Walero’s ‘Real Racers’ campaign intends to shine a light on the personalities, stories and characters across all levels of junior motorsport. All members of the campaign compete up and down the land and have independently chosen Walero to keep them cool under pressure and help them fight it out at the front of the grid.
In this edition, we hear from Emily Linscott, the 18-year-old hotshot who has moved heaven and, quite literally, earth to chase her racing ambitions.
Life is full of challenges at the best of times, especially when you’re young. Add to that your plans to move to another country, alone at 17, to chase your dreams. Then add a global pandemic on top for good measure. That’s an awful lot of challenges for one person but it’s a unique set that Emily Linscott has taken on, and conquered, all in the short space of two years.
The now-18-year-old, originally from Langdon Hills in Essex, has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the motorsport ranks. Entering her first kart race in 2016, Emily quickly found herself racing in Formula 4 just two years later.
“My dad took me karting one Sunday at a circuit quite local to our home and I loved it,” Emily said. “I asked if we could go again so we went the next Sunday and then the following Sunday too.
“That’s when I beat him twice. He was very surprised and I was really happy so he said we should go to another local track that neither of us had been to before, and so we went to Brentwood Karting that afternoon. I beat him both times there too! I think that’s when he realised I might have something.
“From there it was all very quick, really. After a couple of months competing on hire karts, I got my own Junior Subaru Alonso Kart, immediately podiumed in that and enjoyed those meetings. I moved onto testing Ginetta Junior cars and almost went racing at the beginning of 2017, but I wasn’t ready.”
During those early days, Emily faced torment and intimidation from people within the motorsport industry as well as those outside – from her school. A determined and resilient character, Emily simply took it all in her stride with the aim of using it as motivation to succeed even more.
“I started to get a lot of nasty comments from some of the karting kids and even from people at school,” Emily revealed. “It was because I was doing something different and getting a lot of media attention, which made me feel bad at the time but then I realised that they were just jealous and I didn’t let them bother me any more.
“It’s not what anyone wants when they’re doing something they love but I’ve learnt a lot from those times, I guess I should thank them because their negativity just made me more determined to carry on and succeed.”
After her success in karting, 2018 marked Emily’s first full season in Ginetta Juniors and saw her test a British F4 car for the very first time.
“I loved it and I knew immediately that I wanted to race single seaters,” she explained. “I managed to get an entry into the F4 South East Asia round at Sepang in Malaysia where I took two seventh place finishes. I’d hoped to race the British F4 Championship in 2019 but couldn’t raise the budget.”
It’s an age-old tale in motorsport that budgets and funding can be the deciding factor on whether or not a driver can make it onto the grid. More often than not, many fall short and are forced to miss the chance, regardless of how talented they are.
Emily nearly found herself in that very situation, until an unexpected opportunity with one of Walero’s dearest friends, Pippa Mann, appeared on social media.
“The Pippa Mann Scholarship with the Lucas Oil School of Racing came about when my mum saw a Twitter post from Pippa about it,” Emily said.
“She was asking for girls to send in their CVs about what they’d done so she could look through all the applicants to see who were the most deserving candidates. There were six places in total and Pippa sent back a message to me saying I’d been offered a place. I was so excited!
“I was off to California to race on the iconic Laguna Seca race track; how cool is that?! I went with my parents, we met Pippa and the whole team and I got on really well.”
Since then, Pippa has become one of Emily’s closest mentors – guiding her through her career and offering her all the advice and support possible.
“Having Pippa’s support since then has meant the world to me,” Emily said. “She has helped me with so many things that I cannot thank her enough for. I just wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I think she sees a bit of her younger self in me, my parents think there are a lot of parallels between us too. I just hope I can make it into IndyCar and the Indy500 with Pippa beside me. I think that would be such an amazing feeling for us both.”
With the help of Pippa and her scholarship, Emily has broken onto the USA’s junior motorsport ranks, racing in a variety of series in the States since 2019, including the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series. This year, she competes in the F4 US Championship.
