Elise Moury: “Flexibility is important in our industry, especially when you run your own team”

Engineers are some of the most important people in a racing team, analysing data to prevent and fix any issues. Having worked in GT racing and single seaters as a Performance Engineer, as well as now being Team Manager of her own team, Elise Moury has had a successful career in motorsport. So, I spoke to her about her working in GP2, the Toyota Racing Series and launching the M2 Competition team in Europe.

As a child, Elise spent much of her time swimming, competing for around a decade. “I did a lot of swimming when I was younger,” she said. “For about 10 years, I trained a fair bit and competed in different swimming events, and synchronised swimming as well. So, I guess I am someone who likes competition in general. My father has always been a big fan of racing, and I, of course, followed Formula One with him when I was younger.” Moury’s interest in motorsport went hand-in-hand with a fascination in mechanics, with her going on to study the subject as she got older. “Going to an engineering school was quite a natural decision for me. From as far back as I can remember, I have always been interested in it. Even as a kid I was building race tracks, cars, building stuff, but not always related to racing though,” Elise explained.

credit: Dutch Photo Agency.

Moury went on to study for a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the French Institute for Advanced Mechanics where she spent a semester specialising in Vehicle Dynamics. It was also whilst she was still at university that she secured her first role in racing. “My first taste of motorsport was with Sebastien Loeb Racing. It was an internship over the summer in 2012. I remember enjoying the environment, working with great people, feeling part of a team, and working around cars was great for me. Then they took me to the track for a test day in Dijon, and this is really when I knew that I didn’t want to have any other job than something in racing,” she told me. Following her placement, Elise began working in GT racing with the W Racing Team as a Data Engineer, all whilst still being at university. After graduating and moving on from her role, she spent 8 months with the PWR Racing Team in Sweden, before turning her attention to single seaters. “I have always enjoyed single-seaters a lot. In 2015, my husband and I decided to quit our little comfort zone and tried to start a team in the UK in Formula 4. The whole thing collapsed (thankfully), and we ended up working together at Russian Time in GP2 (he was a Race engineer, and I was a Data Engineer). It was a steep learning curve for me, as the work was totally different than on a GT car, but I loved it straight away,” Moury said.

The GP2 Championship (now FIA Formula 2) is a feeder series to Formula One, and for the 2015 season, Elise worked as a Data Engineer. “I was in charge of the systems side of the cars, making sure all of the sensors are fitted properly and calibrated. I went through the data with the drivers and did some of the preparation before the weekend. Also, some analysis post-event for our reports including chassis, driver and tyre analysis,” she said. The following season, Moury spent 6 months with Prema Racing, again in GP2, doing a similar role as before, though this time as a Performance Engineer.

Credit: Dutch Photo Agency.

Elise is currently with the M2 Competition racing team, founded by Jonathan Moury (now Elise’s husband) and Mark Picher in 2010. She has played an important role in the team, working both in New Zealand in the Toyota Racing Series and in Europe in the Formula Renault Eurocup. “I met Jonathan in 2012 at a race in Donington, and started with M2 at the end of 2014. I did a lot of preparation for the team during that winter and started as a race engineer in 2015 in New Zealand, where I was engineering a car until the end of the 2018 season,” Moury told me. In 2019, M2 began competing in the Formula Renault Eurocup, expanding outside of New Zealand. “Jonathan and I decided to start M2 in Europe, and since that moment I think I have been doing a little bit of everything. I started by engineering a car, and in the middle of the season, Jonathan and I swapped roles, and I became the Team Manager, while Jonathan focussed on the engineering side. I am now managing the team, including the financial part, the logistics, and the staff,” she said.

Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Being able to do many roles within a team is vital, especially when the team is smaller and time and budget is not always on their side. “Flexibility is important in our industry, especially when you run your own team,” Elise explained. There are always going to be challenges when expanding a team or business, and for Moury, it is replicating their victories in their new series in Europe, that proves most challenging. “Despite all the success we have had in New Zealand, it is difficult to build the same reputation all over again in Europe,” she said.

Although there are such difficulties, hard work has brought Elise’s career many highlights, particularly when working with young, up-and-coming drivers. “I enjoyed the complete 2015 year with Artem Markelov in GP2, it was a blast for Jonathan and me, both on the human and sporting side. In New Zealand, we had a crazy season in 2018 with Richard Verschoor, and we won the Grand Prix that year, it was a super good TRS season,” Moury explained.

After working all over the world as an engineer covering many different motorsport categories, Elise Moury is now using these experiences in her new role as Team Manager for M2 Competition racing team. Though this doesn’t mean she won’t go back to engineering with even last year, her and husband Jonathan swapping roles mid-season. Speaking of her advice for anyone wanting to work in any area of motorsport, she said: “just be passionate, and work hard.”

(Heading photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency)