She swapped ballet for motor racing when she was 16 years old, and now Emilia Vincent is waving the flag for Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in the car she helped to build.
The Wiltshire College and University Centre graduate is racing in the Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge Series this year. Emilia spent two years building the car along with her fellow student team for her degree in Motor Sport Engineering, and was later chosen as one of the team’s racing driver.
The 24-year-old hopes to raise awareness for Julia’s House with her fast-paced hobby and will be displaying the charity’s logo on her car in every race. The local children’s hospice provides a lifeline of care for seriously ill children and their families, and it’s a charity that means a lot to Emilia and her family as well.
“My Mum had a son who was severely disabled and he died before I was born,” says Emilia, who grew up in Hamworthy. “At the time she was given a lot of help from the late Julia Perks, who was the inspiration for Julia’s House and is the reason the children’s hospice exists today.
"Because of her experience, my Mum has become a Carer with Julia’s House and I know what a difference she’s making every day for local families who desperately need those respite breaks too.”
Emilia says, “I want to help the charity and the families that are struggling in any way I can, so I’m racing for Julia’s House and I hope that spectators will acknowledge the logo on the car and want to find out more and make a donation, or do some fundraising themselves.”
A keen ballerina through her teens, Emilia discovered her new passion for car racing while watching a documentary on the female racing driver and Formula E team principle, Susie Wolf.
“I was so inspired by her journey and how she’d started it in karting, showing that females can do whatever they want to do,” says Emilia. “So I put the ballet shoes away there and then, and decided to start karting with my Dad as my mechanic.
“I’ve since made the leap to car racing and I absolutely love it,” she says. “It’s an adrenaline rush to be out there on the track with other drivers battling for position, but there’s a lot of camaraderie and passion from both the teams and the drivers. It’s great to see spectators watching and enjoying the racing too. Younger girls might be put off seeking a career in motorsport or competing themselves, as it’s seen as male-dominated environment. But more and more females are joining the racing world, which is fantastic!”
Claudia Hickin, Fundraiser for Julia’s House, says, “We were so pleased when Emilia got in touch to ask if she could race for Julia’s House – I don’t think our logo has ever moved so fast! We feel very lucky to have the support of Emilia and her family, and it’s a wonderful way to raise awareness of our care for seriously ill children and their families in Wiltshire.”
Emilia is competing in the Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge Series, with two more races to go this season on 30 August and 18th September. Find out more at The Castle Combe Hot Hatch Challenge Series (ccracingclub.co.uk)
Inspired to show your support for Julia's House? Take a look at our events pages for ideas to get you started.