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Claire Magnant: “Can be an advantage to be a woman in engineering”

In our Women’s Week Special 2016 we take a look at the fantastic women in Formula E. This time we talked to Claire Magnant, who is part of the engineering team of DS Virgin Racing.

Did you always want to work in motorsports or you did you only find yourself heading towards it later on?

“When I was a kid, I was not thinking that I would work in racing. But I’ve always loved cars, racing cars, motorbikes, and I was playing with cars and not barbies when I was a child. I started being interested in motorsports in my engineering school when I worked on two racing projects and especially one complete season in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. From that moment onwards, I found it very interesting and I did all I could to have a career in racing.”

Truth or myth: is it harder for female engineers to gain a spot in motorsports?

“I think in the beginning it is a bit harder as you have to prove yourself more, especially when you start with just a few experiences. A women has to impose herself and it requests more work. Afterwards, when you are accepted, it can be an advantage to be a woman because it brings a lot of advantages in this men’s world.”

How much does engineering in Formula E differ from engineering in WTCC, for example?

“I am not engineering the cars and not directly in charge of the technical part. But from what I can see, it is very exciting for race engineers to be in Formula E as there are many parameters to be taken in consideration such as energy management, temperature management and others.”

What are, in your opinion, the best things Formula E has to offer both fans and people who work on it?

“It is a new challenge with a completely unique and exciting race series bringing EV racing cars into the city centers of big cities in the world and it is a great way to promote DS. This new generation of motorsport is really interesting for the fans as there are a lot of fights between very famous drivers as well. As a member of DS, it is awesome to be part of this kind of project which is the future.”

What is your opinion of Susie Wolff's "Dare to be Different" project, which encourages girls to join motorsports?

“I think it is good to have this kind of involvement from a woman in racing. Creating more actions will inspire other women. But we have already seen in the past years there are more and more women involved in motorsports. The more actions there are, the better it is.”

Which message would you give to women willing to start a career in engineering?

“I don’t want to give a different message for men or women. Just live your passion, and do the best you can to reach the job you dream of.”

Image courtesy of FIA Formula E