Bonhams hosts inaugural 'Women in Motoring' panel discussion with Amy Shore, Elspeth Beard, Amelia Lewis and Jamie Chadwick

Telegraph Reporters
Amy Shore, Elspeth Beard, Amelia Lewis and Jamie Chadwick spoke at length about their experiences in and around the world of motoring - Jeff Gilbert 

Four women from across the automotive world took part in a panel and Q&A session for the inaugural ‘Women in Motoring’ event at Bonhams last night (Thursday 29 November).

Car photographer Amy Shore, motorcyclist and adventurer Elspeth Beard, McLaren engineer Amelia Lewis and racing driver Jamie Chadwick each shared their personal and professional experiences, touching on the excitement of their day-to-day involvement with motoring, and the frustrations each of them has felt during their careers.

The event was hosted by Andrew Barrett and Telegraph Cars contributor Poppy McKenzie Smith, both from the Bonhams motoring department, at the auction house’s Bond Street sale room. More than one hundred people travelled to the event, which is set to be the first of a series of talks championing women in the automotive industry.

Andrew Barrett added: "It was a fantastic evening that we hope lifted the lid on the experiences of women in motoring and showcased some of the fascinating career options that are open to women in the automotive sector.

"We are already planning our next event, which we hope will take place at the end of March."

Jamie Chadwick is one of Britain's youngest racers, and explained how some of the "political" pressures almost prompted her to quit as a teenager Credit: Jeff Gilbert 

Jamie Chadwick, who at 20 years old is already the first woman to have won a Formula 3 race, spoke at length about her relatively "late" entry to motorsport when she was 11, and revealed that being aware of the "politics" of racing as a teenager almost put her off the sport altogether. 

Well-known car photographer Amy Shore explained how important social media is to her work, highlighting the particular pitfalls associated with a professional life online. "It's a constant battle," she said, explaining that balancing a personal and work-related profile was difficult. 

Amelia Lewis explained that the "immediate" nature of engineering work appeals to her  Credit: Jeff Gilbert 

Amelia Lewis spoke about the engineering side of the industry, lamenting that it gets left out of career discussions, even at primary school age. "I love pink, and I think that everything is improved by glitter," she explains. "Girliness is not a bad thing – you have to let yourself be yourself, not lose your identity just because you're working in a male-dominated industry."

Architect and adventurer Elspeth Beard, the first British woman to ride a motorcycle around the world, shared some of the sexism she faced from the motorcycling establishment in the Eighties. "I was laughed at by the bike world," she said. "There was no community for me, I felt left out. I would go in to a shop and they would laugh and point. No women were riding big bikes at the time, I felt completely out of place.

Elspeth Beard (second from left) recounts stories from her two-year circumnavigation of the world on a motorcycle Credit: Jeff Gilbert 

"I’m not sure if I’ve ever really slotted in since."

Poppy McKenzie Smith commented: "We were simply blown away by the support for this event. Initially we expected to have about 20 guests, but had RSVPs from more than 150 in the end. Our speakers shared some incredibly personal insight in to their diverse experiences in the world of motoring, and each raised some fascinating points."

The next Women in Motoring talk at Bonhams is scheduled for March 2019, with a guest list to be announced.