Circuit racing

Jessica Nicholson

Jessica Nicholson is a circuit racer and a Senior Race Official in Australia for over 10 years. She talks to us about her racing career so far and her job as an Official.

WHEEL SISTERS: Jessica, please introduce yourself.

Jessica: G,Day Wheel-Sisters! My name is Jessica Nicholson and I’m very involved in Circuit Racing & Rally in Australia. Furthermore, I am a Senior Motorsport official that has over a decade of experience and knowledge in circuit racing and rally.

WHEEL SISTERS: How did you get into motorsport and how special has been your journey so far?

Jessica: I live on the outskirts of Sydney NSW on a 5-acre property. We have our own workshop and storage area for our Race Cars. My partner Dave has raced in Circuit racing in State level and National Level championships for over 30 years. He was also a chief engineer of a Rally Car in The Australian Rally Championship for 6 years. He’s also help build one of the fastest cars in the World in Time Attack series in Australia.

I have only been racing for the past 5 years. I started out at track days and super sprints at different circuits in NSW and then when I felt my driving skills were up to standard, I start racing door to door in a state level championship with my Mazda RX8 – Her name is Ruby. We built Ruby from scratch and have made many modifications to her with Porsche calipers and disc brake upgrade package, Endurance Fuel Cell, Custom Roll cage to category certification, Chev LS1 V8 Engine with 350kws at the wheels and custom side pipe exhaust with extractors plus many more features. 

I’ve raced in the state level series for 2 years in 2017 & 2018 and came 2nd in Class and 5th outright from 41 other competitors. Only two of those competitors where women.  

In the early 2000s I started out as a Rally Navigator in dirt and tarmac events in NSW, VIC & Tasmania. I did this for 4 years and our best achievement was 3rd place in Early Modern Class at a prestigious tarmac rally.

Jessica run circuit race meetings as the clerk of course and also just appointed this year as Deputy Race Director with our national series Porsche Carrera Cup.

Pic by: Jessica Nicholson

WHEEL SISTERS: If you had unlimited cash, what would be your dream car?

Jessica: I’ve gotten the chance to drive some exotic cars in my time. Yes, other competitors have asked/ let me drive their cars.

A radical which are insane aero and is powered by a motorbike engine. A super kart (Go Kart on steroids) for a couple of laps which was a different experience being so low to the ground, so you felt every bump. I’ve taken a Ferrari, Sports Alfa Rome, Lotus, Nissan R35 for a test drive and my all-time favorite is the Lamborghini Gallardo… That’s was a dream to drive and hear the lovely noises it made. I will own one eventually someday as Ill own a Porsche Carrera Cup car and R35 Nissan GTR.

I’ve own a Nissan R32 GTR, Nissan R33 GTR, Nissan 180SX and HSV R8 (V8 Aussie Muscle Car).

WHEEL SISTERS: Jessica, tell us a bit more about your work as a motorsport official.

Jessica: I’ve been a Motorsport official for over a decade volunteering my time at the racetracks and building on my skills and knowledge. I’m a trackside official but mostly I’m a Clerk of Course for Club, State & National Level circuit events and an event assessor that helps upgrade other officials’ licenses and mentors them into more responsible and senior roles at the track.

My latest achievement as a Motorsport official is becoming a Deputy Race Director for National Porsche Payce Carrera Cup category. I’m the first female in Australia to hold such a position in Motorsport.

It’s a magical feeling to be honest because it’s something different and something I have been working towards since I started my career as a clerk of course. Over the years, I have been working on building my skill set through exposure at a variety of different events with the goal of getting my knowledge up to a level that is accepted for this kind of role.

I am acutely aware of my role and position within the sport at a time when stereotypes are being challenged and females are playing an ever-increasing role in motorsport.

It’s special to be considered for this role as a woman, especially now that the industry is pushing for women involvement. To have a role like this open up to a woman is fantastic because it proves that we can do it. There is some pressure on me to succeed in this role as I am representing women, although that pressure has always been there on me, so I am used to it.

“To have a role like this open up to a woman is fantastic because it proves that we can do it.”

WHEEL SISTERS: What hard decisions/situations can you remember as an official?

Jessica: The hardest moments are when you doubt yourself. You learn from your mistakes and learn to overcome that feeling as in Australia we have a lack of upcoming officials to be taught the roles. I’ve battled my whole volunteering career to get to the experience level that I’m at now.

I’ve been the only female clerk of course running state & national level circuit racing events for the past 8 years and mentoring my team in-between to build them up.

It’s taken a decade to get to the highest grading you can receive in officiating.

WHEEL SISTERS: We have a few girls in our community, which are interested in becoming a motorsport official or a FIA official. Any hints on how they can achieve their goal?

Jessica: Just go to your local track…whatever you’re in to, circuit, dirt, bikes, cars we all have the same passion and we love help and involvement from newcomers. Just ask the question to any official.  How do I get close to the action? How do I learn to be an official?

Don’t be scared!! All tracks and events that you attend all need help and want volunteers. So, join the motorsport family!! LEAP IN!

Jessica started racing door to door in a state level championship with my Mazda RX8 – Her name is Ruby.

WHEEL SISTERS: What advice would you give to girls or women looking forward to getting into motorsports?

 Jessica: My advice to other females looking to make their mark in the sport would be to dream big and don’t think you can’t make it. It’s taken me a long time to get here, but you have to be ready. There are paths for women, and it’s not a closed shop like some may think.

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your sporting goals in the upcoming months or years?

Jessica: I really want to race again and with Ruby she always ready to go win something! So stay tuned…If I’m not up in the Race Control Box I’ll be racing Ruby or watching Dave race. 

“There are paths for women, and it’s not a closed shop like some may think.”

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