Veloce Racing "Racing For All" candidate Amanda Kangai talks about her first Extreme E event on-site
With the third season of the electric off-road racing series Extreme E well underway, Females in Motorsport got to talk to Amanda Kangai, Junior Engineer for Veloce Racing thanks to the Racing For All initiative.
In collaboration with Lewis Hamilton’s “The Hamilton Commission”, Extreme E has launched an initiative called Racing For All. It aims to support young mechanics and engineers by joining the electric off-road championship and giving them hands-on experience to learn what’s needed to work in the motorsport industry.
Amanda Kangai is the Racing For All recruit for Veloce Racing, a racing team founded by Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Daniel Bailey, Jack Clarke, Formula E driver Jean-Eric Vergne and Red Bull Racing F1 Team Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey.
“I got into motorsport through Formula 1 when I was pretty young,” Amanda tells to Females in Motorsport. “I watched it with my dad, and I always found the engineering side very interesting.”
Amanda, who is currently studying engineering at the University of Cambridge, got involved with Extreme E last year as a student ambassador.
“That was my first step into motorsport,” she says. “I was giving paddock tours and learning more about the motorsport environment.”
While being a student ambassador in Season 2, Veloce Racing came to Amanda for the Racing For All project.
“Veloce is a team I always liked,” Amanda says. “I met Mariella Bailey (Veloce Racing Head of Operations) during the Sardinian event, and I enjoyed our conversation. I did take the chance, and after interviews, I’m so happy to have gained this opportunity.”
Amanda joined the team at the Hydro X Prix, held on May 13-14, in Scotland. The location that hosted the off-road double-header event was the former Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine site in Dumfries & Galloway.
“There was the classic Scottish weather: raining, muddy, cold but beautiful,” Amanda says. “The track was demanding, so it was great to join the team on a track walk to discuss strategy and also admire the landscapes.”
As per rule, every team needs to have just six mechanics and engineers, so Amanda is the seventh member of the team and has the opportunity to learn physically how to work on a competitive level in the industry.
“I learned a lot from my first Extreme E weekend,” Amanda says. “Veloce is partnered with ART Grand Prix. Their engineers and mechanics have been really helpful and encouraging through my learning process.”
Her role during the season will be to help out the engineers of her team and, for her first weekend on-site, she analysed data during every session held and set up all the information for the drivers to view and see what to improve on the track.
The current Veloce Racing line-up consists of rally driver Molly Taylor and rallycross driver Kevin Hansen and Amanda enjoyed working with them from the off.
“Both of our drivers bring good vibes to the team,” she says. “I love to see the teamwork between Molly and Kevin.”
“Scotland was a home race so winning there meant even more,” says Amanda. “Veloce is so unique because it started as an esports team and now is a winning racing team. The communication between everyone within the crew is on point and the drivers' line-up is phenomenal. The team deserves this as they’re all working hard.”
Extreme E's idea of having a male and a female driver in every team sharing duties is what amazed Amanda about this championship.
“Something I would love to see are female drivers in Formula 1,” Amanda says. “It’s great to showcase women in motorsport and give them a platform.”
The advice Amanda gives to whoever wants to work as an engineer in motorsport is to have confidence and, specifically for this industry, network, gain work experience, and join the Formula Student of your school cause it’s helpful to get more knowledge that can be added to your CV.
After her first experience on-site, Amanda really wants to work in motorsport in the future.
“You can have bad moments but when you have good moments, they’re really good,” she says.
“Even from the negative moments you can learn, so in the en,d I love it and I would love to continue on this path.”
Despite having had exposure to motorsport very Formula 1-based, after experiencing Extreme E, Amanda would like to be still involved in off-road racing in the future cause she finds it very entertaining.
This is just the start of a fantastic journey in motorsport for Amanda Kangai as she’ll join the team for the remaining rounds of the 2023 Extreme E season in September and December.