Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Emily Linscott is a confident and accomplished young woman of motorsports from the United Kingdom. She began karting at what is considered a late age and has quickly climbed the ladders of success. She brings us through the highs and lows of racing and the challenges that come with funding. She is currently working with Pippa Mann, to raise the final third of funding for her 2020 season. If you would like to donate to the #GetInvolved Campaign, you can follow through the link below. We are excited to see Emily's promising future in motorsports.
How did you get started in motorsports? Could you walk us through your driving career thus far?
I started with my dad in January 2016 when he took me to the local circuit for a bit of fun one Sunday. I enjoyed it so much that I asked to go again the next week. The third week I beat him, so he said we could go to another track later that afternoon and see how we got on. I beat him twice there too. Just to give you some context, my dad was a Professional Superbike Champion (a hundred years ago) and doesn't let anyone beat him unless they're good enough to, he’s like that with everyone, including my siblings and I. That's when I asked if there were any kart clubs nearby that I could join. I raced at Brentwood Karting's Development club and quickly graduated to their Sunday Race League which has produced some very good drivers (Ben Green, Danny Harrison, Ayrton Simmons). I started winning there and moved on quickly to other circuits to get a wider range of skills and experience (Bayford Meadows, Buckmore Park, Lydd) and won at each of them, setting a new lap record at Lydd on my first time there too. I went into the Junior Subaru Kart Championship in owner driver racing and got podiums as a Novice straight away. I even won the Bayford Meadows Junior Club Championship without doing the full season, by finishing on the podium at every round. I also won the Buckmore Park Junior Star Pupil award too, the first, and only girl, to win this in its now 20 years of running. Arden International scouted me for their Young Racing Driver Academy (YRDA) when they asked me to go to their head offices for an assessment, which was very cool. They were happy and I joined them in January 2017 and started to think seriously about testing a Ginetta Junior car. Even though my kart season had started off well, sitting fifth in the championship, I was told to stop karting or it would confuse my learning how to drive a car, so I did. I did my first race in the Ginetta Junior Championship race at Rockingham in August 2017, exactly a year after my first official Motorsport UK (MSA then) kart race. We called it "Karts to cars in 1 year" on my social media channels. I was awful. I had some great test pace but then had a big crash into the wall at Turn 4, which must have spooked me a little because when I drove the loan car that we hired from Ginetta, I didn't feel comfortable in it, it felt quite different to the previous one. Then, in my first race, I got caught up in someone else's crash, as three cars collided and one spun off and straight into my car, which smashed it up bad. Anyway, that weekend on track wasn't good, but I did find out just how much of a public following I had when I arrived for the first day of racing, there were around 200 people waiting for me at the team awning. That was so awesome, something I will never forget! My next round was much better, and I showed my pace and race craft by finishing 5th Rookie at Silverstone. I was fairly happy with that. In 2018, I signed for a different team, Richardson Racing, where I was much happier. The season was OK I guess, I didn't have much luck but I did get a few top 10's, best was 8th place, and finished the season 10th in the Rookie Championship. There had been a huge amount of "attention" given to me by a couple of drivers, one especially, that hated the fact that a girl was always beating him. They dealt with it in their way by crashing into me and taking me, and them sometimes, out of the race. Richardson was always fantastic and helped me cope with this stupid stuff, but when I think back, I learned some valuable lessons from those experiences. I definitely learned to cope with my emotions better, and to always maintain my professionalism for the public, even if I wasn't feeling happy inside. They paid to come and see me so I was happy to give them my time, talk to them, have photos with them and sign autographs when I could. I think that's been one of the most important lessons I have learned so far and I think the supporters appreciate it more when a driver goes out of their way to talk to them. I tested a British F4 car with Richardson that year and loved it. I now knew