Formula 4

Emily Linscott

Emily took her first top ten finish in the F4 U.S. Championship and championship points to boot.
(Credit Amy Lentz Photography)

Juggling her studies, training, travelling and racing, 18-year-old Emily Linscott already has a very impressive résumé. She reveals her many achievements to date and the important role the US is playing in her career.

WHEEL SISTERS: Emily, please introduce yourself.

Emily: Hi, I’m Emily Linscott, I’m 18 years old and I live in Langdon Hills, Essex, in the UK. I’m a professional race car driver in the F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda which is sanctioned by the FIA. I hold an International C Licence which means I can race most things anywhere in the world. I am a Shift Up Now Athlete which is a collective of professional female race car drivers supporting their Athletes and all other women in motorsport. I am also a member of the Motorsport UK Academy (Futures) Squad, comprising of just 18 Elite drivers. The programme helps nurture the paths of their Elite Athletes to become better professionals and help guide us on our way into full-time careers.

WHEEL SISTERS: You started your career only five years ago and progressed quickly from Kart to Formula 4. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How were you introduced to motorsport?

Emily: Yes, I started in hire karts in 2016 just for some fun when I went to my local track with my dad one Sunday. I really enjoyed it, so we went the next couple of Sundays after too and I beat my dad twice on the third time there. We then went to another local track that neither of us had driven before later that day and I beat him twice again, and he’s a former professional Superbike champion, so he thought I might have something. I joined my local circuit Development Club and did well immediately and got invited to join their Sunday Academy League. I moved around to some other circuits at the same time too to get some experience of other layouts and competition. I won and podiumed quite a lot, so my parents bought me a second-hand Junior Subaru 4-stroke kart to race in owner driver races. In my first official MSA kart events in August, I took a 3rd place podium and podiums in my next two meetings too.

I won my first championship that year, the BMKC Junior Championship, after competing in only six of the seven rounds, but I scored podiums in every round and became the first and only girl to win that championship. I also won the Buckmore Park Junior Star Pupil that year too, once again, the only female to ever win that title.

I was scouted by Arden international for the Young Racing Driver Academy (YRDA) and stayed with them for 2017 but my parents couldn’t afford to keep me there, so I left at the end of the year. I started my first Ginetta Junior Championship Race at Rockingham in front of 35,000 spectators which went out live on ITV Television, exactly one year after my first official MSA kart race. I signed to race a full season in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2018 with Richardson Racing who were brilliant to work with. I finished 10th in the Rookie Championship which wasn’t where I’d expected or hoped to be, but I did learn a lot.

At the end of that year, I got an offer to race in the F4 SEA (South East Asia) Championship triple header at Sepang in Malaysia, so I went there and took two 7th place finishes. I desperately wanted to race F4 in 2019 but the budget wasn’t there.

Pippa Mann and the Lucas Oil School of Racing awarded me a scholarship drive, in Pippa’s name, with them at Laguna Seca in 2019. We flew to California and I did what I was expected to do which was go fast, and they were happy. I was quick on track but I think they also liked my off track stuff too, like being able to talk to people and being friendly with everyone so Pippa worked really hard to get me back to the US for three more race weekends with the school. I did three rounds with them at New Jersey Motorsport Park (NJMP), National Corvette Museum (NCM) Motorsport in Kentucky and Road America. I ran up front with the championship regulars in my first races at NJMP which pleased a lot of people and surprised a few more. I took two 2nd place podiums at NCM, 2 x fastest laps, 1 x pole position and a new lap record, which still stands now. At Road America I had two top ten finishes and a 4th place, setting official pole for the Sunday race. I’d never tested on any of the circuits beforehand.

I was offered a “Pro” drive in the UK with a gentleman driver, Peter Bassill, racing his GT4 Ginetta G55 in three of the Britcar Endurance rounds which was awesome. We took an incredible 3rd place in our first outing together, then two 4th’s and finished the year off with back-to-back wins at Brands Hatch. Both races were night races and the first of the two races was in the worst weather you’ve ever seen but they were so much fun and such hard-fought wins.

