08 January 2018
Eliza Seville has become the first woman to receive the National College for Motorsport’s Student of the Year accolade.
Eliza, aged 19, is in her second year of studying with the Silverstone Park based college which trains youngsters to become race car mechanics and technicians.
Since the College opened in 2003, many of its students have gone on to work in Formula 1 or other senior international motor sport categories.
Having expanded into new £1 million premises at Silverstone Park 12 months ago it has also in recent years begun to attract more female students. They have included Eliza who, just 12 months after starting at the College, now mixes her studies with an apprenticeship with the TF Sport team that competes in international GT racing with Aston Martins, including the high profile Le Mans Cup and Blancpain categories.
“It’s definitely a career I’d recommend,” said Eliza. “Not enough people encourage young women into motorsport because ‘it’s cars’ but the opportunities are incredible.”
In 2017 Eliza’s apprenticeship took her to Portugal, Belgium, Italy three times and also France for three weeks where she worked at the world famous Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.
She added: “I’ll work on most areas of the car, but during a race I’m part of the re-fuelling crew ready with the fire extinguisher! There’s a lot of activity in the pit lane and it’s a pressure situation because you need be eagle eyed.
“The hours can be quite long away from base but the rewards can be very big. There’s a lot of adrenaline which helps keep you going. If anything I’d say I thrive on the early starts.”
Come April 2018 Eliza hopes to become a fully qualified race technician by achieving her EAL Diploma in Engineering Technology with the National College for Motorsport.
She continued: “The College provides you with the opportunity to combine work and study. That really helps to gear you up to work in a race team – not just come out of it as a standard mechanic. I’ve still got loads to learn but feel like there are other categories I could fit into quite easily now.”
Eliza says she was “surprised” to receive her award which College Principal Jim Harrod said was awarded “for her excellent dedication and drive for excellence”.
“I suppose I did leave home (Cheltenham) at an early age to chase this,” continued Eliza. “My interest in cars began because my uncle had an MOT garage! Plus there was a lot of research and applying involved so it’s nice to be rewarded for that…”
She also has a pretty good idea about what she would like to do in the future. “I’d love to run my own car – in other words be number one mechanic within a team with responsibility for one car in particular, probably in GT or endurance competition.”
Photos: Jakob Ebrey & Andrew Lofthouse