“Extreme E forefront of something that's really gonna revolutionise motorsport,” says Molly Taylor. “To be working with a team like Rosberg Xtreme Racing, it's a real opportunity.”
Molly Taylor’s career is decorated with victories, championship titles and world firsts. The 2016 Australian Rally Champion will be flying the flag for Rosberg Xtreme Racing in 2021 as she tackles the all-new Extreme E racing series.
Molly has been involved in the groundbreaking series since they introduced a drivers’ programme and she says it was her intention to be involved.
“Nico [Rosberg] actually sent me an email via my website inquiry form,” she says. “I thought it was someone pulling a prank because I didn't expect someone like Nico just to email me out of the blue.
“Shortly after we arranged a phone call and FaceTimed - it wasn't a joke, it was really Nico! Just from chatting to him about his plans for the team and the competition side, someone like that is going to put in the very best team around us to try and win.”
Molly is enthusiastic about Extreme E’s and Rosberg Xtreme Racing’s sustainability missions and believes it's a vital element of motorsport.
“Electricity is the future of our mobility and motorsport can be used in that sense as far as,” she says. “Using the platform of sport and using that as something that so many people watch in a way to drive awareness and really make a positive impact is huge.
“We love racing and we love the adrenaline of it, we love the challenge, we love the cars, so to be able to make that sustainable and show how we can evolve motorsport in that way, and be able to give back as well - it's not just us enjoying driving for our love of driving, we're really making a positive impact.”
Molly has often been one of the only - and if not the only - females competing in her discipline. With the introduction of Extreme E, Molly and eight other women will get to compete on equal terms in a pioneering new championship.
“The great thing about motorsports is it's gender irrelevant once you put the helmet on, you’ve got to go there and do the job,” she says. “What this set up does is really invest in females that maybe haven't had opportunities, and it'll bring them to a platform that will have a lot of exposure.”
Molly’s journey has been “powerful”, “eye-opening” and she now considers things that she never did before she started competing.
“Having young girls come up to you and you see them thinking that motorsport's an option for them because they've seen someone else compete, you forget how impressionable young kids are with what they see around them and the environments they see,” she says. “Young boys and girls will see males and females competing side-by-side, and for our next generation, there's no way it's not going to have an impact on that.
“Hopefully more females get started at a grassroots level and then filter up through the top and we'll just get more females competing in general, which is what we need because ultimately we need to find the best. To find the best you need to start with a larger pool and if we can have more diversity in that larger pool then in the future generation it's going to be happening more naturally.”
Despite having both parents compete in motorsport (indeed Molly’s mum is a four-time rally co-driver champion), Molly didn’t begin to race until the age of 16.
“My dad was running a rally school at the time, so he got my sister and myself out to on the weekend and got us in a rally car - it was purely just to learn how to be competent with driving a manual, having a car slide, and how to control that because he wanted us to be safe drivers on the road and there was never really any intention more than that,” she says.
But a hobby soon turned into something Molly is hugely successful in and she was soon recognised as being a standout performer.
“The second event I ever went and did in the UK was the first round of the British Rally Championship season,” she says. “I’d just come over from Australia and didn't really know anyone or much of what was going on, and we won the first event and that was definitely a memorable moment for me.
“Then in Rally Finland in the junior championship, getting on the podium in the junior WLC was another highlight, and in all places to be in Rally Finland as well! I remember getting the trophy handed to me by Tommi Makinen, and I remember that like it was yesterday.”
When asked if she has any advice for those starting out in motorsport or those wanting to pursue a career in racing, her message is clear.
“It’s daunting from the outside but the motorsport community is such an incredible place and we want more young people to be involved,” she says. “Once you get involved and turn up at an event, there's going to be so many people that want to help you and give you advice. Be a sponge and enjoy it, because obviously there are times when there's pressure and it's very intense but ultimately you do it because you love it. That's what makes all the sacrifice and the work and the effort and the hours worth it because you love it so much.
“Keep that passion and enjoyment for driving, and just throw yourself out there, there'll be people that’ll get on board and want to help and give you advice and make that enjoyable for you as well.”