Jennifer Mullan began her career in motorsport as a marshal. She has twice marshalled at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans (2006; 2007) and in 2007 took to the race track herself.
Jennifer was also the first ever female racer to compete in the Irish Rallycross Supercar class in 2008, and in 2012 became the only female to ever take part in a Bavaria City Racing event during a demonstration in Dublin.
It’s fair to say Jennifer caught the bug from an early age.
‘I’m not really sure how I fell in love with motorsport. I guess it was something I grew up in and it just stuck. One major reason was because of the friends I have made over the years. I’m a very competitive person so I guess I also really enjoy the fact that everyone is treated equally regardless of being male or female.
‘From a young age I would attend races with my family and watch while they volunteered as marshals. When I was old enough, I couldn’t wait to put on the orange overalls myself. I never imagined I would ever race, but when the opportunity came about to get behind the wheel of a Formula Vae in 2007, I did everything possible to make it happen.’
Taking to the track: Formula Ford 1600
‘I currently race in Formula Ford 1600. It’s a single seater category recognised around the world. There are many different types, but for the last few years I have been racing a 1984 Kent-engined Reynard.
‘Later this year I will be moving into a slightly newer model Formula Ford and racing in a different class. Formula Ford 1600 is generally split into different classes to reflect the age of the car you are driving, so you can compete against others in the same age of car, as well as compete for overall honours with more modern cars.
‘For the last number of years I have been racing for a team called FCR Media Racing. My partner, Paul, is the main man behind the team. He set up the team to help with my racing. My engineer for the last two years was a very successful Formula Ford racer from back in the day called Bernard Dolan.’
Not content with racing in the northern hemisphere, Jennifer has also had the chance to race on the other side of the equator.
‘I had the honour of joining an Australian family-run team known as Ecurie Australie, who gave me the opportunity to race at Phillip Island. It was such a great experience to be part of a seven-car team, with such fantastic people. Back in Ireland, we are now in the process of building a new team to begin our next project, so watch this space!’
‘Winning the Pre-87 class of the All Ireland Formula Ford 1600 championship in 2015 and finishing third in the overall championship would be my greatest achievement in terms of looking at my trophy cabinet. However I feel that having been able to race in Phillip Island in March of this year was by far my greatest overall achievement so far.’
Motorsport is notoriously difficult to break into, and Jennifer is no stranger to obstacles.
‘The main challenge I have faced, certainly in the early stages, was finding budget. It is generally most drivers’ biggest challenge. I have been lucky over the last few years to have a fantastic partnership with golden pages.ie and it has allowed me to stay competing.’
Jennifer believes funding is still the biggest obstacle for young drivers today.
‘It takes such big budgets to progress up the motorsport ladder that sometimes the most talented drivers can get left behind for all the wrong reasons.’
Mullan’s Plans for 2017
Looking ahead to the future, Jennifer is looking to keep the momentum going.
‘This year I am not competing in any championships, as I have just returned from Australia. We are about to start re-building our new Formula Ford 1600 which I will be racing later in the year. My main ambition is to have this car ready to take part in some end-of-season trophy races such as the Martin Donnelly Trophy in Kirkistown, the Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy in Silverstone.’
‘I would love some day to progress to complete in an endurance race in a category such as British GT or similar. Most importantly though, I just want to enjoy every time I get in a car regardless of category or level.’
How to follow Jennifer’s adventures