2020 has been a year full of surprises but I am so thankful to have been able to celebrate some fantastic motorsport memories. There have been many twists and turns and, at one point, it seemed as if we wouldn't get any racing action at all. To everyone that allowed us to go racing safely during a global pandemic: thank you.
My Motorsport Year got underway in January with an invite to the Autosport International Show from W Series. I was able to interview CEO Catherine Bond Muir, David Coulthard and drivers including Alice Powell, Sarah Moore and Abbie Eaton. It was a brilliant start to the year and it was even better to meet some old friends. A few weeks later I got to attend the media day as part of W Series' 2020 season preparation before a pub quiz event in the evening. Never before have I known all of a championship line-up to be participating in a fun quiz with the media!
My return to the track came in March, just days before we went into lockdown. I was at Silverstone working with Torque and their clients in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and the British Touring Car Championship. I was so happy to be at a race track and I didn't take it for granted - we could all feel that the year was about to take an unfamiliar turn. We were right.
Lockdown was a strange period for me. I was freelancing with Motorsport News - a fantastic publication produced and written by some incredibly talented people. My role as Digital Content Producer allowed me to work with the team on some creative projects, polls and articles.
Whilst finishing my BA Journalism degree, I had my first piece in print published. This was very special and seeing my name in print for the first time is something I shall never forget. The article was an interview with Louise Goodman and that made it even more special - I have looked up to Louise for a long time and was inspired by her words at a Dare To Be Different event I attended at Silverstone in 2016.
This year I have been so fortunate to follow the British GT championship around the UK. I freelanced for Torque and spent lots of my time trackside with Balfe Motorsport - a wonderful team! My first round was Donington and it was my first time at that track. From there we had another wet weekend at Brands Hatch before venturing back to Donington, then Snetterton and then the season finale fell on my birthday weekend at Silverstone. It was fantastic to experience the highs and lows as a team and I met some great people. Listening to Mia Flewitt's story of how she got into racing is inspiring - it's never too late to start chasing your dreams.
I got to learn lots and that's important. I want to learn as much as possible about motorsport PR and it's only right that I shout out Jamie for being a brilliant teacher, colleague and friend. He's ace.
I have been fortunate to work with Ford Performance this year to produce four articles looking at the future of motorsport. The series, called 'Bring On Tomorrow', can be read here. I was surprised to learn that my work has been translated into an additional four languages: French, Italian, German and Spanish.
The articles were, at times, challenging to write. I tackled some complex topics, including brain scanning technology that will hopefully aid driver performance in the future. I also spoke to some incredible people including NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick and McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris.
Writing is something I love to do. In the new year I will have an article with Jamie Chadwick published in Motorsport News and I have also been commissioned to write a piece on safety in Formula 1.
This year at times looked confusing and bleak. I was down to one freelance contract and working hard in a supermarket with university stopped. But that taught me lessons. I'm 4'11 and was out driving a 3.5-tonne van and delivering shopping to people who needed it the most. I met some wonderful elderly people who were so thankful. I met little boys and girls who were fascinated by my 'truck'. I would haul 850kgs of shopping about, sometimes four times in a shift, and would finish drenched in sweat. I would also turn my shop into a race track with my picking trolley...
When I was driving, or picking at 04:00, I would think about motorsport a lot. I'd think of going to races, as a fan and working, and I'd dream of a British Grand Prix with an our drivers on the podium. Honestly, motorsport kept me sane during that period.
It has been a tough year but it's also been a weird and wonderful year with the people I've met and things I have achieved. I also must also thank my wonderful team at Females in Motorsport. We have recently achieved 10,000 subscribers across our website and social media accounts. We run our platform as a hobby alongside our work or university and what we're achieving and doing to raise awareness is fantastic.
Now, I'm excited for 2021 and seeing what that will bring.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love, Helena x