A woman (Megan Gilkes) wearing a black Pirelli cap and navy racing overalls stands on a podium holds a trophy in her right hand. The trophy's base reads '1st, Race 2, 28–29 May 2022, Donington Park GP'

GB4’s Megan Gilkes on Aston Martin F1 work experience: ‘It’s been a fantastic experience’

Megan Gilkes competed in the 2022 GB4 Championship, becoming not only the third driver to win a race but also the first female driver to win a single-seater race on British soil. Feeder Series exclusively spoke to her about her work experience with the Aston Martin F1 team.

By Richard Smyth

Gilkes is currently working at the Aston Martin F1 team as part of her work experience and is using some of the things that she is learning not only to improve herself as a driver but to help the Hillspeed team too.

“I’m working as an undergraduate placement in the trackside support department, so I am helping to support the team on race weekends in mission control, looking through the data and helping with some of the development. It’s been a fantastic experience so far.”

Learning curve

There is a huge step up in every aspect of motor racing when you are talking about a Formula One team, but Gilkes says that she is quickly learning more and more about the team as the weeks go on. 

“The amount that I have learned at Aston Martin has been more in a month than what I have in three years at university. I’ve learned a huge amount about how to set up and make a race car fast and what the engineers look for, both from a driver and engineer perspective.”

Continue reading below the photo of Megan Gilkes

Megan Gilkes smile while standing beside a blue and white bollard that reads "GB4 Championship partnered by the BRDC: 1st"
Megan Gilkes celebrating her GB4 victory at Donington Park | Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Racing mindset

While Gilkes is enjoying her work experience and learning a lot from it, she tries to fall back into the racing driver zone when she closes the visor on her helmet on race day.

“I try to switch my engineer brain off a little bit when I’m driving so I don’t overthink things, but there are definitely some things that I have carried from Aston Martin to my own driving that I bear in mind at the back of my head.”

I’m definitely hoping someday to get a full-time job in F1 as an engineer

Megan Gilkes on her plans for the future

Although progressing in the motorsport world is something that Gilkes is hoping for, with a potential move to the GB3 Championship on the cards in the coming seasons, she is also hoping to have a career in Formula One – but not quite behind the wheel of a car. 

“I’m definitely hoping someday to get a full-time job in F1 as an engineer and to be at Aston Martin. They are a great team to be with so far.”

Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey

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