mk3 converter

Nikkor 10.5mm F2.8 Fisheye

X2 Nikon speed light flash SB-910

Apple MacBook Pro


We thank Mark for taking the time to speak to us, and wish him all the best for 2019!


You can follow Mark on Instagram, and on Twitter | Sutton Images

Featured image: Sutton Images | Mark Sutton, Sutton Images F1 Photographer at Formula One Testing, Day Two, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday 28 November 2018.

Inside the UK’s only student-run professional race team

Educating and training the next generation of engineers and mechanics is the goal of any university running a motorsport engineering degree, but the University of Wolverhampton Racing (UWR) do it with a twist. While many universities participate in Formula Student against other student-run teams, UWR’s students run a team in the F3 Cup, against other professional teams with fully qualified team members.

This is a rare occurrence and comes with significant challenges, but UWR have been determined to make it work and, so far, they have. The team have finished within the top three in the championship in all three seasons they’ve participated in and are now heading into their fourth season in the series, with even bigger ambitions for the future.

We caught up with their driver, Shane Kelly, at Autosport International to talk to him about his role within the team and the on-going preparations for 2019.

“My role has grown over the years, we’re getting into our fourth year now. We started in Formula Renault which was really a promotion year for the course; it was a great car for students to learn on. As we’ve upped our game, and as the awareness got around that we’ve got a motorsport engineering degree, we upped our game into Formula 3 [cup]. It’s a great car to engineer as a student, knowing an F3 car inside out is a brilliant thing to be able to put on your CV. We’ve got Formula Student and the Morgans as well, we’ve really gone from strength to strength as we built up.”

“Every year we get stronger in the sense of we have more data. The F3 is such a niche car, there’s so much going on with the car. The speed is in the suspension, the geometry and the damping. Engine we can quantify, we know what we’ve got. The biggest thing is the mid-corner speed and I think we got that right last season. Bad luck aside, we should’ve been at the top. More of the same from last year would be good, we were more consistent than the year before. But you can’t account for bad luck, you only have to look at Sebastian Vettel in probably the quickest car over 75% of the season and he still didn’t win it.”

Credit: Reuben Inganni

UWR face all the same challenges as any other professional race team, but they have the added element of being student-run, meaning there has to be an educational side to everything that they’re doing.

“We go the long way around everything, that’s for sure! There’s no point us going out doing races if the students didn’t remember any of it, it’s all about the student experience really, that’s why we’re here doing it. We take a bit longer because each student needs to know what they’re doing. We have a bigger team, we have 20 students for this season, and that’s a lot for one F3 car. We manage that, and I think we’re on the cusp of two cars and two championships. We do pick and choose our students, but our students chose us so it’s important that we honour each student and we’ll move them around the car as well, that’s probably the challenge we face most in keeping consistent.”

“It’s hard work to have any team of this level in a university, be it a race team, a rugby team or whatever. At the end of the day, it’s high-level industry, we’re not racing other university teams – it’s not a university championship, it’s a mainstream championship. Some universities wouldn’t touch that because it’s a lot of hard work and myself and Matt Fenton [chief race engineer], we work hard and we put a lot of hours in, but the reward is there and as most people know, you can’t stand still in racing, you need to keep getting better. As a university another thing you come across as well is funding, we’re quite strong with sponsorship with multiple sponsors, we had a breakfast meeting on Friday and sixty people, all sponsors, turned up. It’s just about keeping that up.”

As for the future, both Shane and UWR are optimistic about growing their racing programme and keeping the new projects coming in.

“We have to keep moving, keep changing and refreshing. We’re always open to ideas, different manufacturers, different championships, but that all comes at a cost. The great thing is that we own our own cars, so we can do what we like in that respect.”

To find out more about UWR, click here

[Featured image credit: Reuben Inganni]

Euro NASCAR gearing up for 2019 with new rules package

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) is entering its seventh season in its current format, and a new rules package is set to bring the racing closer than ever while making the series more accessible to drivers, teams and fans alike. Announced in early January, the regulation change is promoting ‘pure racing’ with new tyres, suspension and aero, as well as more stringent technical inspections.

NWES has grown significantly since it first got sanctioned by NASCAR in 2012; the fan base has extended across Europe and the calibre of drivers continues to improve, making the series highly competitive.

Credit: Reuben Inganni

Only four drivers have been officially confirmed for 2019 so far, with all of them competing in the Elite 1 class. Francesco Sini and Alex Sedgwick are both returning to the series after making their debuts last season. They will be joined by Ellen Lohr, DTM’s only female race winner, and 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, both of whom are returning to racing and making their debuts in NWES.

We spoke to Alex Sedgwick at Autosport International about the series and how it differs to its American counterpart.