which way I wanted my racing to go, but I still had some races to do to finish the season and then start looking for budget for 2019. After the GJ season finished, I got an offer to race in the F4 SEA (South East Asia) Championship race at the Sepang F1 Circuit in Malaysia. I managed to secure my International License and flew to Kuala Lumpur for the race. I trained hard for this meeting as I'd never raced in 40 plus degrees heat and never raced a single seater, so I knew I needed to prepare well. I did and I took two 7th place finishes. One of my sponsors had said that he wanted to support my 2019 F4 season in a big way and all the others were due to be back on board too, so British F4 looked like it would happen. Unfortunately, that word "Brexit" happened and a lot of them struggled in their businesses, so they couldn't get involved until they knew what would happen, but even more sad was that the one who wanted to be my main sponsor was suddenly diagnosed with something very serious. But for two conversations afterwards with my dad, he's not been heard of since. Very sad! So that was it, I'd lost about £130k's worth of sponsorship and my 2019 season was looking like it wouldn't happen. Then I got an email from Indy500 driver, Pippa Mann, and the Lucas Oil School of Racing, telling me that my application for a drive on their scholarship had been successful, I'd been given a two day test at Laguna Seca in February, so long as I got myself there and did all the other things that wasn't included. So, I did and with my parents' help we got everything booked and ready for the trip. I did my usual social media stuff, but one day, my dad asked me to ask my supporters to email him with their words of why they think I'm so inspirational, as I'd had a lot of people tell me that. He got a lot of lovely comments on email but one of them was slightly different. It was from Peter Bassill, owner of Hedgehog Cyber Security, who none of us knew by name, but apparently, we'd said hi in the paddocks before and he liked what I did. He offered me a drive partnering him in the Britcar Endurance races from halfway through the season after my GCSE' exams had finished. That was the first chance I had to get to race this year, so I knew I had something to look forward to. We would be racing his Ginetta G55 Supercup car, a 355BHP 3.7l V6 GT4 spec car, way faster than anything I'd ever driven before. I knew I could do it. That week, I flew to San Francisco with my parents and joined the Lucas Team. I met Pippa and we went through what they were going to do, what I needed to do, and everything looked really good. Great set up they've got there! I started the school day in the Advanced Lapping group with all the Championship drivers, as I'd obviously raced a car before, so I already knew track rules and etiquette, which they're really hot on. My lapping went well. Pippa and the team gave me their feedback and I went a did what was asked. The two days on track went very well. Pippa and I got on great, she even signed one of my caps for me and wrote "To Emily, #TheRealDeal" on it, and then explained she'd been very impressed with what I'd done. That made me feel so good that I'd come out and driven this well, but having Pippa and the whole team say the same was amazing! I knew I wanted to come back and learn more with these guys and drive their cars even more. We then flew to the Circuit Paul Ricard, an F1 track in the South of France, for the Volant Winfield Scholarship School. That was mental as we'd spent just four days in California, raced on track for two of them and flew out on the fifth day, back to the UK. We then transferred from Heathrow to Gatwick and caught another flight out to Marseilles to then drive up to the circuit. I was destroyed! I never knew that Jet Lag would be so tough to deal with. When I got to the track at 7.30am, we were briefed and told we had a full day in the gym for training and assessments. We ended up leaving the track at 10.30pm after being in the gym all day. I was completely exhausted! All my preparation had been blown apart by the jet lag. The next day we were in the cars on track and I drove like a numpty. I honestly didn't know what I was doing. I had no pace, no concentration and I just didn't perform to the standard I know I can. The final day I felt much better and my in-car stuff was good, back up to some decent pace but it was too late to make a difference to the result by then. I had to put it down to experience and maybe not try to do too many things in too little time. Anyway, it was another good experience once I'd got my head back together and could think properly. Back in the UK, Pippa Mann contacted us and said she had an opportunity for me to race in Mid Ohio with the Lucas