Megan's Way: An 18 Year Old's Open Wheel Odyssey by Jim Kearney

March 21, 2019

Megan Gilkes breaks into the international motorsports scene following succesful outings with championship series events and Kearney Driver Development.

Racing is full of incredible stories but this one reads like a Hollywood movie script. In just two years, Canadian Megan Gilkes has gone from driving a $5,000 Formula Vee to testing a turbocharged Ligier F3 car with 300 hp. She is one of twenty-eight remaining candidates for a free ride in the W Series and is gearing up for the final tryout in late March in Almeria, Spain. Yes, I said it, a free ride.

The groundbreaking female-only European F3 series is bankrolling the entire enterprise. Drivers selected do not have to bring any funding whatsoever. The aim of the W Series is not only to provide exciting racing, but also to equip the drivers with the experience and expertise to advance their careers. They firmly believe that women can compete equally with men in motorsport if given the opportunity. It is the real deal. Series administrators include such motorsports luminaries as Alex Wurz, David Coulthard, Adrian Newey and Lyn St. James. The W Series will be a support race in all six events of the very popular DTM Series beginning in May at Hockenheim and culminating at Brands Hatch. A total prize fund of US $1.Smillion is available, with a first prize for the W Series champion driver of US $500,000.

The petite third-generation racer took some kidding when she began racing Formula Vee at age 16. Race officials bestowed names like "Little Bit" and "Tinkerbell" but she took it in stride. Without drama, she established herself as an up-and-coming talent. At the Road Atlanta Majors in 2018, she qualified her FV on pole in the rain. Since then, she's come a long way.

Megan doesn't claim to be an authority on how to develop yourself in motorsports, but she was willing to share what has worked for her. While it may seem strange to take tips from an eighteen-year-old, there can be no denying that Megan is on the fast track. What is she doing right?

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