EYES ON THE FINISH: Holly Espray looking forward to racing a BMW E46 at Lakeside racetrack in early July.
EYES ON THE FINISH: Holly Espray looking forward to racing a BMW E46 at Lakeside racetrack in early July. John McCutcheon

Schoolgirl puts the pedal to the metal

JACK Brabham. Ayrton Senna. Peter Brock. Michael Schumacher. Holly Espray.

If you're asking who the latter is then it's best you pencil the name in for future reference.

The young Sippy Downs teen is a rising star of the motorsport scene who is preparing to take on grown men in her first foray into open racing.

The Chancellor State College student- a former Australian Thai Boxing junior champ- will be hitting speeds of up to 160km/h when she takes to Lakeside Park raceway in Round Four of the Queensland Racing Driver Championship.

The former BMX racer and go-karting prodigy has been itching to get behind the wheel of a car.

After setting some sizzling times during sprint circuits at Lakeside Park earlier this month, she'll get her shot against men aged well into their 40s.

The 'J-plate' on the back of her car stands for junior but Holly's dad Richard reckons it won't stand for much, recalling his daughter duelling it out at Queensland Raceway against experienced racers only weeks ago.

"I didn't know how people would take it," Richard laughed.

"She's taking on guys in their late-40s.

"The guy had the biggest smile on his face (after battling with Holly on the racetrack)."

Her chariot of choice is a BMW E46 (3 Series) sedan. It's being fitted with a roll cage at the moment, Richard deciding Holly was starting to hit speeds high enough to warrant the extra safety measures.

"She's aiming right for the top," Richard said.

Holly has her sights set on Formula One racing and has been harassing her dad to drive for years.

"She's been dying to get into a car," Richard said.

From a drive to the shops or moving the cars in the driveway, Richard said his eldest daughter was relentlessly nagging him to get behind the wheel.

So when she finally got her chance she took it, her 1:10 lap time at Lakeside a few weeks ago raising plenty of eyebrows.

"She's not doing it to impress anyone," her proud dad said.

"A lot of the boys (Holly's schoolmates) just don't believe her (that she's a race driver)."

So are there any nerves from the Espray clan?

Richard admits he has a few nerves when he thinks about it, but he said he and his wife Claire had faith in Holly and the tutelage Richard-an ex racer himself- had been giving her.

So what happens if Holly's star continues to rise when she buckles into her racing harness in three Saturday's time?

"She will need to build a profile if she wants to pursue a career in motorsport," her father said.

If you're interested in supporting Holly's foray into motorsport email richardespray@hotmail.com or check out Holly Espray Racing on Facebook.


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