Pippa Mann helped get me back to the US with the Lucas Oil School of Racing again in 2020 so I flew to America, alone, during the Global Pandemic and stayed there four and a half months travelling around to each circuit. I ended the championship 7th overall after missing the first three races due to COVID travel restrictions. However, I did set a new lap record at NJMP – I also posted fastest laps, a couple of pole positions and I finished the season off with a 3rd place at Sebring International Raceway so it’s all good.

Pippa Mann wearing her ‘Linscott’ beanie beside Emily in the Lucas car (Credit Mark Linscott)

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your career milestones so far?

Emily: My career milestones? They have to be being awarded the scholarship drive with Pippa Mann and the Lucas Oil School of Racing at Laguna Seca, as that’s where all of the US racing started. Meeting Pippa herself, that’s definitely been a highlight, she’s been amazing and very inspirational.

Getting my International Licence and the end of my first Junior car racing season to get me racing in Malaysia was pretty awesome and travelling the world racing is just incredible, it’s a dream come true.

My first podium in single seaters at NCM was brilliant because the temperature was over 100 degrees with high humidity, the racing was hard and very close, so I earned both of those podiums.

My first wins in cars were honestly one of the best things I’ve ever experienced, the emotion was off the scale.

Finally getting to race the F4 U.S. Championship this year is a big thing too. I’ve been trying to raise the budget to do F4 since 2018 so to finally get in the series, even for just half the season, is fantastic!

WHEEL SISTERS: What helped you to improve your racing skills?

Emily: Having some incredible coaches like Sam Maher-Loughnan, Kieron Vernon and Callan O’Keeffe in the UK during my first year in GJ’s and now Pippa in single seaters, plus having the entire Lucas Oil School of Racing team coaching me during my time with them, has all made such a massive difference learning new skills. Pippa started coaching me at my first F4 test in Texas over intercom while I was on track and that’s been great to get direct feedback from her like that. I first learnt that when I raced the GT4 car with Peter and Century Motorsport – it was a real turning point. Becoming more mature and evolving as a person has made me capable of understanding more too, it’s surprising how much difference a year makes.

I’m always looking for overtakes even in the most unlikely places.

WHEEL SISTERS: What makes your driving stand out from the crowd?

Emily: I guess what makes my driving style stand out from the crowd is that I’m very smooth but also quite aggressive, I’m always looking for overtakes even in the most unlikely places, so that’s a big thing really.

WHEEL SISTERS: A few weeks ago, you revealed that you had earned the scholarship in the PMH Powering Diversity Programme in America. What does that mean to you?

Emily: Yeah, that was a crazy day! Pippa told me about two weeks before and I’ve had to keep it a secret ever since. Pippa, my parents and I have tried very hard to raise the budget for this season in F4 U.S. and it’s not been as successful as we’d all thought it might be, primarily because of COVID devastating businesses, so we were starting to get desperate and hoping that my #GetInvolved Crowdfunding Campaign will at least be as good or better than last year’s one to raise the remainder I need to complete the first half of the season, which was a bit of a risk, but getting the news over the phone that Tony Parella of Parella Motorsport Holdings had awarded me the first PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship was very emotional. My parents and I were listening to what Pippa had to say on the phone and it was so crazy; we were all a little bit tearful as it took a lot of pressure off the whole family to get to the end of the first half of the season. Since then, I’ve concentrated on getting out to America knowing I could make the first three rounds, but we still have a lot of work to get the remaining budget for the second half, so we are continuing to work hard for that. I’ll say a massive thank you to Tony when we meet in person. I’m in the U.S. now.

WHEEL SISTERS: Can you give us an insight into the program? What is the content and duration? How many participants?

Emily: I honestly don’t know much about it. I know that we had nothing to do with influencing the decision but there were loads of industry people who contacted Tony to say that I should be their Diversity Scholar which is a bit crazy. I think the programme is mainly about being a good ambassador for their Diversity Programme, to help other girls and minorities to understand there’s a way through all this and that the world is changing for the better where we will all treated as equals. It’s something I’ve always done anyway so I’ll just keep doing what I do, I guess.

Good vibes only. (Credit Amy Lentz Photography)

WHEEL SISTERS: There is no doubt about your talent, but there are so many talented young women who have no progress like this. Apart from your racing skills: What was your magical formula for your quick success.

