Female racing driver Emily Duggan has today confirmed her 2018 racing plans, announcing she will contest the remaining five rounds of the Toyota 86 Racing Series starting with this weekend’s Watpac Townsville 400.
Duggan will race for her own, independently-run team backed by Surelinc Group, SmartFuels2Race, Penrite and CarAdvice.com.
Since she started racing in the Series X3 NSW (Excel racing) category in 2014, the Sydney racer has undertaken a quest to forge a professional career in motorsport, despite not being able to progress through the typical karting or open-wheel pathways as a teenager due to the absence of family backing.
Not to be halted by the obstacles in her path, Duggan has worked tirelessly to offset her experience deficit, making the most of her professional and polished demeanour to fill various corporate, media and driver training roles while also honing her on-track skills.
Duggan’s relentless determination to succeed against the widely-accepted status quo has captured the hearts, minds and imaginations of many people off the track, and her efforts were highlighted when she was nominated for the prestigious Cosmopolitan Magazine Sportswoman of the Year Award in 2017.
Duggan has one previous appearance in a national-level category, competing in the opening round of the 2016 Kumho V8 Touring Car Series. But she is realistic about the steep learning curve she is faced with this season.
“Since I decided I wanted to become a professional racing driver, my entire life has been geared around chasing the dream. After spending the last few years refining my craft at a state level, I recognised the need for national-level exposure and identified the Toyota 86 Series as the most logical option,” Duggan said.
“The series meets all my requirements – it’s professionally-run, has an outstanding amount of coverage as a Virgin Australia Supercars Championship support category, and being a one-make series means the results are determined by driver ability.
“Unlike many other drivers in the series, I didn’t start my career in karting or Formula Ford and while that’s not an excuse, it means I have to work harder because I’m several steps behind others who have learned race-craft from a very early age, as well as those who have already been racing in the 86 Series and have experience with the cars.
“I’m fully committed to learning and improving, and I’ll be using all the resources available to push myself towards the front of the field.”
While Duggan had the opportunity to race for a team already established in the series, she ultimately chose to run her own operation.
“I tested with another team, but I decided to run independently; I’ve created an environment where I’m comfortable and in control,” she said.
“I’ve surrounded myself with a small but dedicated team, who are all highly motivated to see me succeed in the category.
According to Duggan, the off-track endeavours will also continue to be an essential part of her program.
“I’m passionate about the wider automotive industry, and inspiring other female competitors to become involved in the sport – I know I have a lot to offer to all those who are supporting my 2018 campaign, and I’ll be doing my utmost to ensure they receive maximum exposure,” Duggan concluded.