Ipswich racer competes for place on McLaren’s developmental programme

Lydia Walmsley at a race track

19-year-old Lydia Walmsley from Ipswich has been competing for her place on the McLaren Driver Development Programme - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

An up-and-coming racer from Ipswich has been competing for her place on a prestigious driver programme with McLaren. 

Lydia Walmsley is competing against 13 other young drivers for a place on next year’s McLaren Driver Development Programme. 

The 19-year-old, who is currently a development driver for Touring Car team BTC Racing, took part in a two-day shoot-out against her competitors which saw her judged on her fitness, media interviews and track racing, with results still to be announced.  

On being scouted for the programme Lydia said: “It’s absolutely huge and such an honour to be chosen. To be driving a car like a McLaren is unlike anything I’d done before so the whole experience has been a massive eye-opener.   

“Prior to this year I’d only run with a family run team so to turn up and have so many people in the process as well was quite an experience and an insight into the world of motorsport,” she added.

A close up of Lydia's face wearing her helmet

Lydia is currently a development driver with Touring Car team BTC Racing and competed in the Mini Challenge JCW championship - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography


Lydia went on to say that if she were to make the programme it would hopefully propel her career even further. 

“I think it would absolutely elevate my career. Prior to this year we’ve only been a family run team and we’ve always run on very limited budgets. It’s been a lot of hard work from my family which has been quite difficult.   

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“So, to have a shot at the GT Championship is something I never thought was possible. Certainly, if anything else it would be a humongous experience and such a learning curve.” 

Only four of the 14 competitors will make the year-long Driver Development Programme with an ultimate winner announced once the programme has ended. 

Lydia at a racetrack putting in her earphones

Lydia had been racing with her family led team - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Going forward, Lydia hopes to continue to race and make it into British GT racing. 

She said: “In the past few years, I’ve opened my mind a little bit and I see a lot more scope in British GT racing because of how much further it can go - European racing and beyond.   

“I want to be surrounded by people like McLaren and all the other fantastic people that are involved in motorsport.” 

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