School of Racing again, but I had to say no as I was taking my exams and couldn't let anything get in the way of them for now. In June I raced with Peter in his Ginetta G55 car at Oulton Park and we took and amazing 3rd place in class after a great battle with a Porsche GT3 car which I'd caught and passed with only 3 laps to go. A podium in our first race together, and without any testing, was pretty awesome! What a way to start. I flew to New Jersey to race in my first Lucas Formula Series race at the NJMP track with Pippa Mann, a circuit I'd never seen and didn't get to test on with the other drivers as it was the week before which we could do because of budget. I ran up front with the championship contenders all three days, qualifying 6th and finishing 6th in my first race. That was cool. My second race was even better. Doing the same as before but I'd picked off a few of the drivers and was running second, right on the gearbox of the leader. I knew I could win this one as I'd caught him and my pace was faster, so I just had to wait for my chance. The three of us at the front had broken away from the rest of the pack so it was literally just a case of who was going to stand on which step really. With a few laps to go, the guy in third tried a bit of a crazy lunge on me into the 5th gear turn 1, from two cars lengths back, and collided with my car, taking us both off track. That was pretty much the end of my chances (and his) of winning that race, and no podium either. Still, I'd shown what I could do. which was the main thing, and once again, Pippa was happy with my performance, and that really mattered to me. I race with Peter again at Snetterton and took home two championship 3rd places there and then flew straight off to Kentucky for the next round of the Lucas Formula Series. This one I was very excited about as there was no pre-race testing opportunities for anyone, not even on a simulator as the track hasn't been scanned by anyone, so it was a going to be a more level playing field. Practice times had me top three each time, then fastest in the last session. Qualifying saw me take fourth place after getting caught out by a more experienced driver playing games when we were "towing" up the straights. He apologized for playing games, but it was Ok, he'd taught me a valuable lesson. In the three races I took two second place podium finishes, two fastest laps, two pole position starts )from the fastest race laps) and set a new lap record in the final race when I finished 5th, after being run wide by another driver spinning out in front of my and costing me two places on the final lap. A good weekend, and I got a huge hug from Pippa too. I tested a BRDC F3 car with Christ Dittmann Racing at Donington Park in August, as this was the route I was hoping to go in the UK in 2020. What an amazing car; loads of power, loads of downforce, shed loads of grip. I spent 4 hours in the cockpit that day, and my pace was on point, so I'm guessing that my training is working and my adaptability was good too. Road America next, and what an incredible track that is. Seriously fast, long straights, some "old school" areas with no run-off at all and plenty of overtaking and drafting opportunities. I had a few car problems which kept me from performing as well as I'd hoped early on. That was challenging as I had a new sponsor coming to watch and meet me, someone I'd never met, or even knew in any way, just someone who had offered my financial help to get to these races in the US and stipulated that I had to race the RA round if I was to take his offer. That meant that even if I got through the W Series selection process on the simulators, I wouldn't be able to do the track test in Almeria, Spain, as it clashed with the Road America dates, exactly. We had already agreed as a family that we would go to the US, no matter what, so that's what we stuck to. The sponsor saw what was going on and he knew my unusually lack of pace wasn't down to me. Pippa wasn't so sure. She thought the F3 test, with all its downforce, may have made me drive these cars the same way, which wouldn't have worked. I'd finished my first two races down in 8th and 6th respectively, not what I was expecting or hoping for in front of the new sponsor. Thankfully, one of the instructors was out on corner when he saw what my car was doing, and reported it back to the team, and Pippa, which made us all pretty relieved. The car was pulling heavily to the left and locking the front left every time I touched the brakes. Stuff got sorted and I was able to get back to about full pace, but it meant I had everything to do the next day. I stuck the car on pole in 2nd qualifying, my first ever official pole position in qualifying; that was awesome. I even repaid