ChicMoto has interviewed women from across the globe; England, Finland, the U.S., and now Ireland! We welcome you to our latest interview with Nicci Daly– Irish hockey star with a passion for motor-racing!
The last name Daly might be a familiar name if you follow car racing. Nicci’s uncle, Derek Daly, was a Formula One driver for Tyrell and Williams back in 1978-1982. His son, Conor Daly, Nicci’s cousin, currently races in the IndyCar series for Dale Coyne Racing. And to add to all of that family speed, Nicci’s father, Vivion, raced in Ireland multiple times. So I guess it is safe to say racing is in her blood!
We reached out to Nicci Daly because she just recently finished an internship with Juncos Racing Team as a data engineer. However, while Nicci loves cars and racing, she’s most famous for her amazing career playing hockey ( or field hockey as we call it) in Ireland! How did this hockey star end up working with cars you may ask? That’s what we wanted to find out!
Nicci started with Juncos Racing Team as a data engineer because she knew they would teach her a lot, push her to succeed, and are known for their great cars and drivers. Plus, her cousin, Conor, used to race for Juncos Racing Team so it seemed like a perfect fit! And what did Nicci do during this internship? As she mentioned in her personal blog on WispSports, “A data engineer is more than just a nerd behind a computer screen. They are the right hand to the race engineer who is the right hand to the driver, therefore how you interact with both is critical to how involved you become.”
Does she want to continue a career in the racing world? “I would love to continue working in racing, I don’t really have a dream series, as long as I feel comfortable with a team of people who want to win and I’m enjoying it that’s the most important thing for me!”– Absolutely! As we dig in to our interview with Nicci Daly, we learn more about her passion for cars and where her love of motor-racing came from!
So let’s dig on in!
Q & A With Nicci Daly: From Hockey Star To Motor-Sports
CM: First off, can you tell us a little bit about your background with cars, engineering, and joining Juncos Racing Team?
ND: I grew up in a motor racing family. My dad Vivion raced in Ireland for over 20 years and was multiple Irish champion. My uncle Derek Daly raced F1 and IndyCars and my cousin Conor Daly is now racing in the IndyCar series so I’ve always been around it. I studied mechanical engineering for my undergraduate degree and then went to England to do a masters in Motorsport engineering at Cranfield University. My family had a connection with Ricardo Juncos and his team because Conor raced for them in 2010 in Star Mazda and they won the championship that year with Conor. I approached Ricardo about an intern position and he was happy to take me on.
CM: What was your favorite thing about working with Juncos Racing Team and do you want to continue working with a race team? If so, what is your dream race series to work with?
ND: My favorite thing about Juncos Racing is the team of people. At Juncos they have a very family friendly atmosphere but they also work incredibly hard together and for each other. They have very high standards which is why they have won championships in every series they have competed in and why they are one of the most successful teams on the road to Indy ladder. I would love to continue working in racing, I don’t really have a dream Series, as long as I feel comfortable with a team of people who want to win and I’m enjoying it that’s the most important thing for me!
CM: What was your first car and some great memories from it?!
ND: Well, my first car was a Mitsubishi Colt that I shared with my brother. I suppose the greatest memory I had was driving it around a WRC rally stage in the north of Ireland with five of my friends wedged into the backseat! My brother then went on to wrap it around a lamp post driving his own rally stage so that was the end of that!
CM: Have you always had a passion for cars and racing?
ND: Yeah, I think growing up with them always at our house does that to you! My dad was a mechanic by trade so if it wasn’t racing cars it was road cars scattered all over our driveway.
CM: If you were talking to your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
ND: I think I would have tried to get involved more with the mechanics side of things and actually race too! I’d love to have done go-karting.
CM: What advice would you give women interested in starting their own careers in the automotive industry?
ND: I would say go for it! As long as you are confident in yourself and your ability then there is no reason why you should ever have doubts about it.
CM: Being an engineer for a race team, you have to know cars inside and out. ChicMoto was created with the idea of helping women learn more about the automotive industry to gain better confidence in what they were driving. In your opinion, what is the most important thing any person should know about their vehicle and why?
ND: How fast it goes! 😉
CM: What have you learned from playing hockey that you were able to take to the race team and engineering?
ND: I guess being part of a team that is trying to reach the very top of their sport and the pressures and commitments it brings with it. The championship is a path that you are on just like qualifying for a major tournament. The most successful teams are the ones who are consistently performing while progressing as the season goes on and show character when it’s needed or balls in terms of racing drivers! Knowing how to operate in a team and understanding how I am tracking along is probably what I took from hockey. Problem-solving is another one. When playing hockey teams change their tactics all the time or situations change and you have to adapt and problem solve quickly to be able to counteract this, well it’s the same in racing. Changing conditions means problem-solving quickly and effectively.
CM: Do you think the racing world has adapted to having such strong female racers, engineers, technicians, etc, like yourself?
ND: I have met some very good female engineers and racers who are working and driving at the pinnacle of the sport. I think the Motorsport world is adapting as you see more females now than ever before, but I think it can still be better and maybe that will only happen by encouraging more women to get involved and for women already involved to become more successful!
CM: What is your favorite car race you love to watch & follow?
ND: My favorite car race to watch is probably the Indy500 as there are so many lead changes, Battles throughout the pack and strategies that you really don’t know who is going to win.
An Indy500 fan, data engineer, hockey star, and has the need for speed; Nicci Daly fits right in with ChicMoto! Interviewing these amazing, strong, and passionate women who work in the automotive industry, like Nicci, is something we love doing! You can check out more Influencer Interviews on our website (chicmoto.com), or by clicking right here!