She’s just brought home the prestigious Peter Brock Medal from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport’s Night of Champions Gala, but rally driver Molly Taylor has been getting noticed in the world of motorsport for quite some time now, and she’ll certainly create many more headlines before she hangs up her helmet.
Molly has rally driving in her blood – born and bred in Sydney, she’s the daughter of four-time Australian Rally Champion co-driver Coral Taylor and former regular state and national competitor Mark Taylor. Her first taste of rallying came while working at her father’s rally school during the school holidays and it didn’t take long before she was well and truly hooked.
In 2009, Molly left Sydney to chase her dream of a professional driving career in Europe. She competed in the British, European and World Rally Championships during which time she was named British Ladies Champion twice, won the inaugural European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy and, in 2013, was officially recognised as the fastest female rally driver in the world.
Last year was Molly’s first year back in the Australian Rally Championship, where she and co-driver Bill Hayes finished runners-up in the national series points tally. Over that year Molly also made history as the first woman to win a round of the series, and finished on the podium at every other event.
Molly has accomplished a lot for her 27 years of age, and there is no doubt she was deserving of the Peter Brock Medal. The Medal is awarded to the driver who has demonstrated similar characteristics to the late touring car legend, including outstanding ability, a fair and sportsman-like attitude and a willingness and capacity to promote the sport in the wider community. The first female recipient, Molly follows in the tyre marks of the late V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards, V8 star Craig Lowndes, her mentor and four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates, and Australian and New Zealand race and rally star Jim Richards.
‘Peter’s ability to inspire and pass on his passion for the sport to so many was incredible,’ Molly said after receiving the award at the recent CAMS Night of Champions Gala. ‘I remember meeting him at Targa Tasmania many years ago when I was very young, and even then he was a hero figure, particularly in a motorsport house like ours. To win something associated with him is surreal; to be named in this group of hugely successful drivers is amazing. I have some very big shoes to fill.’
So what’s next for Molly? After being absent from the local rally scene for more than 10 years, Subaru Australia has just announced it will return to this year’s Australian Rally Championship with a single production-based vehicle with Molly at the wheel.
While the name of her co-driver and team have yet to be announced, Molly is keen to get started on the ARC campaign.
‘This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m both humbled and excited to be part of Subaru’s new plans to build on their amazing rally heritage in Australia,’ she says. ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do in testing before the first round in April, but the NR4 is a great car and we look forward to seeing the return of the Subaru rally fans both new and old.’
It’s almost certain that we’ll be seeing Molly spending some more time gracing the winners’ podium this year!
5 QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Few would argue that rallying is one of the most thrilling motor sport disciplines to watch, with its sideways action and adrenaline-pumping speed as the cars race through the bush. Here’s what you may or may not know about the ARC.
Are you a rally racing fan? What are your predictions for rally winners in Australia this year? Share them in the comments below.