the qualifying favor from the games in NCM, which was a step up in my racing as I’m not usually that harsh on people, but he knew what had happened, smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up afterwards, so mutual respect earned. I took pole even with the car still pulling to the left by cadence braking into almost all the braking areas. The race itself was good. I lead for a while, then swapped around, back and forth in the top six for the length of the race. When it came down to the final lap, I knew what I needed to do and where I needed to be to get the run on the others in front. Into the last turn I was 4th, and with the draft from the three cars ahead I could take the win. As it played out, my plan was right, but for the fact that as I chose my spot to move into, the front three broke ranks and spread out across the track at the same time, leaving me no more space to move into. It was so close. I finished 4th place but just 0.18 of a second off the win. Everyone who needed to see, did just that. The new sponsor had seen me cope with the very difficult mechanical problems I suffered over three race cars. He saw me cope with them in a professional manner and not sling my toys out of the pram as he put it, and then saw my pace and race craft too. It’s weird but I think this made it even better than if I’d won all three races. saw what they needed to see. My last race of the season was with Peter at Brands Hatch, in the Britcar “Into The Night” races. It was the worst conditions ever and the races were being held in the dark as well, my first time racing at night. Qualifying went well and we came in 7th overall, 2nd in class. Race 1 was a good one. Peter did a stellar job and kept us in contention. I took over and got caught out by a safety car coming out, which deleted our opportunity to regain lost time in the pits as the competition did their driver change under SC conditions. Nonetheless, I got on with my job and ground them down, taking laps off them and finally passing them to take the win. Our first as a team. Race 2 the next day was as difficult with the weather being really wet again, but we did our job once more to take back-to-back wins, beating Mike Epps, driving the Team Hard Ginetta G55 into second and third places respectively. What a way to end the season. Well, not quite the end of my season, I still had the Lucas Oil School of Racing/Cooper Tires Scholarship Shootout at Sebring in Florida to come in December, which could make a big difference to my 2020 season chances. Three days of intense assessments from simulator driving, which I don’t like, one-to-one interviews to camera, on-track driving and business learning classes with Pippa, for 27 fantastic young racing drivers from around the world competing for five winning places, the overall winner getting a fully funded season in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series in America. I’m very proud to say I was placed 3rd overall, which means that a third of my US race season is already paid for, so we know knew what we need to raise if I’m to get a full season of racing in America and start my journey towards the Road To Indy ladder.
How do you compare racing in the UK to racing in the USA? They're obviously similar in many ways but one main difference is that females are taken more seriously (in the USA) than they seem to be over here (UK), as equals rather than something less than the boys.
You started racing karts in 2016. What are some skills that you’ve taken from karting and are still implementing in car racing? Race craft is the biggest one. Bump drafting the person in front is a good one, when you are literally pushing them down the straight by touching their rear bumper (Tin Top cars of course) and when they go for a move on another driver, say up the inside, then I would jump into the hole that that car has made and follow it through. Stuff like that.
What has been your greatest achievement within your career thus far? That's a difficult one. I think getting my first podium in the GT4 last year in my first time out in the car has to be up there, and taking two podiums, two fastest laps, pole position and a new lap record at the NCM race track in Kentucky was pretty amazing, because I managed to make Pippa [Mann] really happy too, but, I think it has to be the back-to-back wins at Brands Hatch in the dark, while it was pouring with rain, and seeing my teammate's face when I got back to the pits, has to be the one that stands out most.
You had a number of victories during 2019 including a weekend where you won twice. Can you talk us through the mindset you were in during the weekend of the Brit Car Endurance Championship? What were some of the Elements you were focusing on during your race?
