From fast tennis to fast cars, Emma Raducanu knows a thing or two about cultivating passions to realise big dreams. Sporting a love for motorsports since her childhood days spent racing go karts and motocross, she’s carried that automotive passion into adulthood alongside her already staggering tennis career.
Inspiring a whole new generation to swing for incredible goals after her success at the 2021 US Open, 19-year-old Emma is an undoubtable role model beyond the realms of her sport. Her unparalleled work ethic, positive outlook, and admirable self-confidence means that it is with delight that Porsche warmly welcomes her into the family as brand ambassador. Here she tells us how she caught the motorsports bug from an early age and why her passion for Porsche shows no signs of stopping.
How did you first uncover your love for motorsports?
“As a six-year-old girl, going karting made me feel different from other girls, and even boys, in a positive way. I felt cool and had so much fun once I started to get good at it. Motocross was then a step up from go karting. What kid doesn’t like getting dirty in the mud? It was a new skill that required a level of coordination and balance that most adults don’t have! The acceleration and deceleration gave me such an adrenaline rush.”
What do you think came first – your passion for motorsports or tennis?
“I actually think the first thing was my passion for motorsports. I was doing both at the same time, but then I had to choose one or the other on my weekends. Back then, the tennis tournaments would only happen at the weekends, so I went along that track. But the adrenaline that I got from motorsports was actually the highlight of my week.”
What about when it comes to Porsche – can you recall your first memory?
“My first memory was one of my coach’s 911s when I was young. Whenever I would turn up to practice in the morning, I would see his Porsche, and it made me dream of one day sitting in my own. So for me to be a brand ambassador for Porsche means a lot, having loved the band from a young age. Growing up, I would also go to Brands Hatch and watch the Porsche Carrera Cup finals. The adrenaline I would get from seeing the Porsche cars was the most fun part. I loved observing the backstage frenzy at the paddocks in preparation for the race too. I’ll be back again at some point, that’s for sure.”
For you, it’s a Porsche 911 that you dream of owning one day. Why is it your favourite Porsche model?
“The 911 is a symbol of automotive performance, image and style for street legal sportscars. It’s such an illustrious model in every generation produced and carries a great legacy. And since two of my past coaches owned 911s, I’ve always envied them!”
Can you put a finger on what exactly draws you into the automotive world so much?
“It’s definitely the love for speed. The most significant thing about motorsports is the acceleration ¬– the thrill of going from nothing to everything. It’s also the deceleration; that sudden feeling like that you could be thrown into the front. It gives me the most thrills.”
Do you see any parallels between tennis and cars?
“I love motorsports because I feel like it’s a drive for continuous improvement, which is actually similar to tennis as you’re always looking for those marginal gains. In motorsports, those gains are even smaller than in tennis, because we’re talking about milliseconds. It’s helped me in my tennis as well along the way.”
The 911 is a symbol of automotive performance, image and style for street legal sportscars. It’s such an illustrious model in every generation produced and carries a great legacy
How do you manage to still feed your motorsport appetite alongside your challenging tennis career?
“I try to make it to Brands Hatch British Touring Car Championship finals or a Formula E race when it doesn’t clash with a tennis tournament, and last year I attended a Formula 1 event. But I follow the action every week across various motorsports. I’d love to get behind the wheel more when the chance arises as and talk to the teams to learn more about their pursuit of performance in the battle with fractions of seconds. I hope I can even get my hands dirty with some of the mechanic tasks. There’s a lot to look forward to!”
What excites you about the future of motorsports?
“I am fascinated by how young and skilled some of the juniors in motorsport are today. I think it’s cool how the relatively fewer women that do it professionally are better than most proud drivers on the road. For me, I love the feeling of going fast and racing, but I’m also interested in the mechanics and engineering. It’s amazing how much work goes into building and maintaining the vehicles. Formula E is exciting as well because it is an environmentally friendly innovation and I know how much torque and acceleration their electric motors can generate. The cars are also slightly narrower, so it lends itself to more overtaking, which is obviously one of the most exciting parts of motorsports.”
When it comes to challenges, both on and off the court, how do you deal with them?
“I think new challenges will always present themselves and you’ll be constantly resetting goals. Personally, I’m very focused on the improvements I can make in my tennis, and that motivates me a lot. The dreams that kept me going in the past were to win Grand Slams and to play at Wimbledon. Now, to have achieved that, I feel very proud of myself, but now I’m setting myself new goals. It’s about continuous improvement and trying to learn new things.”
How do you stay motivated along the way?
“The thing that really drives me is seeing that progress that I’ve made, as well as comparing it to where I think I could be if I really maximised my potential. Just visualising that is usually what keeps me going. But I always believed in myself, and for that then to be able to come out on the court – I really think that’s my drive.”
You were born in Canada to your Romanian dad and Chinese mum, and then grew up in the UK from the age of two – what does it mean for you to be a third culture kid?
“My culture and family background has definitely played a part in who I am. My resilience – which I got from my mum – that’s come onto the tennis court as well. My more logical thought processes come from my dad. When you grow up with parents who have tough expectations, you’re always trying to live up to them, and that’s pushed me to be a better version of myself.”
Now, your love of Porsche and tennis are being combined – how do you feel after your debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart after reaching the quarter finals at the Porsche Arena?
“I’ve been following the event since I was young. I had heard so many good things about it and I’d always kept it in my mind as I remembered that the winner would get a Porsche. And who doesn’t want to win a Porsche?! The Taycan is the most high-performance car I have ever been in on a public road.”
“I definitely enjoyed this tournament. It was at one of my favourite arenas – its centre court is amazing. It was like a movie theatre with the big screen and three raised Taycans in front of it. I really enjoyed my time here. It is one of the best tournaments on the calendar I have been to so far and I can‘t wait to come back.”
And what’s exciting about your future with Porsche?
“To be a brand ambassador for Porsche means a lot because now I feel like I might be able to sit in my own 911 one day – and that’s been a dream since I was a kid. It’s also really important for me to align with partners that I feel passionate about and which I identify with, and since motorsports has been a part of me since childhood, I think this partnership is incredible and I’m really excited to see what sort of exciting things we can do going forwards.”