Inspirational, Interview, Women In Motorsport

Molly Taylor: “It’s been a pretty incredible ride. . .”

Molly Taylor first came onto my radar in 2021, during the inaugural season of the revolutionary Extreme E series. Partnered with Rosberg X Racing, Molly and her teammate Johan Kristoffersson took the championship title. It was in this season that I witnessed Molly’s measured, calculated driving style. From doing further research into her career, the extent of her talent was evident.

As a child, my dad would often show me and my sisters videos of rally competitions. The emphasis would always be on the huge amount of skill necessary to succeed, operating outside of the more controlled environment of a traditional racetrack. I remember looking at the events in awe, captivated by the challenging conditions and the high speeds sustained.

From the 2017 Forest Rally. (Credit:

But those same factors can lead to crashes and tough moments. I spoke with Molly about getting back in the car after those days, and how she manages to still give it 100%.

“I think getting back into it and just sort of getting on with it is a really important thing to be able to kind of switch off. I think for me one of the things is understanding what went wrong. . . if you can kind of see what happened, you can analyse that and be a bit more pragmatic about it all. ‘This is why and don’t do that again’. In rally, you’re kind of always on the edge so there’s so many times you might have a bit of a moment, and it could very easily turn into an accident, and you get away with it. . . “

“So, sometimes when you step that little bit too far, it’s not like you’ve gone from everything being perfectly in control to then everything being out of control. You’re kind of always in that zone. I don’t know how to describe it – it’s not necessarily like a big transition, like a ‘where did that come from?’ I mean sometimes it can! . . . there’s also always the pressure and expectation. . . So, it’s really just the ability to switch off from that and focus on the process, which is what you hear all the drivers talk about. It’s the thing everyone’s always striving to be able to do. . .”

Balancing this ‘on-the-edge’ racing while getting to grips with often unfamiliar circuits is part of what makes rally driving such a demanding discipline.

2019 TCR Australia Series Round 1, Sydney Motorsport Park. Photo by: Daniel Kalisz.

The debate of whether racing involves more of natural talent or learned skills has long been up for question, like in most sports. This topic was something I wanted Molly’s insight on, as she’s often jumped into new series and succeeded quickly. A strong example of this is the Australian Rally Championship in 2007, where Molly won the F16 class in her first full season.

“A lot of people think it’s a natural skill and I guess you do need to have some sort of aptitude for it, but in my mind it’s much more of a learnt skill. When you look at running or other sports, you can be physically born with certain genetics as opposed to just having a good running style. . . Whereas in driving, we weren’t ever evolved to be a good driver. It’s something that we learn.”

“So, in my mind, it’s something that if you work at, you can improve and that’s kind of the strategy that I take. . . the first time I drove a rally car, I was very average. It wasn’t like I hopped in the car and was like ‘oh wow’. Not that it was completely terrible, but it wasn’t like ‘this person’s got a gift’. It was just something I could see was awesome and if I figured out how to do it, I could do it well.”

From the 2023 Island X Prix. Credit: Veloce Racing.

Funding is a never-ending problem for drivers worldwide, struggling to acquire enough sponsors to enter races. Molly described it to me as a ‘chicken-and-egg’ circle of “you need the money to perform but you need to perform to get the money.” And while Molly started racing in Australia, she said it’s the same struggle everywhere. She credits the Pirelli Star Driver scholarship she won in 2011 as something that made her career.

“Domestically, Australia’s got a very good scene but in terms of progressing overseas – that was one of the struggles I had . . . It was an opportunity that I would have never had . . . I think in Europe you have a lot more one-make categories, there’s a lot more going on, you can obviously travel and do those circuits a lot easier than you can in Australia. So, from that perspective there’s maybe more opportunity over there, but then you also have a bigger population and more people doing it. That doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Wherever you go, it’s the same fundamental issue of everyone needing budget to get seat time – because it’s a learnt skill – to be good.”

Veloce Extreme E teammates Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor. (Credit:

When the opportunity of Extreme E arose in 2021, Molly seized it and capitalised on the chance. Winning such an innovative, modern-age series in its first year opened many doors for her career, leading to the chance to compete in the iconic Dakar Rally. Along with the drives, Molly cited being able to learn from established rally legend Kristofferson and current Veloce teammate Kevin Hansen as a key takeaway from her time in the championship.

“. . . it’s a really unique opportunity . . . to be able to learn from someone like [Kevin and Johan] . . . I mean, before Extreme E started, we were all in Australian lockdown – my rally program stopped and kind of everything stopped. So, I went from having a really good program in Australia to having absolutely nothing. And then having all this international stuff which has just grown. It’s been a pretty incredible ride on my side.”

A big thank you to Molly, for her time and patience. It was an amazing opportunity to interview her for OTPW. I love writing, but hearing people’s journeys in this wonderful sport is a large part of what makes this blog such a privilege to run.

As always with my interviews, I left our chat with a huge grin on my face, feeling incredibly grateful. We had spoken about Molly’s work for Girls on Track as an ambassador – an important organisation that does so much to inspire girls like myself. I feel so happy to be part of a generation where viewers can look to series like Extreme E and find role models both male and female alike.

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