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Nadine Lewis: The GoldStar Award Winner Who Made Volunteer History

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Juan Arroyo

Image credit - BWRDC

Working in motorsports requires a lot of dedication, time and devotion. It often means flying to different countries and being away from family for extended periods of time. Throughout the hierarchy of motorsports, there are different roles that play into key areas, like engineering, marketing, and strategists. Every one of these roles is important to keep teams performing at their absolute best. But there is one incredibly crucial area of motorsport that, without them, the sport would come to a halt.

Track Marshals are often referred to as the ‘beating heart of UK motorsport’ due to their integral part in the safety of spectators and most importantly drivers. These unsung heroes are volunteers who give up their spare time to help at events, making sure races run smoothly and clearing up any debris on the track. There are thousands of marshals who volunteer every weekend, whether it be at the pinnacle of motorsports in F1 or local grassroots events. One thing for sure is that they all share the same drive and passion for the sport.

To thank and notice all the work marshals do behind the scenes, the British Women Racing Driver Club nominates volunteers for their prestigious Gold Stars Award. This award promotes women in motorsport and brings awareness to their achievements. The nominees are put in front of a panel of judges where a final decision is made, and the winner is chosen.

Nadine Lewis and her backstory

The 2023 winner of this award was Nadine Lewis. Nadine has been involved with marshalling for 26 years, balancing her passion with her day job during the week. She has marshalled in a variety of motorsport events over the course of the years, and is the first female chair of the British Motorsports Marshals Club (BMMC), where she helps new volunteers and provides them with the essentials for marshalling.

“I grew up watching motorsports during the 80s, I didn’t know much about motorsport then. I spectated at the Grand Prix a couple of times before my friend told me about marshalling being talked about on the local radio and that’s how I got into marshalling.

“I prefer races to other disciplines. Equally, I’ve been to sprints and rallies and I’ve experienced those types of disciplines. But racing is my preference. What I like most about marshalling is meeting new people, you don’t know who you are going to be on post with each day, so it can vary on how much they know about motorsport or marshalling and what they do as a day job.

“I am always fascinated with what people do as a day job. Meeting new people who come from so many different backgrounds, and we all come together for motorsport and that’s our link. We may have completely different backgrounds, family, experiences, and work but it’s the love of motorsport that brings us all together and the fact we are very close to the action, and we do get involved and we do make it happen. Without volunteers, it wouldn’t happen, this includes race scrutineering, timekeepers, and the admin in the background.”

Volunteers all share the same passion for motorsport. During the week, Nadine helps shift stock around the country, but on the weekend, she is integral in providing safety for drivers. Nadine goes on to talk about why she gives up her spare time and volunteers at racetracks on the weekends:

“It doesn’t matter what happens during the week, it’s my escape. It doesn’t matter how stressful my week has been at my day job as I can just switch off. It is great from that perspective; you can forget you have a day job until someone mentions it to you.”

Image credit - Nadine Lewis (via Instagram)

After her incredible dedication and work as a marshal, Nadine was nominated by Motorsport UK to hand out the second-place trophy at the 2022 British Grand Prix. A request was sent directly to the FIA to bring Nadine out on stage, and she became the first volunteer to ever hand out a trophy.

“I only knew three days before I was going to do it. I was marshalling at Donnington on the Saturday, and I made my way down to Silverstone on the Sunday.

“For the podium itself, I had to be in position before it all finished. So, ten laps before the end of the race, I was in the wing at Silverstone watching the rest of the race on a small TV screen. At that time, I knew I was taking second place, but I didn’t know who it was going to be. The podium director explained how it worked, who stood where, when you know it’s your turn and where the trophies are.

Image credit - Nadine Lewis (via Instagram)

“I didn’t feel the nerves. I made a conscious effort to try not to take photos, I was taking loads of photos but then I was like I need to absorb this and what is happening. I never got nervous; it was more the case of ‘Wow this is really happening, this is amazing!’”

One of the other big memorable moments for Nadine that day was hearing from other volunteers around the world and being able to bring more awareness to the incredible work volunteers do:

“I went into the Silverstone Café and saw a few marshals and I then told them. I told them and their reactions were brilliant. They opened their mouths and said, ‘That’s amazing.’ The reaction on social media was unbelievable, I was getting reactions from people all around the world from people I did not know. I received messages from a volunteer in Mexico and Australia who all said this opportunity was amazing. It was like ‘that’s fantastic’ that the whole volunteer community recognised that it’s the first time a volunteer has done this and that it needs to happen more often. The reaction and day were amazing.”

Nadine was later nominated that year for the Gold Stars; she was previously nominated two years prior. She mentioned how she was incredibly happy she got nominated again but was amazed at winning the award as she didn’t think it would happen:

“I was astounded [when Nadine won], I stood at the back I was like ‘it won't be me’ when they called my name, I looked at my husband and went ‘oh my god, it’s me! How did that happen!?’ I was absolutely gobsmacked, to be recognised twice is amazing.”

Nadine is an incredible marshal who has volunteered for a variety of different motorsports events whilst also helping to promote women in motorsport. By being the friendly face for new volunteers and providing them with the training and support they need, she has become a respected figure not only within the volunteer community but also the motorsport community as a whole.


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