Paddock Magazine is joined today by Emma Selway, who is a durability test driver with McLaren Automotive. This dedicated individual already managed to try herself as a professional racing driver and a performance driving coach, so we decided to ask Emma a few relevant questions about her work and the racing talent out there.
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Full name: Emma Selway
Occupation: Durability test driver with McLaren Automotive
Date of birth: 14.01.1989
Place of birth: Watford, England, UK
What advice would you give now to someone starting out in motorsport?
You’ll have to give up a lot of your time to dedicate yourself to the sport. Motorsport is a fantastic industry to be a part of but it does require hard work, dedication and, unfortunately, deep pockets. But don’t let the money side dishearten you. There are opportunities out there for drivers and riders without huge backing, there are various scholarships in different categories of racing that are worth looking at. But the biggest piece of advice I would give anyone is to remember to HAVE FUN! It is very easy to lose sight of this very simple aspect, especially when you spend all of your time away from the circuits hunting for and contacting sponsors.
Tell us about your work with McLaren Automotive.
In 2016 I was offered the fantastic opportunity of working with McLaren Automotive on their Durability Test Team. I work with the brand’s future models too, essentially, ensure that they are ready for life in the hands of a customer. We drive many kilometres to emulate the different driving types that we expect the cars to see in their lifetime, this can be anything from track miles to town miles. My background up until this point has really helped to guide me to where I am now. My years of racing allow me to drive effectively on track but also to understand what the cars are doing, to understand sounds and feelings.
Remember to HAVE FUN! It’s very easy to lose sight of this very simple aspect, especially when you spend all of your time away from the circuits hunting for and contacting sponsors.
What are the tendencies in the sector of young talented racing drivers?
I think with a lot of youngsters in the sport they feel they have to follow one path. By this, I mean that when I was young I felt I needed to race karts, graduate to Formula Renault, Formula 3 and then Formula 1. This simply isn’t the case, there are so many more feeder series that you can get involved in. One of my favourite car races to date was my weekend in the Lotus Elise Trophy and the Lotus Cup UK at Silverstone.
I had never considered racing the Lotus previously but the weekend was full of very close battles that didn’t end until the chequered flag, I would happily do it again given the chance. There are also so many top-flight championships to aim for – Formula 1, WEC, WTCC, ELMS, Blancpain. There really is no set way to climb to these classes, the experience is everything so race what you can when you can. You can even completely jump ship, as I did, and race motorbikes!
From 2014 to 2016 I raced with the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BEMSEE) in their MRO 600 class and MRO Minitwins. I had endless amounts of fun doing this and even after racing on four wheels for ten years, I found I was pretty good on two wheels as well. The opportunities within the motorsport industry really are endless, so one should enjoy them if possible.