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Woman Spotlight Wednesday: Megan Gilkes

Written by Sophie Harvey, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit: Jared C. Tilton - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Women have played an influential role throughout the history of motor racing. Many have taken to the wheels of motorsport machines, while numerous figures have worked tirelessly on the sidelines in various roles, shaping the motor racing world to the present day. Woman Spotlight Wednesday aims to take a look at the tales of these superwomen, who have surpassed various hurdles to reach where they are today.


This week’s article dives into the story of Megan Gilkes, a woman breaking stereotypes, both on and off track. Her motivation proves to be unmatched; having balanced F1 Academy alongside her university degree, this young Canadian is heading to Aston Martin F1 Team to follow her dreams of becoming a trackside engineer.


Early Career

Gilkes’ began karting in Barbados at the age of nine, alongside the likes of fellow Barbadian, and F2 driver Zane Maloney. Having progressed rapidly, she found herself in the world finals only a year later — unfortunately, this didn’t go to plan, as Gilkes experienced a heavy crash, breaking her wrist in the process. Although Gilkes understood this was the nature of the sport, it took her three years to convince her parents to return to a racing circuit.


An impressive set of accolades soon followed, with Gilkes winning the Ottawa Challenge Karting Cup, and finishing second in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Naturally, Gilkes progressed to single-seaters, competing in the Canadian F1200 Championship, and subsequently the Sports Car Club of America Southeast Majors, achieving second place in both sets of championship standings before she was even eighteen.


W Series

This would be Gilkes' big break into the junior series scene. And surprisingly, It was her younger brother Nick Gilkes (currently racing in Eurocup-3) who told her about the all-new female championship.


It’s a good thing he did — Gilkes sailed through the tough selection process, and was chosen to be one of the initial 18 full-time drivers launching the W Series campaign.

Credit: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Although she didn’t stay in the series for long, Gilkes definitely made her mark. Finishing first in the non-championship reverse sprint race at TT Circuit Assen made her the youngest-ever W Series race winner, and no doubt proved her immense racing talent.


Formula Ford and GB4

In 2020, Gilkes returned to Canada to compete in the Ontario Formula 1600. She achieved two poles, two fastest laps, and thirteen podium finishes, to secure a phenomenal second place in the championship standings.


Having moved to the UK for her studies, Gilkes spent 2021 in Formula Ford, before graduating to the well-known GB4 championship. And she would certainly make her mark here, becoming the most successful female driver to date, claiming a win at the season opener in Snetterton, and again later at Donington. A third place finish in Silverstone hauled her into an impressive sixth in the championship standings — not bad for her inaugural season, right?

Credit: GB4 Championship

F1 Academy

At the beginning of 2023, Rodin Carlin announced Gilkes would be one of the three drivers who’d formulate their F1 academy campaign. Partnering Abbi Pulling and Jessica Edgar, Gilkes aided the Surrey-based team in finishing third in the championship standings.


Although the season wasn’t quite as successful on a personal level, she still notched up a best result of fifth, and her contention proved pivotal in Rodin Carlin’s success.

Credit: Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Later in October, she announced that the F1 Academy season finale in Austin would be her last race professionally. Although this announcement was saddening, it brought the news that Gilkes would be taking up an all-new challenge…


On Track to Trackside

Alongside her racing commitments, one of Gilkes most impressive traits has been her dedication to her education. No doubt taking a lot of determination and hard work, the 23-year-old will be finishing her degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, in the following year.


Having participated in a year-long placement at Aston Martin’s Formula 1 outfit as a Trackside Support Engineer, Gilkes clearly impressed, as she will be taking up the role of Graduate Performance Engineer full-time after graduating.

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There’s no doubt Megan Gilkes is a pillar of inspiration for young women looking to race, or engineer in motorsport. Likewise, she proves to be an excellent example of how, if you’re determined enough, you can do both. We wish her the best of luck in this new chapter of her storied career!

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