Jessica Nicholson’s continued development as a Motorsport Australia official has taken a major step forward after she was appointed as the Toyota Gazoo Racing 86 Series Race Director.
In being selected as the 2022 Toyota Gazoo Racing 86 Series Race Director, she becomes the first woman in Australia to ever hold the Race Director role at a national level.
Nicholson enters the role as a highly experienced official with plenty of experience having worked across a large number of events and categories.
Having spent countless hours over many years volunteering and building her skillset at Wakefield Park and Sydney Motorsport Park – Nicholson has shown her leadership, management and knowledge make her the perfect appointment to the Race Director role.
Nicholson previously made history with her appointment as Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Deputy Race Director in 2020 making her the first woman to also hold that position in a national series at the time.
Her ability was further illustrated at the six-day motorsport extravaganza at Mount Panorama last year as part of the Bathurst 1000 – where she was heavily involved with four different categories – including the 86 Series itself.
“It’s nice to graduate once again. I am so excited because I have a really good team of people around me, like Glenn Pincott, and a really good category, so I am looking forward to working with them,” Nicholson said.
"Although I didn’t get as many rounds as I would have liked in the Carrera Cup due to travel restrictions, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I learnt quite a bit being part of the Porsche.
"However, the real opportunity to flourish came at the Bathurst 1000 where I was able to be Deputy Race Directory for four categories and I think that played a major role in my selection.
"It was also was amazing because it boosted my confidence too. I worked so hard for those six days and did the best I could do, so to be rewarded with this position as Race Director was quite pleasing.
“I think I am ready. I am obviously a bit nervous, but I have had a taste of what I will be doing and I have some familiarity with the category and the individuals in it, so I know what I am in for.”
Jessica Nicholson in the Assistant Starter role at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Although Nicholson’s role is an outstanding achievement, she isn’t the only woman making the most of the officials development pathway.
Confirmed as the 86 Series Technical Delegate for the popular one-make Toyota series will be Felicity Wood, who also becomes the first woman to hold that particular role at a national series.
“I am very excited to work with Felicity,” Nicholson added.
“I haven’t met her just yet, but I am looking forward to working with another female. I am sure we will make a great team together too.
“Both of our appointments are important for other women because it shows that there is a pathway for them to progress and they just need to put in the time and get the experience.
“On top of the appointment, I also became the first female to get Gold Event Command, which is quite an honour for me.
“I like being a role model and comfortable at being one too. And this is where I wanted to get to with my motorsport career and I am so proud to know that I am actually there. Hopefully it inspires others to pursue something similar.”
With the series to get underway early next month as part of Supercars’ 2022 season opener at Sydney Motorsport Park, there will be another woman making history in a short space of time.
After being named as Clerk of Course for the event, Kaye Callander becomes another to be the pioneer in her field as she will be the first woman ever to be a Clerk of Course at a Supercars round.
While West Australian Danielle Meyn was originally in line to take on the role last year when she was appointed as Bunnings Trade Perth SuperNight Clerk of Course, the event’s cancellation meant she would have to wait longer to get that opportunity.
Danielle Meyn (centre) speaking at a Drivers' briefing.
Meyn has still been busy and she too has progressed through the system, having secured the role of Deputy Race Director for the Supercheap TCR Australia Series, where she will link up with another woman – the series’ steward, Trisha Davidson.
Davidson herself boasts an impressive resume after she was the first female to serve as a Series Steward to a national category when appointed as a steward for the TGRA86 Series from 2016 until 2021 before making the switch to TCR for this year.
Nicholson, Wood and Callander will all be in race control in their respective roles during the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight at Sydney Motorsport Park on 4-6 March.