After putting so much effort into starting a career in public lands law enforcement only for it to turn out to be a huge disappointment, I became extremely discouraged with life in general and didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt completely lost. I had just wanted a career involving some adrenaline rushes once in a while, while being in cool, beautiful places that I enjoy. Clearly I had been looking in the wrong direction this whole time.
A dear friend of mine had lent me a book to read when I started going through this big transition period. It was called “The Art Of Racing In The Rain”. Something again clicked in my head. I remembered how I felt during that police driving course and what the instructors had said to me about my skill level. Why not pursue developing those skills and see where it takes me? Also, being half McLaren and always having interest in McLaren road cars, I began to become intensely fascinated with the world of Formula One. “That’s what I want to do”, I thought. Seriously… Why not? What have I got to lose? I might be crazy, but there are already too many people out there who are afraid of pursuing their dreams for fear of breaking societal norms. The fact that there has not been a female in the sport for a very long time, and but above all that there has never been one who has won just makes it all the more appealing of a challenge to me. That is the type of challenge I've been looking for. It may be a ridiculous goal, but that won’t stop me from trying. This quote by Louisa May Alcott pretty much sums it up for me: “Far away in the sunshine are my highest inspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
The next step for me was finding a racing school to go to. After much deliberation, I decided to go all out and attend the Stage One School of Racing at SimRaceway Performance Driving Center, driving a Formula 3 car. Everything fell together like it was meant to be. I was working on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming at the time and the second cheapest flight I could find was a non-stop flight from Jackson Hole to San Francisco. Locals told me that flights out of Jackson Hole are almost never non-stop to places like that. So I flew to San Francisco, and went to pick up a rental car in Mill Valley. All they had left was a luxury BMW. They charged me the same as an economy car, handed me the keys, and told me to go practice racing with it. That night, I literally did not sleep because I was so nervous about what I was about to do. It just felt so intensely that my life was about to completely change. I had briefly driven a friend’s manual car a couple of times. What the hell was I thinking flying out to drive a Formula 3 car? “But I really want to do this… This could be my life. This is going to work”, I thought. The following day I arrived at Sonoma Raceway for the class. I was greeted very warmly by the amazing staff and found out that I was the only one in the class. “How could this be happening?” again I thought. I would never have been able to afford private training like that. At that point, I felt like a zombie already from lack of sleep. I got in the F3 car and strangely all fear dissipated. I began driving and it felt so completely natural that I was astounded. It all went very well. By the end of the second day, during my final session, something about zipping around in that car at 110+ mph speeds and experiencing about 3G made me feel so completely peaceful and relaxed – it felt like I had finally learned how to fly. There are simply no words to describe how it truly felt.
I returned to Wyoming the following day, back to work driving around and patrolling the forest roads up in the Wyoming Range. It was stunningly beautiful. But I simply couldn’t enjoy it like before. I had gotten a taste of something special on the track at Sonoma and that was all that I could think about. It consumed me. I had finally found myself. And I needed to get back there as soon as possible.