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On the path to success – an interview with Logan Hannah

Conducted and written by Mina Jigau, Edited by Tarun Suresh


Image Credit - Logan Hannah on Instagram

Scottish racecar driver Logan Hannah has been busy making a solid name for herself since her debut in Formula 4 in Abu Dhabi back in 2017, at only 16 years old. DIVEBOMB sat down to chat with Hannah about her early career, ambitions, and current achievements.




Hannah explains her early start in motorsport and her current career

 

Mina Jigau: Was it the Sodi World Series that you discovered you wanted to race later?


Logan Hannah: My initial interest in motorsport came through my dad. He just raced for a bit of fun in an old Porsche and then a Radical for a while. While he was racing the Porsche, it meant that I was able to get my hands dirty, get underneath and fix the car, or clean it.


When he started racing for Radical, that was for a professional team, and they were very hands-on, and I wasn’t allowed to be as involved. I was still young, seven or eight years old, and it was more something I was doing with my dad, but then when I was told that I couldn’t get my hands dirty, that there was someone else to do that, that it was their job… I wanted my turn.


That’s when he made that decision to go into the rental car competition which is the Sodi World Series. 

 

Within the first six months, I had accumulated enough points to go to the world-final event in France. As soon as we did that, I don’t think we ever looked back. It was just a case of going out there, joining karting competitions.


As that started to progress, I was getting recognized by academies in the UK and race teams in Europe. It truly manifested into what it is today and it became my life. I didn’t want to and couldn’t see myself doing anything else. 

 

 

 

MJ: The first time you professionally raced was in 2017, in Formula 4, UAE. How did you feel? If you were nervous, how did you handle the nerves?

 

LH: So, I dealt with the nerves a lot better than my dad did. When I was eight or ten, I was watching my dad go around the Yas Marina circuit and normally stood on the sidelines. It was a very big change for my first car race to be in the same place I used to watch my dad race in.

 

 From where I was back then to where I am now, I’m pretty much the same in the sense that I don’t let my nerves get the better of me. I can feel pressure, and I do feel pressure. But I understand when pressure is good and when it’s bad. I kind of go into my own little world, I don’t tend to let them get the better of me.


I will put my head down and focus on my job. At the end of the day, I’m not there to make friends; I’m very much there to get the job done and make the most of the opportunity that’s been given to me. 

 

 

 

MJ: What is your favourite aspect of racing?

 

LH: I think it’s a very easy question to ask but to answer it bluntly, it’s my life. It’s everything, from the racing itself to the work I do at university, to my professional life, to my friends, my social media, to the family that I have. Everything is encompassed and surrounded by motorsport. Everything has some influence from motorsport.


When it comes to the community aspect of the sport, it’s very unique because it takes you and looks after you when you start to find the ground for yourself. Also, the driving of the cars is quite fun! Enjoying the drives and the highs… it’s just an incredibly rewarding sport if you are putting the hard work into it, you will get rewarded. 

 

 

 

MJ: So, we’ve talked about your favourite aspect of racing. Is there a side of racing that you find difficult? 

 

LH: Probably funding and then the social barriers that female athletes face within motorsport. When you get asked the question ‘What’s it like to be a female in motorsport’, it’s very easy to answer: I’ve never been a male in motorsport, so I only know what I know. And what I know is being myself in the sport that I love, and I don’t see myself as any different to the people around me. 

 

Sometimes social media makes it difficult. The way people are perceiving the sport and don’t understand what’s happening behind the scenes. Sometimes you get a driver who’s done one day of testing next to someone who’s done 150 days’ worth of testing, and obviously, the difference between the two drivers is going to be significant.


Being able to almost put a wall between that sort of stuff and push through and forward will make your life a lot easier. When having to put yourself into social media for sponsorship and brand deal reasons, you have to make sure you’re looking after yourself while being on those platforms. 

 

 

 

 

MJ:  Speaking of university, you’ve just completed your dissertation at the University of Sterling while racing full-time. How did you find balance for both student life and racer?

 

LH: It wasn’t easy when it came to deadlines, but I knew when I had to be working and I knew when I was at the circuit. So, if I had an essay or some schoolwork, it would be done before the race weekend. There would be late nights at the track and exams between lunch breaks. Balance is about finding what works for you. I was fortunate enough that most of my learning was online, so thankfully, I was okay. 

 

 

 

MJ: Speaking of women in motorsport, what do you think about the current representation? Do you think there is enough happening? 

 

LH: I think from where I first started to where it is now, there is a big jump forward and it always will continue to jump just with the way the society progresses. Of course, there can always be more done. With the initiatives through the FIA, through the F1 Academy, getting girls into the lines on the F1 weekends is exactly what needs to be done.


The only problem with that is what’s next. Where do they go from there? They’ve been told they only have a two-year lifecycle before they asked to move on, which is fair enough to let the next generation through, but where do they go from there? I think there’s a lot that can be done on the other side of the sport in GTs for females.


I know that Iron Dames do a lot, but to a certain extent, that’s a very closed-door environment that requires an awful lot of money for them to even notice that you exist. What happens next for the sport, I think, is a generational thing. 

 

There’s definitely still a lack of education for younger kids. You don’t get a wave of 18-year-olds jumping into a race car; you’re going to get six-year-olds jumping into go-karts. That next generation is where we reap the rewards of all the hard work being put in place now to increase participation.

