I'm Britain's Fastest Woman; Gorgeous Scot Susie Has One Aim in Mind to Be the First Female Racer in Formula One

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), May 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

I'm Britain's Fastest Woman; Gorgeous Scot Susie Has One Aim in Mind to Be the First Female Racer in Formula One


Byline: By Samantha Booth

DAVID Coulthard had better keep a sharp eye on his rear-view mirror.

The racing ace might be Scotland's fastest driver, but 21-year-old Susie Stoddart has plans to overtake the Formula One hero.

And she also intends to take on Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and former team-mate Kimi Raikkonen while she's at it.

The young woman from Oban is currently the fastest woman driver in Britain.

Every second weekend during the race season Susie takes on 34 other drivers, all male, in her Formula Renault car and she is currently third in the rankings.

But she hopes in a few years she will be revving up alongside the biggest names in racing.

Susie said: 'My ambition is to be the most successful woman driver in Formula One.

'I don't want special treatment and I don't want to drive Formula One as a token gesture, I just want to race like all the other drivers do.

'Once my helmet is on I never think of myself as a woman, just as a driver who wants to win as much as every man out there.

'There is absolutely no reason why women can't drive Formula One, it is just that it's not happened yet.' Susie came very close to achieving her dream last year.

She was the first female driver ever to be nominated for the British Racing Driver Club McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award.

It was a close run thing but in the end the girl racer lost out on the pounds 75,000 prize money and a test race in a McLaren Formula One car.

She said: 'I am not bitter, but I really wanted to win because it would have been a big step in the right direction. 'Maybe it would have come too early for me last year but I am determined it will be mine this time round.'

Susie was bitten by the motor sport bug at a young age.

Her dad raced motorbikes while running a bike shop in Oban and some of Susie's earliest memories are from hanging out at race tracks.

She first got behind the wheel at the tender age of eight, as a novice karter. She also swam and skied competitively but over the next few years, karting took over her life and she gave up her two other sports to focus on driving. A few years later she was Scottish Champion and ranked 10th in Britain.

Somehow in between the constant racing and training she managed to pass her school exams and even did a year at university, but her heart was always on the race track and she decided to leave behind her studies to train professionally in Europe.

Susie said: 'When I am in the cockpit of a car with my helmet on I am just the happiest person in the world there is no feeling like it.'

For two years she karted in France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Belgium and Ireland on a racing circuit which culminated in the world championships in 2000.

There were 146 drivers who had qualified to take part, of them only 12 were women and there were only places for 36 in the final.

Susie was the only girl among the finalists and came in fifteenth. …

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