Avocations: Priscilla Speelman

Growing up with a father who raced karts, Priscilla Speelman was attracted to speed from a very early age.
She said often after his training, when she was only three or four years old, her father would drive her around the track on his lap.

At the age of six she got her first kart and started racing when she reached the minimum allowed age of eight.

In 2009, Speelman began racing super karts, which are equipped with wings and reach speeds of up to 250 km/hr. Her talent on the track took her to the European championships in 2011, where she won the first race. This success got her an invitation to race Supercars alongside veteran driver John van de Voort. In 2012 the duo emerged as champions of the Dutch Supercar Challenge Sport 1 division driving a BMW 130i GTR.

Competing in a sport that is dominated by men has some challenges, but Speelman is not put off. Describing one of her early racing experiences, Speelman said, “One of the fast guys bumped me off the track.” During a break her father told her to do the same thing back at the next opportunity. She followed his advice and it never happened again.

The biggest challenge she faces now is getting the money to race. “I don’t get to train often in a car because it’s really expensive and hard to get sponsors,” said Speelman. The high cost of cars, tires, fuel, insurance and engineers required to race are prohibitive, but her passion for the sport keeps her going.

A love of speed and aerodynamics led Speelman to study aerospace engineering at TU Delft. Currently working towards a master’s in aerodynamics, she hopes to design race cars in the future. But what she describes as the adrenaline kick and an addiction is keeping her behind the wheel for now. “The most important part is that I have fun. I will keep racing as long as it is fun for me.”

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