Interview: Jamie Chadwick, the first woman to win a F3 class race at Brands Hatch
- Credit: Gary Parravani / www.xynamic.com
The first woman to win a F3 class race at Brands Hatch, Bath-born Jamie Chadwick is on a new racing mission
Jamie Chadwick made history when she became the first woman to win a F3 class race at Brands Hatch in August. Now, with the chequered flag under her belt, her sights are firmly set on future F1 goals.
She says: “It’s incredible. I think ultimately for me, it’s just about winning races and obviously being the first female is just the icing on the cake. For the whole year it’s been my goal to be on the top step and to be chasing those wins, so to finally get the win and celebrate it with the team, it’s a great feeling.”
The 20-year-old says her interest in F3 started with sibling rivalry.
“I followed my brother into karting; he doesn’t race any more so F3 is something I did on my own. That was what initially interested me in the sport, it was the fact he had gone karting and came home bragging about how good he was. I think sibling rivalry kicked in and I wanted to go and compete against him; that was my first taste of motorsport.”
She continues: “It was something I did just for fun, it wasn’t until I progressed into Geneta Juniors that I started to view it as a potential career and obviously now in F3 it’s definitely something I’d lock my sights on doing professionally.”
She believes that her environment growing up has played a major part in her success.
“We have always been a close family and even though I have a rivalry with my brother it is for fun. I don’t come from a wealthy family or a family of motor racing fans, it is something that just developed. As a family we spend a lot of time together and I like nothing better than being at home for one of my mother’s brilliant Indian meals.
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“Growing up and living in Bath has been a huge help. Bath is cool and just a nice place to be. It has such beautiful buildings, great shops and lots to do. It is fantastic for a young person growing up because you have all the facilities of a city but without the same pressures as other places.
“Somerset is like that as a whole. I don’t think there is anywhere better because it has a great coast line, great countryside and some brilliant towns. There is a feel-good factor about Somerset and being born here gives you a great start in life.”
As any F3 driver would testify, the dream is to enter F1 and rub shoulders with those that have already made the step.
Jamie says: “It’s the pinnacle of motorsport and I think any young driver’s dream is to get there. Obviously it’s a long way away yet and there’s a lot of work to do before I can look to compete in Formula 1. There will be barriers along the way, no doubt about it. It’s a physical sport so I’ve got to work hard in the gym and on the mental side too. I will give it everything I’ve got and hopefully one day it’s possible.”
As a woman in a typically male-dominated sport, Chadwick is eager to achieve her best on her own merit and is determined to not let her gender be either a barrier or an advantage.
“If I’m scraping the barrel in F3, struggling to finish sixth or seventh next year, then I don’t deserve to be in F1. It’s as black and white as that and any of my sponsors should feel the same.
“Just because I’m a female doesn’t give me the right or a free pass to Formula One. I’ve got to be doing well, I’ve got to be winning. If I’m winning and still struggling to make it anywhere, then I’ve got a bit more of an argument.”
Jamie has always enjoyed sport and outdoor pursuits. “I definitely would have had some sort of career in sport whether it was professional or not, sport has been my passion ever since I was very young. I loved all sport, particularly skiing and hockey, which were definitely two I really wanted to see if I could pursue professionally, but now I’m in motorsport that’s my main focus.”
She says she enjoys being out on her mountain bike or going to the gym and adds: I like seeing my friends - eating out is a big one. I’m big into my food so when I get the opportunity to branch out of my racing diet I like to make the most of it.”
Motorsports is both physically and mentally demanding and requires a strenuous fitness programme. Jamie says: “I do quite a lot of work with strength and conditioning in the gym to make sure when I’m in the car I don’t have any issues with fatigue. It’s quite a physical sport, there’s a lot of g-force going through your body and with no power steering in F3, the weight is quite heavy. It’s a very physical sport and with the heat sometimes you have to deal with, cardio can be very important, so I have a fairly strict fitness regime that I have to stick to over the season, and then off season we use the time to try and push as hard as we can.”
Set to be an ambassador for young and emerging drivers of the future, she remarks: “If I could give advice to any young aspiring racing drivers, I’d just say give it a go, go to your local kart track and try it out and see how you get on, because I fell into it by accident. Also, don’t think that this kind of thing happens to other people. As I said, I was born in Bath which is a fabulous place but not famous for producing racing drivers. Where you start is important but where your journey takes you is also very important.”
For more information, visit the official Jamie Chadwick website.