Vicky Piria: W Series presents drivers with “fair and meritocratic” opportunity

25-year-old Italian racer Vicky Piria is one of eighteen women who recently made the final line-up of the historic W-Series, the first ever all-female racing championship.

Testing at the Lausitzring circuit in eastern Germany concluded on 16th April, with the drivers having gotten their first chance to put the Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 car used in the series through its paces.

Fresh from that test, Vicky was kind enough to speak to us about her career and her hopes for the upcoming season.

Her interest in motorsport was sparked as a young girl, introduced to it through her father.

“I became interested in motorsport in a completely casual way,” Vicky said. “I was always a bit of a tomboy and I loved horse-riding. My dad one day bought a go-kart for my brother – I was very curious and competitive so decided to give it a try… Then it all started.”

Back in 2012, she became the first female driver to compete in GP3 when she raced for the Trident team.

“I believe there are a lot more female drivers today, which is a good thing. When I was racing at the time it was all new so people found it difficult at times to see me as a normal driver. But, with more female examples now, it will become more ‘normal’.”

Fast-forward to 2019 and, as mentioned, Vicky will be competing in W Series. She believes that her participation in the series has re-opened doors that she thought closed to her a while ago.

Credit: Colin McMaster/LAT Images/W Series

“Before the W Series opportunity came along, I was not expecting at all to get back into a single-seater – I was simply hopping in some GT rides and continuing my career in those.

“W Series gave me the opportunity to continue what I started at a younger age: single-seater racing. At the moment I am focusing on the now. I want to do my absolute best this season and see day-by-day what the future will bring.”

Selection for the championship comprised of two sections narrowing the pool of drivers down first from 60 to 28, and then from 28 to the final 18.

“They were both difficult, tiring and the pressure was definitely on,” Vicky said, “but it was also a good opportunity to learn new things. In Melk we were driving often on snow and ice, not quite typical for me. Making it through was my main goal – I knew I could do it and it was very important for me.”

The final 18 drivers recently got their first chance to test the series’ Formula 3-spec car, and Vicky was upbeat about how it felt to drive.

“The car is very cool, as is any single-seater. It is very different to the F3 car I drove back in 2013. It is heavier, bigger, and it requires a different driving style just like its Hankook tyres.

“I am still adapting, but after the first test in Lausitzring we definitely made a step ahead. I must say, it looks amazing!”

Credit: Colin McMaster/LAT Images/W Series

Vicky set herself the target of top-five finishes, but admitted that concrete predictions are somewhat difficult to pin down at the moment.

“There will be a lot of attention on this championship and there are only six races, so it will be a very tough competition – all of us will absolutely go with it. It is very difficult to make expectations as it is all a totally new thing.”

When asked whether it was fair to say there was a lot of camaraderie between the drivers, Vicky said, “It is true – I think that as we are all put constantly in the same identical situation and in a fair and meritocratic system, we all feel in the same boat.

“There is a lot of mutual support and we push each other a lot. But, still, we need to do the first race – maybe things will change?

Finally, Vicky had some advice to give to other women looking for a career in motorsport.

“The series is getting people talking, a lot. This gives much more awareness about female drivers and is a big opportunity for the youngest to look up to.

“The advice I want to give is to work hard but to absolutely not forget to enjoy it along the way – happy drivers are faster drivers. Regarding being a female: it is normal – act like it is normal.”

ThePitCrewOnline Exclusive: Susie Wolff for International Women’s Day 2019

Ask any motorsport fan to name a successful woman within the sport, and usually, Susie Wolff will be amongst the names they provide. The first woman to take part in an F1 weekend in 22 years, Susie is now the team principal of the Venturi Formula E who scored their first podium of the seasion in the Mexican ePrix a few weeks ago, as well as the co-founder of the Dare to Be Different initiative, a non-profit organisation committed to change viewpoints and inspiring young girls and women to participate within the motorsport industry.

Sarah Jarvis: You’ve had time to become much more comfortable within your new role as team principal. Was the transition period as challenging as you thought it would be?
Susie Wolff: Yes, it’s definitely been challenging with plenty of changes and improvements to make, but to be honest I’ve relished the opportunity to get stuck in. We’ve made really great progress after a difficult start to the season. In motorsport, ultimately all that matters is performance and, with our first podium of the season in Mexico, I think we’ve demonstrated that we’re on the right track.

SJ: The FE in-season test featured nine female drivers competing in cars as part of the FIA Women into Motorsports Initiative. Did that feel like a significant step forward in promoting the movement of women into motorsport?
SW: Yes, I do feel like it was a significant step forward. I also think it clearly demonstrated Formula E’s commitments both to the promotion of women in the sport and also their desire for diversity within the series. The all female in-season test also served as a fantastic reminder of the female talent out there – that’s an incredibly positive thing in my book.

Image credit: Sam Bloxham

SJ: With your increased involvement in Formula E, there is an intensity of D2BD initiatives at these events. How important are these events to display at such a vastly popular sport? Are they changing the opinions and viewpoints of young girls?
SW: The D2BD events are really important and now that we have the official collaboration with the FIA’s Girls On Track initiative, we’re widening our reach even further to a bigger, global audience. Having our launch event in Mexico at the ePrix was a major milestone for the initiative, it also clearly demonstrated Formula E’s commitment to the promotion of grassroots activity for young women. The launch was met with great enthusiasm, not just from the motorsport community but also the local fans who came and participated in the activity, there’s simply no substitute for hands on experience. One of the major additional benefits of teaming up with Formula E in this way is that we have the benefit of some incredible city centre race locations, this goes a long way towards helping raise awareness and generate interest in the activity.