Those two wins at Brands were crazy! After qualifying 7th overall and 2nd in class, we knew we were in with a chance of the win as my pace was a couple of tenths off the leaders and he'd got the better track conditions. My engineer, Jim Murray, was talking to me during the race on the comms telling me where I was compared to our competition so I knew what I had to do. The conditions made it very tricky for everyone and a slight mistake could mean disaster so I was obviously thinking of keeping on the black stuff; it's a difficult balance of pushing as hard as possible without going over the limit [too far] and losing valuable time, or crashing out. I think my heart rate started to climb a little when Jim came on the radio saying I was catching the leader by a few seconds a lap and I'd be on them with a few minutes to go, but I'd been in that situation in my first race at Oulton too, so it wasn't anything new, other than the fact this time it was for the win. We took the lead under SC conditions as the leaders had thrown it away at Paddock. It was a weird happy/sad moment for me though. I'd wanted to fight them on -track and pass them that way, which we were due to do soon, not take the win because they were sitting in the gravel. As it happened, they'd got themselves out and back to the pits for a safety check, and to remove the gravel, and we took over the lead then. It's not the way I wanted to take the win, but it was a win we'd earned by putting them under pressure; it could quite easily have been us in the kitty litter! That feeling when Jim said on comms, "and that's the lead..." still makes me tingle now. Incredible! My focus had been to be fast and within my own limits all weekend. To learn what driving in the dark was like, because it changes your perspective, you're unable to see exactly who is behind you, so you rely on your engineer to let you know who is approaching or who you is catching and where the competition is because you just can't see anything but bright lights. And of course, in a multi-class race, there's a big difference in speed and ability of many of the cars on track so you have to be very aware of that when you're out there too.
What are your 2020 season goals? What is your long term goal in racing? My 2020 season goal is to first secure the budget to race open wheel cars in America in the Lucas Oil School of Racing's Formula Car Championship. The aim there is to learn as much as I possibly can, to win some race and fight for the title, hopefully to winning it as there's a $75,000 prize fund that will help towards my USF2000 debut season in 2021. My long term goal is racing is still being formed. My initial aim was to race and win in Formula 1, but IndyCar has become a lot more interesting since I started racing in America and I've learned more about it. You see, IndyCar two things that F1 doesn't have. Females are treated on a more equal level as men, plus, it seems to offer a level of access to the drivers that the F1 supporters don't get, which I love and think is really important. Either way, it's going to take a serious amount of focus, hard work, and dedication, which I've got already, but also some serious funding too, which I don't have, so I'm working hard on getting some good investors to work with me to reach the top.
Do you plan on competing in any European open wheel series or staying in the USA? I would love to race in a European open wheel championship but it's budget that restricts me at the moment. I honestly think that for me, and most drivers to be honest, it's about seat time; the more you have the better you become. The focus for me is securing America but I will try very hard to get into a championship over here too if I possibly can.
We empathize with your 2020 season being in jeopardy due to funding. Receiving sponsorship for female drivers within motorsports is a living issue. Could you elaborate more on that? What other challenges have you faced as a driver? How have you overcome them? Funding in Motorsport, or the lack of it, is the single biggest killer of talent, no matter what your gender. I think it's been more challenging for females in this sport/business in the past because of historical social pressures; men have always been the more dominant force in everything because they saw women as mothers and housewives, not as racing drivers or business owners, and things haven't changed enough to make us all equal in everyone's eyes, but it's getting better. Right now, there's more focus on women in general being on equal pay and terms as men. Motorsport is slowly changing its views too but there's a long way to go just yet. I've been asked this before, and my answer is still the same. Some of the boys can't cope with being beaten by girls, and it shows; I know because I've been at the receiving end of it. But, in my opinion, it's how they've been brought up. If their parents say "you can't let a girl beat you" then that's completely the wrong thing to say, you're instilling prejudice into that child and that's the way he is likely to continue to think. I've overcome any negative "attention" by doing what I do. Racing Ginetta Juniors taught me a lot about controlling my emotions, how others can affect not only your race but psychologically too. We’re all teenage kids in that class, some have a professional approach, others less so, so I've learnt to let people get on with their own thing and not let it affect me. I believe I'm better equipped to deal with that side of things than a lot of drivers, so I use it to my advantage, if you know what I mean.