 

 

On Hannah’s next steps, she admitted that full-time racing is what she wants for the future. The Scottish driver continues to strive for success, and it seems she’s on the track for it, following her latest race results in the Ligier European Series.


Launched in 2020, as a futuristic approach to racing, the races take place during the Le Mans European series, with two free practice rounds, two qualifying sessions and two final races, each one hour long. These intense events test the endurance of high-performing athletes and are considered the summit of the motorsport world. 

 

First in Barcelona and then at Paul Ricard in France, Hannah continues to impress future teams with results showcasing her dedication to the sport. 


 

 

MJ: How was the Barcelona Ligier Series race? 

 

LH: It was interesting. It was a very last-minute deal that came together. So, we had done no prior testing, the team hadn’t really seen the car and my co-driver hadn’t been to Barcelona…again very last minute. We got there on Friday and to begin with, the car was trying to kill us.


It wasn’t behaving in the way we initially wanted it to but after a bit of alterations, we started to shape it into what we wanted. We had a few technical issues in that last race, with two laps to go then, but once I came out of the pits, my pace was top three. A little bit of a weekend of what could have been but we’re looking forward to Paul Ricard. 

 

 

 

MJ: Are there any future goals or ambitions you have that you’d like to achieve in the next few years?

 

LH: In the sort of next five years, I would like to be in a race car full-time again. This year was very last-minute deals, I’ve just spent some time off, but I would like to be back in a race car full time. I would like to be given the opportunity to compete at the level that I want to compete at. Whether that is jumping back into a single seater, going into the prototype route or going into the GTs. 


I would just like to get the opportunity to properly show what I am capable of and that could include a five-year plan, a five-step plan, to a GT3 in Europe which can result in a Le Mans seat. It’s very interchangeable, there’s no direct goal. Long term, we’re talking Le Mans.


I want to go to Le Mans. I want to win Le Mans. I want to do the Rolex 24; I want to be driving and be paid to drive a racecar. Short term, probably just be given the opportunity to show what I’m capable of. 

 

 

 

 

 

MJ: What are some achievements that you’re proud of?

 

LH: There are a few things, yes. That first initial World event within six months of racing was my launchpad into my career. There were a few karting wins, but when I was in Formula 4 in 2020, I won the David Leslie trophy in Scotland. The trophy is purely based on that one race, and I was the first female to win it. Most of the previous winners were Scottish, too, and for my name to be engraved on that trophy is pretty cool.

 

Other than that, I think my GB4 podium win is up there as well. I peaked too early, I think, in my GP4 year, but to be able to win that race at Donington Park, being chased around for the most part…I was ready to see the checkered flag. I was quite fortunate to take part in the virtual Prodrive at the beginning of 2022, being able to have a group of engineers working in a sim for twenty-four hours was surreal. There were professional Aston Martin drivers and Max Verstappen participated, too, so to be a part of that was incredible.

 

  

 

MJ: Sounds like you’ve had some pretty cool days, but for the days that aren’t so awesome, how do you get through them without being demotivated?

 

LH: I think it’s the same for any athlete in any sport…Your mistakes, issues and low moments are how you learn to find the high moments. In motorsport and other sports, it is all about, if you go through a low moment, being able to bet on yourself, figure out why something happened and then figure out a way to make sure that never happens again and then move forward, and continue to learn that way. 

 

Every day is a school day, and that’s totally true. I think even the people who have been driving cars longer than I’ve been alive are still learning something every day. It’s not easy to deal with the mental strain that motorsport can put on you.


Between trying to look after a car, finding the money to go racing, and making sure you’re in the right mind space to go out there and do the best you can. But as soon as you crack that code, it all starts to make more sense, and becomes easier, and you can push yourself even further. 

 

 

 

MJ: What advice would you give young girls dreaming of racing in F1?

 

LH: I would let them know that they need to have some pretty thick skin and they need to be prepared to work hard at it. Whether that be in a gym or behind the laptop screen, sending emails. 

 

Funding is almost the most difficult part of the sport; it’s an expensive sport and when you’re going for the Formula One route…it’s not for the weak or the shallow-pocketed.


If you can make that work for yourself and work yourself into a brand and make yourself a sellable commodity, then you’ve cracked that first code that lots of the male drivers tend to struggle with, because there’s so many of them. Sometimes being a female in motorsport helps and in that situation it definitely does. 

 

Other than that, the biggest thing you need to remember in motorsport, even if you’re having a rubbish weekend, you’re still living somebody else’s dream. So always enjoying every time you’re in the car will just make it a more enjoyable experience. 

 

 

 

 

MJ: If there was one thing you wanted people to remember you for, what would it be?

 

LH: I would like to be remembered for the hard work that I’ve put in to make it happen. I want to show that hard work does persevere over the people with the deep pockets and I’m not ready to leave racing where it was back when I left it full-time in 2022. I know I’m going back for another season now and I’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I’m not ready to leave these final results as they were, I’m ready to continue to push and remind people what I’m capable of. 

 

  

Following the summer break, Hannah will continue racing with Nielsen Racing alongside teammate Ben Caisley at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. 

 

 

It's safe to say that Hannah’s ambition will be stopped at nothing. Breaking new barriers every day and continuing to be a source of inspiration for the next generation of athletes, Hannah is on her path to success.


Logan Hannah at the Ligier World Series, Paul Ricard, France; Credit - Logan Hannah


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