SJ: Is it imperative to gradually add more racing events to the D2BD calendar for exposure? Are there certain avenues such as F1 and MotoGP that you want to pursue further?
SW: Now that we are a joint venture with the FIA, we’re not focused on volume of events or trying to be the biggest. What we want to do is foster strong and lasting relationships with the ASNs (the local motorsport authorities) to ensure that the activation is strategic, meaningful and leaves a lasting impression on the young ladies who participate. The impact we have from an inspiration and education perspective is the most important thing to me.

SJ: With the introduction of the W Series aimed strictly at a female demographic, do you feel it is a positive step towards better representation of women in motorsport?

SW: Any championship that gives the opportunity to young women to compete is a positive thing. In my view though to become a truly world class professional driver and earn a living in motorsport, you need to compete with the best in the world regardless of gender. Ultimately, motorsport isn’t segregated so I think in the long term, we need to really focus our efforts on bringing more female talent in to the sport across the board so that the best can rise to the top.

SJ: What advice would you give any young girls or women wanting to break into motorsport, whether it be driving or engineering?
SW: My advice would be the same whichever field they were looking at: believe in yourself. Find out what it is that you feel passionate about and go for it. Don’t be scared to stand up for yourself and be seen and heard. Work hard, push yourself and never, ever lose the belief in your abilities. Use initiatives like Dare to be Different to connect and widen your network. We have an incredible line-up of ambassadors who provide mentoring and education to the next generation. But above all else, don’t wait for doors to open for you, knock them down.

For more information on the Dare to be Different initiative: https://www.daretobedifferent.org/

ThePitCrewOnline Exclusive: Alexa Quintin for International Women’s Day 2019

As Head of Media and Communications for both F2 and F3, Alexa Quintin surely has one of the most whirlwind jobs in the motorsport world, being at the track for between ten and twelve hours each day during a race weekend. She was kind enough to speak with us for International Women’s Day 2019.

Jenny Rowan: How did you first become interested in motorsport?
Alexa Quintin: I was raised to love it: my father was a racing driver in Gordini Cup and prototypes. He started his career in Morocco back in the 60s. He met my mother when she was appointed as his mechanic. She was a professional swimmer but she wanted to try something new. They met at what is today’s Renault F1 engine factory at Viry-Chatillon. Although my dad had to stop his career when they got married, his passion for motorsport and most particularly Formula One never ended. Every Sunday our eyes were glued to the TV to watch the Grand Prix.

JR: Had it always been an ambition of yours to work in motorsport?
AQ: I was not necessarily aiming at working in the sport. I was more interested in the movie industry or in writing. I started my career in television, but after a couple of years, I had the opportunity to join Prost Grand Prix. Once I became part of this industry, it felt like the right place for me: it’s fast-moving and very demanding. It’s exciting!

JR: What does an “average” race weekend look like for you, if indeed there is such a thing?
AQ: It’s always such a hard question to answer… There are so many tasks to cover from catering for the media to liaising with FOM and the FIA to dealing with social media platforms, press conferences, meetings, drivers’ appearances, and also to handling a thousand little things that are
thrown your way at the last minute. You get to the track very early and leave pretty late. The average time spent at the circuit is between 10 and 12 hours. During that time, you walk a lot, run a fair amount, direct traffic, send many emails, WhatsApp and Skype messages, talk to about a hundred different people, etc. Some days, you may feel overworked, but when the dust settles, it always feels gratifying.

JR: How important is social media to your role and has it changed the nature of your job over the years at all?
AQ: It’s become essential and it has changed my views on how the job should be done. Nowadays Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat are part and parcel to people’s lives. For most people, these media platforms are the primary source of information right in the palm of their hands. It’s the fastest way to communicate, but it can also be a means to start rumours and spread false information. It’s a powerful tool, but one that needs to be used wisely.

JR: Out of all the drivers you’ve worked with, is there anyone who stands out as having impressed you the most?
AQ: I have been working in motorsport for almost twenty years now and over this period of time I have been very lucky to cross paths with incredible talents. If I have to name a few, I would say the ones that stood out in GP2/F2 were Nico Hülkenberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Charles Leclerc, and George Russell.

JR: What has your experience of being a woman working in motorsport been like?
AQ: Working in motorsport has been very rewarding professionally speaking. I never felt like I was an oddity in what appears to be a man’s world. In fact, there are a lot of women in charge of PR in motorsport.

JR: What advice would you give other young women aiming to work in motorsport one day?
AQ: Not to sound too much like Lady Gaga at this year’s Oscars but if you can dream it, if you work hard enough to achieve it, if you have the right attitude, there is no reason you can’t succeed.

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.

Equipment

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]

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.

Live Q&A with Elfyn Evans, M-Sport World Rally Driver

Join us live on Wednesday at 12:30 BST for a live chat with M-Sport WRC driver Elfyn Evans! You can also send your own questions in for him to answer in advance.

Use the link here to do that.

https://broadcastcentre.com/linkedin/hsamuel-and-pulsar-event