Captivated by the rush of speed, cars and the desire to get behind the wheel from an early age, at 25 years old, Kalyn Miller is not only participating in a male-dominated sport, but she's competing with them too and is hot on their heels.
Miller participated in her first race at the age 15, in a bakkie, that she helped build from scratch. Then in 2017, she participated in her first championship, where she took the title!
She believes men and women should be given equal opportunities; one shouldn’t be stereotyped according to their gender.
She entered 2019 in class A in a 1600cc turbocharged car and is competing against well-known and experienced competitors in the world of motorsport. She recently became the first female driver to win Class A in the Sports & Saloons in the opening race at Red Star Raceway, east of Johannesburg.
She recently became the first female driver to win Class A & claim overall victory for the day at Red Star Raceway.
Could you describe a typical day in your job?
A typical day on the job, the majority of the time is just the same as any other “normal workday”. It involves admin, accounts and marketing, but after work, we spend many evenings and weekends working on the race cars getting them set up and race-ready. Being on the track takes away all the normal life stress and problems, and makes me forget about them while I’m behind the wheel.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to get into Formula One, but my realistic vision was to get involved in aeronautical engineering.
How did you get into the automotive arena?
My dad, who is the reason why I got involved in motor racing, has been involved in the industry for over 40 years.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Never let your gender be a failing factor.
“No matter what, never let your passion become your fear due to other people’s opinions. You can do anything you set your mind to and are passionate about
What advice do you have for the future generation of women wanting to get into the automotive space?
No matter what, never let your passion become your fear due to other people’s opinions. You can do anything you set your mind to and are passionate about.
Who or what is your biggest motivation?
My parents have always been an inspiration to me and I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for them.
Are South African women getting enough of a chance to shine in the automotive industry?
I don’t think South African talented drivers male and female are getting enough chance to shine in the automotive industry.
You recently became the first female driver to win Class A in the Sports & Saloons in the opening race at Red Star Raceway. Could you tell us about this achievement?
I don’t think there are enough words to describe what I was feeling that day. When I saw all the people supporting me on the pit wall and the checkered flags out for me, I punched the air out the car and was so happy that my smile said everything.
What challenges have you had since starting out?
The biggest challenge was when I started out with the new race car. We had some issues where the car was overheating and we were breaking gears. Due to the issues, it put me on the sideline watching the races and unable to finish the event. The hardest thing is watching a race from the sideline and not being a part of it due to small issues with the car.
Kalyn Miller with her Kia Midas sponsored vehicle
How did you overcome these challenges?
We basically spent many nights and weekends trying to make sure that the car was right and there that there were no more small issues that could leave me watching from the sideline.
What has been the biggest highlight in your career?
I would have to say the last race at Red Star Raceway where I fought my utmost and became the first female ever to win in class A 111 Sports & Saloons.
Could you list a few, if any, specific challenges females face in this industry?
The industry is very much male-dominated and unfortunately, females tend to get looked down on. We are perceived to not be emotionally or physically fit to do the things men can.
What is your advice in overcoming these challenges?
I believe women and men should be equal. I keep pushing myself and by telling myself that I can do anything I put my mind to!
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