Do you believe that a female-only series, such as the W Series, helps or hinders females place in motorsports? Oh, tough question! Honestly, when I heard about a women only series coming along, my first thought wasn't a positive one. As a driver, I want to race the best drivers I can at whatever level I'm at, which is all part of the learning process, so that was one of the things that threw me off a bit. Another was why? Why should girls be segregated from other drivers? The physical demands aren't too great that we can't compete, not the mental strength, so why change? But, on the other hand, the Series were doing things different to any other series out there; they were giving female drivers, some of whom hadn't raced in years and their careers effectively over due to lack of budget, not talent, an opportunity to race a stunning F3 car that they might not have had the chance to do any other way, and, giving them all an incredible platform to grow themselves and their career chances beyond the wildest dreams. It will always be a contentious subject, but you can’t please all the people, all the time. One thing it does do is to show young girls that women race cars too, so if that's all it does, then I guess that's a cool thing, but I think it's a lot more than that. Yes, of course I would race it. Here's my number W Series ;-)
You have been working with Pippa Mann for some time now. She is an inspiration to drivers and women in motorsports. What are some things Pippa has taught you, both on and off of the track?
Firstly, let me say that Pippa has been incredible to and for me since I met her a year ago in Laguna Seca. She and the Lucas Oil School of Racing awarded me a "Pippa Mann Scholarship" drive as one of just six girls to receive that opportunity, I was the only one from outside the Americas too. She was great from the start, working with me, giving me feedback and advice over the two days. I went quick on track, didn't throw it off trying too hard, I listened and applied what I was being told, I got on with everyone and spoke to other people not involved in my field, which I think was the bit she really liked. I think that's when we sort of clicked. I've always worked hard for my racing; training, social media, meeting sponsors, pushing myself on and off track and going out of my way to make myself better. She's the same but even more. Everyone admires her for her work ethic! And then she goes even further by supporting other girls and women in Motorsport to help them succeed and go further. Without her, last year's races in America wouldn't have happened and nor would this year's either. Tenacity. I think that's what I'd say I've learned most from Pippa's own mindset, to never give up no matter how difficult the struggle. If you want it then go get it because no one is going to hand it to you on a plate! She's not said it, but you see that's the way she is with things.
Pippa Mann and yourself have started a campaign, #GetInvolved, in the effort to fund the final third of your 2020 season. Aside from helping support women in motorsports, what are some other things people might get from donating to the campaign? Signed photographs?
The #GetInvolved Crowdfunding Campaign has been great so far. Pippa came up with the idea as my family don't have the money to run me in racing any more. My supporters have always said they'd love to help fund my racing in some way, so this idea was born. Pippa has done this a couple of times before, so she's got so many great ideas. It's also about giving something back to our supporters too, not just taking their money. All of the Perks are exclusive to the campaign, so when they're gone, they're gone, we won't just make a load more and sell them. The T-shirts have been designed by a designer, the caps are all embroidered and look stunning, a different design to my previous ones too. There's also the chance to race against me in a Team Karting Endurance for the UK supporters as the venue is in Essex. But I guess the big things are my own race kit, they're immense. There's my Official Bell Race Helmet, the one I use for the 2020 US season that's up for grabs. Ten people can enter this perk with one of them being drawn out of the helmet at the end of the year with the winner receiving that very helmet, signed by me. Then there's my Walero Base Layer (Fireproof top) from 2019 that's been framed and will go to the winner of the ten people who enter that one. My race suit; Yep, my very own race suit is another perk that someone will get to own and then there's the amazing Mini Replica Bell Helmets in the Diamond Supporters Perk. Bell supplied five of these amazing half-size helmets and Lawrence Manning, Owner of Kaos Art, who always paints my lids, will be working his magic on them once they arrive here in the UK this month. It really took off on the first day, totaling over $25,000 in less than 24 hours and we're over $32k now after just 5 days. his whole thing is designed to help me get back to run a full season in open wheel cars in America this year and to give me an opportunity to prove what I'm about. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this far with the Crowdfunding, from those who've donated, pledged, supported by sharing and reposting and those who have simply said good luck and congratulation, it’s been an amazingly fun journey to take with all of these lovely people. I'm excited to see where we get to by the end of the month.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog do not necessarily reflect those of the guest, host or the DrivingForwardTogether initiative.