“Since racing in America for the first time in 2019, I made it known that it was IndyCar and the Indy 500 route I wanted to pursue so making America my second home was always going to happen, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“Racing over here is different in some ways to the UK. I can’t say exactly how or why but it feels different. I’ve always had great fans in the UK and I’ve got almost as many over here in the US now too. I think it must be the type of racing that IndyCar has that sets it apart from F1; it’s close, it’s hard and the circuits are old school with many of them being narrow wall-lined tracks, plus the drivers and teams are more accessible making it better for the fans all round too.”
Like many people, Emily had a very disjointed 2020 thanks to the pandemic and was forced to miss part of her season through travel restrictions.
“Managing my season during the pandemic was a bit crazy. I had a full season lined up thanks to my sponsors and incredible supporters who supported my first #GetInvolved crowdfunding campaign.
“I’d tested at Homestead Miami Speedway in early March and flew home to go back to my day job. I was due to fly back to America three weeks later for the first round when the UK went into lockdown. It was a bit surreal but all of a sudden it looked like my season was not going to happen as the US stopped people and flights from the UK entering America, but the series was still looking like it would run. Once everyone realised how bad COVID-19, America then stopped all the championships from running.
“Then the Lucas Oil Formula Series announced it was starting up but athletes from the UK. still couldn’t enter the country so I had to miss the first three races. That hurt a lot but there was nothing I could do about it. Just keep doing what I was doing to be prepared for the moment when I could get back into a race car again.”
Determined to go racing in 2020, Emily kept the faith that she would soon be allowed back into the US to finally get her season started.
“I got told that there might be a chance I could get out once motorsport athletes were added to the list of Elite Athletes,” she explained. “I remember speaking to my mum and dad about it and they asked me if I got the chance to go, would I go even if it meant going to America alone?
“I immediately said yes, I’d go. I got a text on a Monday saying I was allowed to travel and I was packed and ready to fly from Heathrow on the Wednesday. I got sent back home as immigration said something wasn’t signed in America but I booked another flight for the following morning and I was gone. Pippa met me at Chicago airport and we drove back to her house where I stayed for four and a half months.
“I won’t lie, it was a tough year and not the way I wanted my racing to go. It was a very lonely time but I was out in America racing cars. How bad could it be?”
Now in America full-time, Emily has grown into her new way of life despite the challenges a new country can present.
“Moving to America to chase my dreams has been amazing but also challenging. Like I said, I get to race cars in the USA which is what I want in my career. I have recently made some new friends who have made a massive difference to my time here. I have been out to car shows, rallies, and meets, and I’m loving the whole car scene with like-minded people. It’s incredible that I get to race cars here in America, but now having friends to chill with too has made it so much better.”
Away from the race track, Emily’s grit and determination saw her shortlisted for the prestigious Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards in 2020, in recognition of her tenacity to overcome the challenges she faced throughout the year.
“Being shortlisted for The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards was crazy, a bolt out of the blue really. I’d been racing in America and, because of that and the fact I’d travelled there alone at 17 in the middle of a pandemic, I suppose it struck a chord with them as well as some of my in-car performances too.”
Her 2021 campaign has started in similar fashion, with Emily defying the odds to make it to the grid and succeed.
“I’d signed to race the F4 US Championship with Kiwi Motorsport so I was very excited about that, but I’d only signed for half the season as I needed to find the rest of the budget still.
“I didn’t get the sponsorship budget I was hoping for, I think the Pandemic had a lot to do with that but My #GetInvolved crowdfunding campaign was very successful once more, which secured the last bit of money I needed to get to the end of round three.
“With no testing to speak of, just the Official two days at VIR, I knew I was the least experienced driver of these cars on the grid but I knew I had pace and bravery on my side. I scored my first points with an eighth place of 27 drivers in my first weekend of racing in the wet, which was my first target ticked off. I’m still trying to raise the budget to finish the full season.”
With half of the season under her belt, Emily has her eyes set on completing the remaining three rounds. You can follow her on her journey through her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
Images courtesy of Emily Linscott.