My life in short: “just go for it”
Racing is something I grew up with but it was never ‘my thing’ until I visited a race track in person for the very first time in 2008. There I watched Audi R10 TDIs and the Porsche Spyders at the Grand Prix of Mosport as a part of the American Le Mans Series and it was that weekend, that moment, that I fell in love with the sound, smell, feel and sex appeal of real race cars. That’s when I knew I loved racing, but there were a lot more barriers to overcome before I realised this might be something I want to do for the rest of my life.
Being a female in motorsport has both its advantages and its disadvantages: most people don’t take me seriously which can be frustrating but, because I stand out in a crowd, I am generally given more opportunities. I have learned to take advantage of those opportunities and use them to show everyone that I actually know what I am talking about, that I am passionate about racing and extremely hard-working.
After standing on the sidelines of my University’s racing team for a year or two, I fought a rare virus that nearly caused my death at the age of 19; this showed me that life is short, and taught me to just go for it. I finally joined the Formula SAE team as it is known in North America, a student series that is called Formula Student in Europe. I loved being one of the guys; I felt I was a member of the team and gender didn’t matter anymore.
After only five months on the team, I stepped up in a big way: we needed someone to take over the chassis design. I was in second year with no design experience, but I said I’d do it, and so I took on the challenge. Being involved in chassis design and analysis was when I realised that I could combine engineering (my career) and racing (my passion) and since then the wheels have been turning and race engineering is sounding more and more appealing as a potential career.
After another year as chassis lead, I am now the team leader and business leader of the Formula SAE team. I have come to learn that these roles consist not only of doing all the tasks that no-one else wants do to, but also listening to how the other team members would do certain tasks. Dealing with finances, sponsorships, making travel arrangements, organising events, preparing competition documents, getting the team to come together, stay positive and build a race car, is not easy but the feeling of success, working with wonderful sponsors and friends and of course placing well at competitions makes it all worthwhile.
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