Rising Stars Profile Vol. 3 – Ella Stevens & Kinga Wójcik

FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars profile series:
Vol. 1 – Jessica Edgar & Maya Weug
Vol. 2 – Milla Sjöstrand & Doriane Pin

In June, The FIA and its Women in Motorsport Commission announced the launch of “FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars” program, where 20 young female drivers will participate in a selection program. The best out of the program could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) programme for an FIA Formula 4 season in 2021.

This week, we continue with the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars profile series, and give you Ella Stevens and Kinga Wójcik.

Ella Stevens

Ella Stevens is 13 years old from the UK. She is British Champion in the BirelART Cadet class in 2017 and LGM Privateer Champion in 2018. In the 2020 season, Ella is competing in the Mini X30 class with Fusion Motorsport, and has won Trent Valley Kart Club (TVKC) Winter Series.

All photos ​© Kartpix.net

Paddock Sorority (PS): Tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you get started with karting?

Ella Stevens (ES): When I was younger, I used to watch my brother race on the weekends and this inspired me into trying a kart. I loved it and haven’t looked back since.

PS: What was it like being in a go-kart for the first time?

ES: The first time was fast and very scary. I remember doing a slow lap and then gradually building up speed. By the end of the day, it felt like I had been doing it for years, it came so naturally.  

PS: What made you decide you want to be a professional driver? What is currently your career goal?

ES: The speed, competitiveness and joy is what drives me to become a professional race driver. My ambition is to get faster and faster with the aim of becoming a World Champion with a great team.

Ella in the LGM IAME Cadet National Championship in 2018

PS: What has been your favorite racing memory so far?

ES: My favourite racing memory so far is winning the BirelART UK Championships.

PS: Is there a racing idol for you? How have they impacted you and your racing?

ES: My racing idol is Alice Powell who drives for the W Series. Alice has worked very hard to get to where she is today. Her story is similar to mine in that she also began in karts and worked tirelessly to move up. She’s fast, fearless and my hero. I am so proud of Alice, she inspires me more than anybody.

Ella with Alice Powell

PS: Tell us about how your family have been supporting you?

ES: I owe so much to my family. They are hugely supportive and make so many sacrifices to keep my racing programme alive and progressing. The race weekends take a lot of planning and time, and that’s before we even arrive at the circuit. My dad is very involved with my racing and works extremely hard. I would also include Alice Powell as my family!

PS: How do you juggle school work, training, and racing?

ES: Being very organised and disciplined. Having well planned routines and structure is what gets me through school work, training and racing. There isn’t a spare minute in the week but I enjoy it and make the most of every opportunity to learn. Because it links so naturally into racing I like STEM related learning, especially the engineering side of course.

Ella at TVKC Winter Series in January 2020

PS: How are you preparing for the Girls on Track Rising Stars shoot-out?

ES: Lots of training on and off the race track. I swim a lot, but this hasn’t been possible of late because of lockdown. I have put much more time into running and other active forms of fitness such as running and strength routines. I also spend a lot of time on the racing sim which is very helpful in keeping up with my race craft and developing my understanding of race tracks. I cannot wait for the Rising Stars shoot-out and I am so grateful to the FIA and partners for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kinga Wójcik

Kinga Wójcik is one of the two Polish drivers in the program. In 2018, she was the youngest among the 8 “The Girls on Track Karting Challenge” finalists in Poland to go into the training camp with Gosia Rdest. In 2020 season, Kinga is competing in Junior ROK class in ROK Cup Poland.

© All photos provided by Kinga Wójcik

Paddock Sorority (PS): Can you tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you started karting?

Kinga Wójcik (KW): The passion for karts was passed on to me by my dad, who also raced. He told me a lot about the sport and I liked those stories. When there were competitions in my city, he took me there and my adventure with karting began. I started racing for the first time at the age of 11.

PS: Do you remember your first experience in a go-kart? How was it?

KW: Of course I remember. It was an amazing experience for me. I was about 6 years old then, and it was just fun. I trained this way until I was 11 and started racing. However, I remember in my first race, I was the only girl on the grid.

PS: What made you decide you want a career as a professional driver? Currently what’s your career goal as a driver?

KW: I would like to connect my future with motorsport. It is also my hobby and I cannot imagine my life without the smell of gasoline and the roar of an engine. This is music to my ears. If there was such an opportunity, I would like to compete in the higher racing series, such as Formula 4. Maybe someday I will be able to reach the W Series, where only girls race – this is my dream.

PS: From whom did you learn the most about driving and racing?

KW: My dad who is a three-time Polish Champion taught me the most – he has been my coach from the very beginning. Currently, I am training with Karol Basz who is the World Champion in 2015.

PS: Is there a racing idol for you? How have they impacted you and your racing?

KW: Of course I have an idol. It is Lewis Hamilton. His whole racing career has been impressive. I like his driving style and personality.

PS: How are your family supporting you in your career?

KW: I have a lot of support from my loved ones, especially from my parents who are always racing with me, and also from my younger sister Liliana (9), who has already started go-kart training. They support me in all situations and they would always encourage me no matter what.

Kinga with Mom and sister

PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?

KW: ROK Cup International Final 2017 in Italy will remain in my memory for a long time. It was my first competition abroad. There were not only best drivers in karting, but also in other disciplines such as Formula 1, competing. Rubens Barrichello was a huge star of this competition (competing in Shifter ROK class). I won the title of “Best Lady” in Mini ROK class.

PS: How are you juggling school work, training, and racing?

KW: I must admit that it is quite difficult. In every free moment I train at the track in Radom, under the supervision of my trainer – my father Marcin Wójcik. I do physical training in the Es Fit Studio in Radom, under the supervision of Kuba Hebda, who is preparing a special exercise program for me. I also do mindfulness training with Karolina Kochanowska.

Other than school and racing, I also have another passion which is photography. I have just finished the first class of the Photographic Technical School in Radom as one of the best students.

PS: How are you preparing for the shoot-out in October?

KW: I focus on what I do on a daily basis to do the job as well as possible. I hope to be well prepared for the qualifying round in October.

Next week, we give you Mariana Machado from Portugal and Toni Kayla Naudé from Switzerland.

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