For this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re featuring six new interviews from inspirational women who are carving out extraordinary careers in motorsport.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Sofie Ceyssens. I am a 22-year-old girl from Belgium with a big passion for motorsport and travel. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to travel the world and work in sports. As I have a very close relationship with my brother and dad (and of course my mum as well), we gained a mutual passion for cars (Porsches) and motorsports.
During the start of the Covid pandemic, I realised that my dream job would be to work in motorsports and to travel the world for my job. To gain some experience, I joined a local team, called Belgium Racing, under the lead of former 24H of LeMans and F3000 driver Marc Goossens. They gave me the opportunity to join them during different races including the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux as pre-programme of DTM, giving me a great insight in the world of motorsport and its marketing perspective.
Tell us about your dream career, and what it would look like
My dream career would of course be to work in Formula One and to travel to all the different countries with them. In the meantime, my passion for motorsports has expanded to multiple series and championships so I would feel absolutely honoured to work for Formula E, W Series, Extreme E, FIA WEC, Nascar, etc. as well!
As I absolutely love meeting and engaging with new people and getting to know different countries and cultures, my dream position would be Community Manager or Content Manager so I can create content and engage with a large public to share the passion of motorsports with them.
What are you currently studying?
I’m currently finishing my Master’s degree in Communication Sciences at the KU Leuven in Belgium and normally will graduate in June. Before that, I did a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing with specialisation in International Business.
What was your experience as a woman on your course?
Of course, in the series my team operates in, the environment is still very male dominated. Some people will like seeing you in the paddock and some simply won’t. In general, my experience has been very good. The way the team and everybody else welcomed me with open arms and the way they try to teach me as much as possible about motorsports is absolutely amazing to see. Spending so much time with all those people truly makes me feel like I met a new family. By spending time in this still male-dominated environment, you really learn how to stand strong as a woman.
Did you do any extra-curricular activities/work experience?
Yes, as soon as I found out I wanted to work in motorsports I started looking for work experience. Very quickly I found out that the world of motorsport is very closed so experience and building a network are key. That is also how I joined Belgium Racing. I got to join them during different races such as the Nascar Whelen Euro Series and the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, which was a pre-programme of DTM.
I also received the opportunity to work during the Dutch Grand Prix where I could join the press and media team as a volunteer. Through both experiences I used the opportunity to talk to lots of people from different teams and organisations to build a network. I truly think it is very important to talk to people and to expand your network during these opportunities to grow further in the world of motorsport.
Who is your favourite female role model in motorsport?
My favourite woman in motorsport is Sophie Ogg. Not only because we share the same name, but because of the fantastic career she has built throughout the years. I truly admire how she can combine a busy job in Formula 1 with being a mum.
What’s the best thing you did to get you to where you are today?
I think the best thing I did was to just get out of my comfort zone and contact people in the world of motorsport and ask if they have an opportunity for me to gain experience.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing for me is that I get to work in a team where all people are passionate and motivated to reach the same goal. You go through the highs and the lows together and that only makes you stronger both as a person and as a team.
What’s been your highlight so far?
I actually have two highlights so far. My first highlight was when I received the opportunity for a job interview at Williams for an industrial placement. Although I didn’t get it, it was a great motivator to keep pushing and a sign that I am working in the right direction.
My second highlight was when the team finished second in their class after the 24 Hours of Zolder, my first ever 24H race as a race team member. It was absolutely incredible to see how hard the whole team had worked during the past few days, resulting in a P2!
What would you say to girls who aspire to work in motorsport one day?
Nothing will come easy so just never give up! I think it is important to take small steps and build your career towards a bigger team in Formula One or any other series or championship you would like to work in. It’s a hard and busy world so it is good to grow gradually.
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