Inspiring the female talent of tomorrow

Last time we checked, James Brown was only half right. While we agree that this world definitely wouldn’t be anything special without the women, there’s no way it’s “a man’s world”.

As part of Queensland University of Technology’s recent event series, Power of Engineering, we were honoured to host a group of female students from years nine and 10 who want to channel their skills into engineering, but perhaps hadn’t thought of motorsport or didn’t know where to start if they had.

“Come on in, girls, and let us introduce you to our leading lady in the Engineering department, Romy Mayer.”

While we’re lucky enough to have a whole host of awesome chicks working behind the scenes at Triple Eight, Romy was just the person to show these budding engineers the ropes.

A German native, she came to Australia in 2015 to combine her two passions – race cars and surfing. With a background in DTM and GT3, her Red Bull Holden Racing Team role is Data Engineer on car no. 88 and she got her first taste of race engineering last month at the driver evaluation day.

“My family doesn’t have any motorsport background, but my dad is a very technical person,” Romy said. “When he saw that I was good in maths and physics he pushed me in this direction. As I am from Stuttgart where there are all the big car manufacturers I grew up surrounded by the car industry.

“But even finishing high school I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be an engineer. Only after I did an internship with Mercedes in a controlling department I realised I’m super keen to actually design the parts of the car rather than dealing with processes and procedures.

“Once I was studying Automotive Engineering I got hooked up with motorsport as my uni has a Formula Student team. That’s was my first experience of how a motorsport team works.”

One of the biggest hurdles that females envisage when looking to join the motor racing industry is the idea that James Brown’s word is gospel. Yes, it can seem like a male-orientated environment, but never let that put you off.

“Especially when starting a new job or changing roles, you always need to prove that you can do the job,” Romy continued. “It’s not always easy and you need to break down the barrier of the guys seeing you as a girl. Then everyone respects you and you even might have an advantage on some occasions. The team benefits from a female bringing in different approaches and looking at things from another perspective.

“You don’t need to give up your personality or identity. In the end, it doesn’t make a difference if you are male or female, it’s about your attitude and your motivation.”

Damn straight!

Female students visit Triple Eight with QUT          Female students visit Triple Eight with QUT

Through Romy’s internship, she knew where she belonged, but when there is only limited time to clock up work experience, an opportunity to visit a racing team behind the scenes is a terrific opportunity to gain an understanding of the industry before making any big decisions.

“It’s very important to get an insight in this world to see if that’s what you want to do as your job day to day. It’s not for everyone as it asks for a lot of commitment and it never will be a nine to five job.

“Getting to know the way a motorsports team works and what it requires helps you even at young age to develop the right skills for it. Also, getting hands-on will teach you more than only seeing the front stage on TV.

“It is important not to be shy to change the path you are on even though it might require a bit of extra work or go a few steps back.”

At Triple Eight, it doesn’t matter to us whether you’re a boy or a girl, we just want every single person who clocks into the workshop each day to share the passion we all have to go racing and strive to be the very best we can be day in, day out. Hopefully our racing can inspire not just these girls, but many other young motorsport enthusiasts from all walks of life to follow their dreams.

“All the girls were super interested in our work and the workshop,” Romy said. “Some of them asked really smart questions to get to know better what we do and for sure you could see the sparkle in some of their eyes looking forward to doing this kind of job.”