I have a great passion for motorsport and have been involved in numerous forms of motor racing since the age of 13. In 2012 I took to the track for the first time at the indoor Xtreme Karting Centre in Edinburgh. As my lap times decreased and my confidence increased, I progressed into a hire kart Junior Championship at Raceland in East Lothian. I have continued to kart regularly and recently have competed with friends in rental kart championships such as the Elite Karting League (EKL) and British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC). In 2014 and 2015, I was one of only 2 females in the UK to reach the final of the BSKC. I now run my school’s go-karting club and enjoy encouraging others into the sport.
GR: Did you always have a plan to progress to cars?
Having competed in the prestigious Ginetta Junior Scholarship in 2013, I wanted nothing more than to make the move from rental karts into cars. Unfortunately a lack of funding meant most junior circuit racing championships were out with our reach. Eager to get back in the driving seat, we managed to organise a test in an affordable form of grassroots car racing called autograss. I was very thankful that we were then able to purchase my own Nissan Micra to begin competing in mid 2014. I competed in the ‘Junior Saloons Class’ from summer 2014 to summer 2015. After turning 16, I upgraded to a flowery pink Toyota Yaris and took out an adults racing license for the latter half of the season. I chose to obtain a Mens racing license rather than a Ladies license, to allow me to race in ‘Mens Class One’, the most competitive autograss class. I was the youngest competitor and only female in this class in Scotland. At the end of the season, I became the Mens Class One Scottish Vice-Champion 2015. I was also awarded the trophy for the Most Improved Adult Rookie across all classes in Scotland.
GR: We heard that you’re interested in running cars as well as racing them?
Running my own car in autograss has also sparked my interest in the mechanical side of racing. I have always had a keen interest in design and engineering and am now intent on pursuing a career in the motorsport industry. I was awarded an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship last year, for future British leaders in engineering. I am very grateful to my sponsor, The MacRobert Trust, who support my ambitions to work as a motorsport engineer in Formula One.
GR: Can you tell us about your day competing for the JSCC Scholarship?
I travelled down from Edinburgh apprehensive but excited to take part in the great new initiative that is the Teenage Cancer Trust Junior Saloon Car Championship Scholarship. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly which ultimately helped me absorb more feedback and have a very memorable day.
The morning began with a fitness test which incorporated both weight and cardio training followed by an interview in front of the camera with 2015 Ginetta Supercup Champion, Tom Oliphant, and Clerk of the Course, Vickie MacClinton. We then had an hour track session to prove our ability in the car round the Silverstone Stowe Circuit. The four instructors were very encouraging and made me feel relaxed in the car so I could get the most out of the track time. The final assessment was the Batak Board which provided a friendly challenge for all of the competitors whilst testing our reaction times and peripheral vision. I was thrilled and certainly shocked to be announced as one of the three finalists after lunch.
GR: I guess with the pressure now on, you must’ve felt nervous going into the finals?
Nervous was an understatement as I climbed the staircase for my final 15 minute panel interview. My approach was very much to try to communicate my true passion for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Junior Saloon Car Championship to the panel. I was over the moon to be awarded the scholarship for a funded drive in the JSCC in 2016. The opportunity is immense and I very much look forward to my graduation year in circuit racing as an ambassador of such a prominent charity. Racing at some of the UK’s most famous circuits such as Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Knockhill is something I have always dreamed of and the idea that this opportunity will enable me to do this still feels surreal to me!
GR: What’s next for you now you’ve won?
I know I have a busy month ahead of me with multiple testing sessions, sitting my ARDs license exam, learning the Oulton Park Circuit and training in the gym to ensure I am as prepared as I possibly can be for Round 1 on 19th March. I intend to make full use of this once in a lifetime chance to break into motorsport and ensure I am always giving the best of myself for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the championship. I’m sure with the support of the many scholarship sponsors, to whom I am very grateful, we can raise the awareness of the Teenage Cancer Trust and help contribute towards their impact on the 7 teenagers diagnosed with cancer in the UK everyday.
GR: Thanks for speaking to us Emily, is there anything else you’d like to say?
A final thank you to all involved in the the JSCC Scholarship for running such a well organised event. If anyone out there has a company and would like to support the Teenage Cancer Trust this season you can contact me at email@example.com to discuss the advertising opportunities available. See you on the grid!
GR: You’ll be able to read about Emily’s season in the JSCC on the site all through the year. By Marc Waller