Sara Misir started riding horses at the age of three and fell in love with them, but slowly began to realise that one horse’s power was not enough. Fuelled by inspiration from her father, Rugie, the president of the Jamaica Karting Association, she switched lanes to a different track, exploring go-karting and go-kart racing.
“Having a father in motorsports most certainly influenced my love for it. It’s the best father-daughter bonding I could ask for,” Misir told Flair.
It was definitely against the norm, especially locally, where female racers are still a very rare find. Sara was out on the go-kart track every weekend, training in her spare time while balancing the life of a teenage girl in high school. She has since moved up the ranks in the automotive field, having advanced to race cars and racing professionally outside of Jamaica. A professional career in motorsports was not one of the goals she had written down in her diary, “but I always wanted to have an athletic career, and seeing my dreams slowly come to reality has been an amazing experience”.
At 19 years old, Misir made her debut at Dover Raceway in St Ann for the Jamaica Race Drivers Club Total Lubricants Carnival of Speed in a Volkswagon Saveiro double-cap pickup.
Now, at 23 years old, she has made her mark on the Formula One circuit and is even more committed to breaking gender bias.
“There is no such thing as ‘a man’s world’ or ‘a man’s job’. Women can do anything they set their mind to! I’m an example of that, so are the other women in motorsports. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is appropriate, as it means not looking at being a woman as a barrier to achieving anything,” Misir said.
Misir is the first woman from the Caribbean to make it to the final of a Formula One qualification competition, being one of 50 finalists from a list of more than 9,000 applicants worldwide. This week, she heads to Sweden for the final chase for one of the four spots in the 2022 GT Cup Championship.
“It means everything to me to know that I’m making pioneering moves for Jamaican women as Jamaica’s first Formula [One] woman driver. I hope all women and girls use this as an inspiration that anything is possible, and that just because something is difficult doesn’t make it impossible,” she said.
Formula One training demands a lot from Misir. It requires time management, training on and off the track, and it is physically and mentally taxing. Yet she does this, all while pursuing a master’s degree in architecture.
“I’m good on the racetrack, but I have multiple dreams that I want to accomplish as well, and architecture is one of them. Turns out it’s also another male-dominated space,” she shared.
But Misir is up to the challenge.
IN PHOTO: Sara Misir is making her mark in professional racing. PHOTO BY DONAHUE PARKER