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.