The popularity of feeder series such as FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 has grown rapidly in recent years, and this season saw a new arrival on the F2 grid. After finishing second in the FIA F3 teams’ championship in 2019, Hitech Grand Prix expanded their entry to also include Formula 2. Jasmine Smith has been with Hitech since 2018, and has seen their growth first hand. I spoke to her about her love of motorsport, her passion for PR and communications, and the thrill of being trackside.
For many working in motorsport, racing is a passion from an early age and this was certainly the case for Jasmine. Her father and grandfather had been involved in the sport throughout her childhood, meaning much of her early life was spent around cars. “I’ve always had a passion for motorsport, especially having grown up around racing – my father raced National Hot Rods back in the day and then joined forces with my grandfather to start their own race company. This was in BRISCA Formula 2 (oval racing), specialising in manufacturing race cars and supplying parts. My father would always take me and my twin to the races, which I loved, so I am definitely no stranger to the racetrack,” she explained. As she got older, Jasmine began to focus on the media and marketing sectors, going on to study in the Netherlands at Breda University where she achieved a BA in International Media and Entertainment Management with a Major in Marketing. It was during this time that she got her first experience of working in the industry. “During my four years at university, I completed a PR internship at Urban Outfitters in Central London, alongside working at Harrods and Selfridges – this was my first taste of the communications world and I absolutely loved it. That was five years ago now,” she told me.
Determined to start her dream career, following her graduation, she started her own company, Elite Digital Studio. “Graduating in 2017, I was set on gaining a job in the media and communications industry. With this in mind, I started my own business, which I currently run on the side of my Hitech activities, offering clients graphic design, branding and marketing services on a freelance basis,” Jasmine said. With a lifelong love of motorsport, it seemed an obvious choice to combine these two interests, with her first role in the sport coming when she returned to the UK in 2017. “I went straight into motorsport and relocated to ‘motorsport valley’ after securing a job with a Blancpain GT team in Silverstone. I was always set on working in the media and communications industry, and I am extremely lucky to combine this with my passion – motorsport!” she described.
Her role in the Blancpain GT Series was with Strakka Racing who had their debut in the series in the same year. “My role was as a PR and Communications Executive. This included full trackside coverage at race events. Within the first three weeks of starting my role with the team, I was lucky enough to fly out to Australia to attend the iconic Bathurst 12 hour which we were competing in. Definitely one of the highlights of my career thus far,” Jasmine explained. A year later, another opportunity arose, with this offering her the potential to grow with a team. “Back in 2018, Hitech Grand Prix were looking for a PR and marketing person and I jumped at the opportunity to join a young and rapidly developing team. After initial talks, there were many exciting projects to delve into,” Jasmine said. “At the time, the team were solely competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, and now we are competing in four series, including the FIA Formula 2 and 3 Championships, as well as BRDC British Formula 3 and FIA F3 Asian Championship! This list keeps on growing, year after year, so I’m excited to see what the future holds for Hitech.”
Teams involved in championships such as FIA Formula 2 and 3 have small budgets and also are limited to the number of staff they can have at the track; this means that those who are there have a number of responsibilities and areas to cover. Jasmine’s role is no different with her being responsible for many of the team’s media, PR and communications commitments. Speaking of this, Jasmine explained that her role entails: “race weekend coverage – tracking the team, reporting on races, attending and covering race events; accreditation for races; designing proposals, brochures and other marketing collateral; social media and website management; public relations – reaching out to new partners and sponsors; and driver PR – organising driver and team media schedules, assisting drivers with media activities, including filming for sponsors.”
However, this season is unlike any other, with COVID-19 restrictions meaning Jasmine is conducting her role from the factory. “As a result of the global pandemic, I am currently covering the races remotely, not just for one series, but for all four we are competing in. I am normally trackside covering the races, some of which run on the Formula One race weekends. It’s pretty exciting and I am lucky to be able to call this my job! When I’m not at the racetrack, I’m working from the factory in Silverstone,” she told me. With Hitech GP racing in four different championships, Jasmine has her hands full, however, she also works with their in-house projects. “I cover all of Hitech’s entries, alongside the team’s other ventures, including our Hitech Performance and Hitech Technologies departments. Time management is key in this scenario. Planning out content in advance really helps and also ensuring you are up to date on session times,” Jasmine said.
Despite juggling many different categories, it does mean she gets to *normally* travel the world, and this, along with being trackside, are among the highlights of Jasmine’s career. “It’s such an incredible atmosphere being up close with the cars and being able to meet and work with fans who are as passionate about racing as I am! It’s also been great to be part of the journey of a front-running team and I am excited to see what the future holds; hopefully we can get back to some normality soon,” she described.
Although still relatively early in her career, Jasmine has already worked in multiple motorsport championships as well as having started her own business which she runs alongside her current role. Speaking of the advice she would give to others, Jasmine said: “it’s always an advantage to get a degree under your belt. Studying in the Netherlands gave me the opportunity to work in an international environment with people from all over the globe. I also learnt a new language and was able to experience a different culture, so I am grateful to have broadened my horizons whilst I was breaking into the industry. Networking is also key in the media/communications world, so attend as many events as you can. Keep a portfolio of work that you have done over the years as a reference, especially for any design work. It’s also interesting to see how far your skills have developed over the years.”
(photo credits, unless specified: Wafe Photography)