Race mechanic takes it to world

At the age of 15, Louise (Lulu) Clearwater built her first race car — a replica Lotus 7 — in her parents’ garage in Invercargill.

Now she is travelling the world working on top-level race cars on the international circuit.

It takes a special kind of grit — and grace — to succeed in the male-dominated motorsport industry, but the seasoned race mechanic is doing just that.

International race mechanic Louise (Lulu) Clearwater, of Invercargill, at the practice day for...
International race mechanic Louise (Lulu) Clearwater, of Invercargill, at the practice day for the NZ Grand Prix at Highlands in Cromwell yesterday. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
Twelve months ago, after more than a decade working in Zealand motorsport, Clearwater headed to the United Kingdom pursue her passion full time.

That led her to race tracks across the United States, Europe and India, including the inaugural Indian F4 championship.

She was on team supporting up-and-coming American driver Chloe Chambers, who has been accepted into the 2024 F1 Academy for Campos Racing.

Clearwater has been back in New Zealand working as a No 1 mechanic for Giles Motorsport for the Toyota Racing Series, which caps off with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Highlands Motorsport Park this weekend.

It seems a far cry from growing up surrounded by Classic Motorsport in Invercargill, but Clearwater credits those early years for cementing her passion.

"Growing up I got to meet some really interesting people around Classic Motorsport and then even coming up through this, now being able to watch previous drivers that have made it all the way to Formula One and all of that sort of thing, being able to sit back and support that has been really cool."

As much as she loved the fast cars and adrenaline, it was the people that made the sport great, she said.

"I’ve always said motorsport would be boring without the people. So I love being a part of a team and getting involved in all of that side too."

Clearwater heads back to the United Kingdom on Wednesday to pursue more motorsport opportunities.