 Emily: Thank you. No magical recipe really, just great support from my parents in everything and eventually working out which people to surround myself with rather than those who pretend to be there supporting you. That might be one of the biggest things actually! My parents spent everything on getting me into Ginetta Junior’s and hoping that we might be able to find some big sponsors to help me get further on. I’ve collected a couple of loyal sponsors along the way who are great but I’m sure they won’t mind me saying, they aren’t going to be able to pay for a season in F4, so we have to keep fighting for every penny/dollar we get.

WHEEL SISTERS: What advice would you give to other young girls also hoping to get a chance like this?

Emily: My advice to other young girls trying to make it up the ladder in motorsport is to always pursue your dream. Make sure they are your dreams – so many drivers are there because their parents want them to be there and that’s no use, the kids won’t enjoy themselves and it’ll be a massive waste of time and money. Don’t ever underestimate how much work you will need to put in, it’s honestly mad how much time I spend doing training, media work and social media engagement. Your school friends will never understand why you don’t hang out with them after school or spend time with them round their houses, it’s just something you’ve got to accept. If you’ve got the right friends then they’ll stay with you and support you in whatever you do, so don’t be afraid to look at them closely before investing loads of time into people who have no interest in you. I found out the hard way, but I’ve got some fantastic friends that I don’t see very much, but they always stay in touch.

 

Any time is a good time for Emily and her social media. (Credit Amy Lentz Photography)

WHEEL SISTERS: You live in the United Kingdom, but the scholarship program is for America. Does it mean that you have to move for this program?

Emily: I do live in the UK, but I’ve made the decision that the US is where I want my career going, IndyCar and Indy500, so I don’t mind making the trips across the water to go back and forth. Last year Pippa let me stay with her and I travelled back to the UK once in the middle of the four months. I am doing the same this year too but I don’t think I’ll be moving out here just yet, not until I can find some big sponsors to keep racing and get a Visa so I can earn money here too. If my career goes the way I hope it does then I think I’ll need to move to America. I like that idea.

WHEEL SISTERS: You are still a student, while at the same time you participate in races and trainings in America. How do think you can manage this stressful time?

Emily: I am a student and juggling my studies, training, travelling and racing is very difficult but I’m learning how to organise it all well. My employer has been so supportive, I couldn’t have asked for more. Being locked down at home for all this time has been very hard on so many people, and I’ve found it hard to do some of my stuff properly too, but I’m lucky to have some great people around me like Pippa, my parents and my siblings in England, it really helps me get through my workload, most of the time.

WHEEL SISTERS: Who is your role model and why?

Emily: I suppose I should say my dad because he’s been a Superbike Champion and raced for some big teams in World Championships but he’s my dad, and he’ll always be my dad first. Pippa is an amazing role model; she works so hard and seems to manage to do a million things at once and gets it all done. But I also look up to Moto GP Marc Marquez because he never ever stops trying and always has a smile on his face whatever happens. He’s also nice looking, so that helps.

Emily and Co-Driver, sponsor and owner of Hedgehog Security, Peter Bassill, on the podium after their double (back-to-back) win at Brands Hatch in Nov 2019
(Credit Paul Cherry)

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your personal strengths?

Emily: I’m not sure what my personal strengths are. I’m honest and very genuine which I think is very important. I work hard and I have risen to most challenges on the track and managed to be professional at all times even when everything has just gone really bad.

WHEEL SISTERS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Emily: Winning the IndyCar Championship (again) and hopefully winning the Indy500 at least once. I’d like to be able to use my professional position to help other girls break boundaries and perceptions so they can pursue their dreams too, no matter what the challenges.

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your private and sporting goals in the upcoming months?

Emily: I’d really like to say I’ll be competitive straight away in the F4 U.S. Championship but that might be a difficult one as I haven’t had any testing yet and most of the others have been through full season’s and a winter testing programme. My initial idea is to break into the top ten, but I desperately want to be on the podium and winning races by mid-season as I know I’m good enough. Making sure I’m happy and positive here in the States is important to me, being here without my family to talk to and support me is hard, but something I’ve learnt to deal with – and standing on my own two feet and having my independence is such an amazing feeling.

Breaking! I’ve just heard that I will now get to race round 4 of the F4 U.S Championship Powered by Honda which is in July at Brainerd.

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