UWS graduate chasing her dream of being a racing driver

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A University of the West of Scotland (UWS) engineering graduate is hoping to fulfil her dream of becoming a racing driver by entering the 2021 Formula Woman competition.

Isla Mackenzie, from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, will compete in the televised competition, aimed at women who have never raced before, for a fully sponsored McLaren GT4 seat in the 2022 GT Cup Championship.

Isla told WeLoveStornoway: “Ever since I was a kid, literally, if I could have done anything I wanted in life I would have been a racing driver. But I never got the opportunity, so I went into engineering.

“I spectated at rallies in Stornoway, I did some drag racing, but that was the closest I could come. At University I used to go to drift days (track driving with rear-wheel drive cars). I have never gone far from my original ambition to be a racing driver.”

Following graduation from the Motorsport Design Engineering course at UWS in 2017 with honours, Isla went on to work for Williams Racing as a Prototype & Test Technician for 3 years before joining Mercedes HPP as a test technician, on power units manufactured for Formula 1 racing, where she lives in Oxfordshire.

Isla Mackenzie, BEng (Hons) Motorsport Design Engineering 2017

Going straight from UWS Hamilton Campus to a 7-time F1 World Championship winning team was a big leap for Isla: “The original plan was to do a degree and then do engine tuning and start my own business, which I did do a bit on the side, but everyone else on my course was applying for jobs and I thought ‘oh well I’ll try’ and then ended up at Williams.

My advice to anyone aspiring to work in F1 is to have hope that there are many routes you can take to get there. I am evidence of this and am so proud to now work for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

Isla Mackenzie

The first two assessment days for the Formula Women competition will be held at Anglesey Circuit on the 19 and 20 September.

The 16 finalists will be selected during the Winter of 2021/2022 for the final ‘shoot out’ and the six winners of the competition will undergo full training and coaching during the months of March and April prior to taking to the grid in the 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 race car.

Isla has already begun her fitness regime as there will be fitness and media assessments alongside being tested on track.

“I am now looking for a sponsor to help me prepare for the on-track assessments in September so please get in touch if anyone is interested.

“Any sponsorship would be very much appreciated as it will help me take my training to the next level by gaining some time on track. Formula Woman will have excellent media coverage, making it a great opportunity to boost your business and put your brand name in front of thousands!”

You can follow Isla, offer her support and sponsorship via her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/islamackenzieracing

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