Graduating from the Women’s Motorsport Development program last year, in 2019, Tammielee Hotz calls herself a newbie to historic racing, but that belies a long and storied motorsport career. We caught up with her to learn a little about her time in historics.
“My love for historic racing cars began when I was quite young. My dad, Ned McGovern, had a Morris Minor and a Mini that he used to hillclimb.”
“Years later, Dad and my husband Warren Hotz began restoring Milano GT race cars. Dad’s black and silver MK 1 Milano GT raced in Group M & O for many years before being sold and moving to the UK, so I’ve been a fan of historic racing since the 1990s and have spectated at many HSRCA events.”
“It’s important to preserve the history of the race cars that shaped Australian motorsport. Taking part in the club and its events, I feel that I am apart of this history and the privilege of restoring and driving these cars is very important to both me and my family.”
“Motorsport has been a reprieve from work and something our whole family is able to participate in and enjoy. It’s taught me to be in control and to keep calm. I‘ve learnt that to be fast is to be smooth, to plan ahead and think about the next corner.”
“The motor racing community welcomes women into the sport and I have never felt more comfortable being a competitor.”
The MX5 that started it all.
How did you get involved in the sport?
“While I’m a newbie to historic racing, I have been involved in the sport for a long time. I started racing go karts in 1995 after seeing a ladies go kart racing series advertised. I competed in the Ladies class for a couple of years until numbers depleted and I had to go race with the boys. I thought it was great, but the boys didn’t really like being beat by a girl.”
Racing go-karts in the Ladies series during 1996.
“I had many years of success in various classes, from National J and Clubman to Rotary Sportsman. I was never scared and held my own, until I had quite a big crash at Oran Park in 2005. I was taken out coming out of the Dunlop bridge and left the track in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Not the finish I was hoping for.”
“My injury healed and I eventually returned to the track. However, on my return I was not as fearless as I had been, so I decided to hang up the helmet and move into mum mode for a few years.”
“Fast forward to 2012 and the helmet and boots were back with me at the wheel of a restored 1965 Mark 1 Cortina at a track day at Marulan. I needed to join a car club that offered the most track days as well as find a car that I could drive to the track, push flat out all day and drive back home. Hello Mazda MX5! What a great car to get my confidence back in.”
“I competed in several 6-hour regularity team events to get used to being on track with a variety of cars of different speed and driver levels, as well as club super sprinting events to refine my driving and drive my laptimes down.”
MX5 in the Women’s Motorsport Development Program.
“It quickly came time to fine tune, so last year, in 2019, I participated in the Women’s Motorsport Development program. My goal was to improve my skills by learning as much as I could from tuition with professional instructors, develop my car control, cornering and braking skills and gain the confidence to start racing again.”
Warren Hotz in the 1965 MG Midget Group S.
Tell us about your car? Is there a story behind it?
“We originally purchased a 1965 MG Midget Group S race car, which I didn’t find to be the right fit for me. I was keen to get a competition license, but I still didn’t have a car of my own.”
“I was given an opportunity to drive Dennis Best’s Lenham Le Mans GT, which he has campaigned for many years. It’s a Group Sb car and runs a 1275 in Sprite/Midget chassis with a fiberglass body. It’s been a race car all of its life, and stayed with the one owner.
“Before heading out for the first time, Denis told me that it was easy to drive and to just stay within my limits. It took me a few sessions to get into the groove but my times got quicker lap by lap. It’s exactly how he said it would be, and in fact it’s even easier than I imagined and very similar to my MX5 – just without the ABS and supercharger!”
Running the Lenham in the 2020 HSRCA Autumn Festival.
“It’s also easy to run as a race car. I just have to arrive, pay for fuel and drive it. And it’s red and a coupe – two of my favourites! The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s not mine.”
“With two races signed off in my license passbook and PBs so far at Sydney Motorsport Park’s Grand Prix circuit (two minutes flat) and Wakefield Park (1.15), I can’t wait to get back on track to improve on my times.”
“My dream car is a Porsche 356A 1600 super Speedster 1956-1958, but for now we are currently building my own Group S car, which I hope to have ready for the 2021 season.”
First weekend out in the Lenham at a smokey Sydney Motorsport Park, 2020 Summer Festival.
What drew you to the category?
“The members of Group S, and the thrill of racing in the same class as my husband.”
“Group S, and the community at large, are a very friendly bunch of people. They are welcoming and give me good constructive feedback, which is very helpful for a newbie like me. “
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get involved?
“Don’t be shy! The club is very welcoming. If you want to get on track, start in regularity or supersprint before heading into racing. Definitely get along to a club track day, motorkhana or hillclimb and have a go. You don’t need anything more than your daily drive to start with.”
“My advice for any female who wants to race but doesn’t have the confidence or experience yet – enquire about the Women’s Motorsport Development Program. It’s the best way to learn about the different aspects of motorsport, get some expert coaching and make friends with other women who share the same passion for race cars.”
“HSRCA events are well organized and the competitors and crew are all very friendly and helpful. The club has a great website and a well organized event entry and sign on system.”
“There is no discrimination and I feel very comfortable both on track and in the pits. There is definitely more acceptance now for women to be equal competitors in motor racing, and I hope to see this continue to improve.”
Thanks for chatting with us Tammie!
“I’d like to thank my husband Warren. He is my biggest supporter. He encourages me and gets frustrated with me when I drive like a nanna. My kids Blake and Evan give me strength and the drive to always be my best so that I can be a role model for them.”
“My dad Ned McGovern taught me from an early age that I needed to be able to work on my own car and shared his racing passion with me, which has now become my passion as a custodian of historic motor racing.”
Support crew in their native environment.
“I’d also like to thank Denis Best for entrusting his Lenham Le Mans GT to me for the past two race meetings!”
“Hotz-Speed Racing look after me as my sponsor, as well as Hotz-Speed Historic and Classic Restorations.”
With huge thanks to Tammielee Hotz
Images thanks to Paul Cutting, Warren Hotz, Scott’s Shots and Rob Wilko