Meet the team: Carl McKellar, Silverstone Park Media Officer
01 May 2019
It all started with an analogue dial-up Tandy laptop. Meet our press officer Carl McKellar, who can’t get enough of what’s going on behind closed doors at Silverstone Park…
Carl’s role includes researching and writing the Park’s news content (web and newsletter) and handling social media accounts.
But he says: “The best thing about this job is what you find behind people’s front doors… the scale/complexity of projects is exciting and edgy. There’s always a story.”
Carl’s background is in motorsport PR and journalism (leading him to be lodger to one very famous motoring TV presenter). He was media officer for the UK’s biggest motor racing category (BTCC) for a decade and has reported on F1, World Rally and the Le Mans 24 Hours for the nationals. Notably, Silverstone is where he attended his first F1 grand prix as a child in 1977 and, away from Silverstone Park, he still has motorsport clients.
Ayrton Senna will always be his biggest hero, although other inspirations have included motorsport journalists Nigel Roebuck, Denis Jenkinson and Matt James, plus Hollywood directors Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock whose ‘The 39 Steps’ is his all-time favourite movie.
“Their way with words and ability to tell a story… at 16 my mind was made up: I wanted to be a journalist.
A qualification in typing led to a job on a local newspaper (“after I’d been sacked from my first job for crashing my boss’s car”) and the rest was history.
Journalism and motorsport are renowned for their merciless deadlines and there was one time when Carl really thought he’d blown it.
“It was the early ’90s, I had a Tandy laptop (remember those!?) and I was driving back at night from a race in Belgium confident of being home in time to file copy over the phone by 8.00am. In the middle of nowhere my car conked out and my only option was to trudge two miles, laptop in hand, over a ploughed field in pitch blackness towards a faint light in the distance. It was a house. I knocked on the door and a woman answered. ‘Can I use your phone line?’ ‘Yes’. Race report sent; deadline hit.
“Maybe the best motorsport story I ever got was an exclusive in the nationals with the late Colin McRae because of the very odd way it came about. Motorsport can be very exciting but there’s also a lot of instability; what’s happening at Silverstone Park is equally interesting and way better in terms of vision and planning.”
CLICK HERE for our previous ‘meet the team’ article on Silverstone Park photographer Kirsty Edmonds.