“The main difference is that the Euro series is mainly road courses compared to ovals. In Europe, we have a lot less ovals than in America in the first place, so we go to places like Valencia, Brands Hatch, Hockenheim and Zolder. We still do one oval this year, Venray which is in Holland. That’s the main difference really, and also the backgrounds of the drivers. I came from Clios and Ginettas, Villeneuve has come from F1 and we’ve got guys who have done Le Mans whereas in America it’s sort of NASCAR, NASCAR, dirt racing, NASCAR! It’s NASCAR with a European input, that’s the way to look at it really.”

“The NWES cars are a little lighter than the American cars with fibreglass bodies instead of steel bodies, but they’re also a little less powerful. They only have about 400 horsepower, whereas in America they’ve got 600 to 650 horsepower. Other than that, because we mainly go to road courses, the cars aren’t set up to just turn left, we’ve got a Watt’s link in the rear rather than a track bar to help it turn both directions and make it a little bit more agile. It’s not the most agile thing in the world anyway but it helps. They’re the main differences really but the basics are all exactly the same – a big 5.7 litre V8, 4-speed manual, solid rear ends, no brakes, no grip and loads of drifts, so it’s good fun!”

Credit: Reuben Inganni

Having a name like Villeneuve in the series is significant for its popularity, but he is not the first big-name driver that the NWES has attracted.

“I started last year in the series and we had Bobby Labonte (2000 NASCAR Cup champion). My teammate’s Marc Goossens (Le Mans veteran), we’ve also got Christophe Bouchut (1993 Le Mans winner) and now Villeneuve; it’s certainly a cool time to be part of NWES. It brings more credibility and attention to the series from the European side and the fact that the names that we’ve had in the series so far haven’t run away with it, they’ve struggled to get into the top five or even top ten, shows the level the championship’s at – it’s a hard series to do well in.”

One of the main aims of the new rules package, aside from improving the on-track show, was to make the series more affordable for teams and drivers – an aim that Sedgwick believes has been achieved.

“It’s well cheap! Because it’s racing, it’s still expensive but you’re going to seven different countries across Europe, racing a proper stock car in front of an average of 40,000 spectators at each round and it’s less than you’d pay to race in Ginetta Juniors in the UK. In terms of that, and for what you get out of it, it’s a bargain!”

With NWES growing as a series, the opportunities it can provide for the drivers are also increasing with the series definitely a viable route for making a career in America.

“My aim is to use this as a stepping stone to hopefully go from this to something like K&N or Trucks in America and just see what happens really. With the way the series is, and the way that it works, there’s a lot of opportunities to make that happen – it’s not like Clios in the UK where you need a lot of money to race and at the end of the year, you’re left with nothing. We’ve got prize money and the chance to win drives in America. In terms of making a career out of it, it’s quite a good place to be.”

The NWES season kicks off on the 13th April at Valencia with the rest of the calendar as follows:

April 13th/14th – Valencia, Spain
May 11th/12th – Franciacorta, Italy
June 1st/2nd – Brands Hatch, UK
June 22nd/23rdundisclosed street circuit, France*
June 29th/30th – Most, Czech Republic
July 13th/14th – Venray, Holland
September 21st/22nd – Hockenheim, Germany
October 5th/6th – Zolder, Belgium



[Featured image credit: Reuben Inganni]

Emily Linscott Interview: “Once the helmet goes on, they’re a racing driver, not male or female”

Despite recent improvements in participation, women in motorsport today are still very much a minority and in this, the last instalment of our interview with Emily Linscott, she was very clear about where she thinks the reasons for this stem from.

“If motorsport is something you want to do, and your parents aren’t taking you karting or racing, then ask,” she said. “I find the reason most girls are missing out on the chance to start racing is down to their parents. It’s normally the boys who are offered the chance to drive and the girls are often overlooked.

“Once you’re there, enjoy yourself. There’s too much pressure to perform and not enough people are enjoying their sport for what it is – fun. Don’t listen to anyone who gives you negative vibes, unless it’s constructive.”

When asked about what advice she would give to other young women trying to break into the world of motorsport, she said, “Dream big! Keep on doing your thing and if it’s truly what you want to do, then you’ll find a way.

Turn Twelve – Sepang International Circuit

“Honestly, it’s incredibly hard work behind the scenes and the level of disappointment is tough to manage, but it is the most rewarding job you’ll do too. If you can deal with that then you’ve got a chance.

For girls and their parents, they shouldn’t compare themselves against other girls, they should compare themselves against the whole grid. Once the helmet goes on, they’re a racing driver, not male or female.”

Emily also stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with the right kind of people. “One other thing which I’ve taken ages to realise (sorry mum and dad!) but which is very good advice, is to surround yourself with positive people, those who want you to succeed and not those who knock you or who aren’t interested in what you do.

“Friends will rarely understand what it takes, why you’re in the gym so much and why you’re never going out with them – ‘My mum drives a car and she doesn’t go to the gym everyday!’ is one of the best I’ve heard. But, keep on doing whatever it takes. Be professional but stay being you and don’t change yourself too much. It’s you that people want to see any not something manufactured.”

All of us here at The Pit Crew Online wish Emily all the very best for 2019 and beyond, and thank her once again for taking the time out of her schedule to talk to us.

