Student engineer inspired by motor sport

Friday 15 March, 2019
Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee, the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 is a very important event for her.

A CAMS Official’s first ever motor sport event is a bit like the first day of school, university or work.

There are a lot of feelings to manage including nerves, anticipation, excitement and the desire to make a good first impression.

For Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee, the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 will be the first time she gets to experience the cars up close and personal as an official after recently developing a passion for the sport. 

“I am really excited because it’s my first ever event as either an official or volunteer so it I am really looking forward to the experience to see what it’s all about,” MacKinnon-Lee said. 

“I’ve followed motor sport and the Australian Grand Prix for a few years now, so I think just being part of the action and getting to see everything live instead of on TV will be awesome.

“I decided that now was the best time to make my way down from Sydney to take part  because my passion for motor sport has definitely grown over the years.

“I wasn’t born into a motor sport family, in fact my parents, who will be coming down on the weekend were not big fans, so I learned about Formula 1 and motor sport on my own during my time at University.”

Currently studying Mechanical and Space engineering at the University of Sydney, MacKinnon-Lee’s love for the sport has definitely been inspired by her degree, mainly due to the similarities it has with motor sport.

The 20-year-old’s passion has also grown due to the time she has spent as a key member of the University’s Formula SAE team where they design, build and race a open wheel car similar to a Formula 1 car. 

The CAMS affiliated Formula SAE program is quite well known for producing engineers and mechanics who often graduate into racing programs, as well as build more interest in the sport through its participants, which is the case for MacKinnon-Lee. 

For her first ever event as a CAMS official this weekend, MacKinnon-Lee will be spending time as a Spectator Control marshal, her role key in making sure fans don’t enter any restricted areas. 

As for her own goals in motor sport, MacKinnon-Lee knows that she is part of the ever growing list of female CAMS officials and she hopes more will join due to the ease of signing up and getting involved.

“Becoming an official was really easy,” MacKinnon-Lee added 

“Last year I just did all the training and tests online, got an email asking if I wanted to volunteer at the Australian Grand Prix, so I did and then a few months later I was accepted. 

“In motor sport and engineering, females are few and far between, so it’s good that there are now more opportunities for females to be part of it and enjoy the sport in an official capacity.”