Parts one and two of our interview can be found here and here.

Emily Linscott Interview: “I was prepared to take the chance” with International F4 debut in Malaysia

As mentioned in the first installment of our interview with Emily Linscott, which can be found here, she has recently returned from a visit to the Sepang circuit in Malaysia where she made her International F4 debut.

Speaking of the trip, Emily said, “It was a big decision for me as we all thought after the season I’d had I could do with another year in Ginetta Juniors to boost my confidence. But, I decided that F4 was the way I wanted to go and I was prepared to take the chance.”

She had by no means underestimated the challenges the Malaysian climate could potentially pose, with her father helping her to adapt her training to best prepare.

“My dad had told me about how difficult the conditions were to race in out there,” she said, “so we’d tried to prepare as much as possible by wearing four to five layers of thermal ski tops in the gym and on the bike, which made a big difference to me when I eventually got to Sepang. The heat and humidity didn’t affect me as much as I thought it might, so I’m pleased with my prep work.”

Looking back at her experience at Sepang, Emily was upbeat. “The car, the track and the whole experience was fantastic,” she said. “Sepang is a big circuit: very fast, very technical, with every different type of challenge you could want as a driver. It didn’t take me long to get to know the car, slicks and everything really, but I’ve still got loads to learn.

“They’d set me a target lap time – [which] I didn’t know but my dad and the team did – to reach by the end of the second session on track which I reached and beat significantly, so everyone was happy with my performance. I’d also out-performed the other two new drivers to the F4 scene, which I was very pleased about. The racing was good, and I drove well.”

Emily is now turning her attention towards the 2019 season and is searching for the right opportunity, although she describes her situation as a “tough one”.

“I want to do the British F4 and F4 SEA Championships if possible but it’s all about budget. We aren’t a rich family and my parents have spent everything they have on getting me this far, so we’re working hard to get investors and sponsors to come on board for next season and for my longer-term career goals too.”

Emily Linscott Interview: Winning Overall Young Athlete of the Year award “a total shock”

Despite only taking up karting a couple of years ago, it’s safe to say 16-year-old Emily Linscott already has a lot of achievements under her belt. She recently returned from Malaysia where she made her International Formula 4 debut and has preparations for her mock GCSE exams to deal with, and yet she was still kind enough to speak to us here at The Pit Crew Online.

Her trip to Malaysia was a world removed from her initial experiences in karting and the Lakeside Karting track in Essex, which she frequented just a few short years ago. “My dad and I went to Lakeside Karting one Sunday in 2016 and I liked it,” Emily said. “So, we went again the next week and then again, which is when I beat him, so we thought it might be cool to try some competition. He’s an ex-professional British Superbike champion so he won’t let anyone beat him if he can help it!

“As soon as I knew I wanted to race and I learned about the Le Mans 24hrs, I’ve wanted to race and win that. I’ve started driving Formula 4 cars now, so my ideas have changed a little bit, but I still want to win Le Mans – it’s such an amazing race with so much history to it. My long-term career goals are to become a successful professional racing driver working directly for a manufacturer as their ambassador.”

It didn’t take long for Emily’s skill and speed in karting to begin to turn heads, and by the end of her first year she had been signed to Arden’s Young Racing Driver’s Academy. “My parents got a call asking if we’d be interested in coming to their HQ in Banbury to meet them, their teams, have a look around their premises and to try out their state-of-the-art simulator,” Emily explained. “I think at the time perhaps it was too early for me – I wasn’t really interested in Formula cars as I hadn’t even driven any car at that time.

“I’d not spent the whole of my childhood around race cars and tracks, I’d not watched cars on TV or anything like that, so it was alien to me. I actually thought F1 was pretty boring when we watched it, but now I know a lot more about what goes in to racing a car even before you get in one, I can appreciate it a lot more.”

Away from the track Emily’s career has also been gaining momentum. Earlier this month she won the Everyone Active South East Regional Young Athlete of the Year award, as well as being named Overall Young Athlete of the Year, which she described as a “total shock”.

“We were preparing for the F4 race in Malaysia when my dad got an email asking if I’d decided about racing abroad or if we were still able to make the Sporting Champions Mentoring Day and National Awards in London the following week. He told them that the deal was done and we couldn’t be there, which is when someone phoned him and asked if I could do an acceptance video. Well, two videos, as I’d won the South East Regional Young Athlete of the Year, and the judging panel had named me as their Overall National Young Athlete of the Year [too].

“My parents told me in their bedroom when I came back from school and we were finishing packing my kit bag. I laughed a bit as I was so shocked, and they also said they had no idea about these awards. Most awards you get to hear about have fans and followers [voting] for their favourite driver, but these were done by Everyone Active and their Sporting Champions programme. I was really shocked! I even said to my dad on the plane as we were flying to Malaysia, ‘As if I won those two awards!’ It’s crazy!”

Emily spoke to us more about her experience in Malaysia and the International F4 race, which you can read about in the upcoming second instalment of our interview.

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