How to Become a WRC Team Principal

Speaking to WRC+ All Live’s Becs Williams in an exciting WRC Backstory podcast, Milner talks about his journey from being a self-proclaimed farm boy from Somerset to rising through the ranks to eventually lead the British squad .

Milner packed his bags and traveled some 500km from Nelsey to Cumbria in 2006 to join M-Sport’s parts and sales department. This – by its own admission – was a huge risk at the time. But the one who paid.

He took the reins as team principal in 2019 from Malcolm Wilson, who has led M-Sport’s day-to-day WRC operations since running Ford’s championship program in 1997.

Milner had big shoes to fill – his predecessor and mentor Wilson had led the team to three manufacturers’ titles and two drivers’ crowns in 2017 and 2018 with Sebastian Ogier.

Milner was given the role by rallying the legendary Malcolm Wilson

“I was working with Malcolm a lot during those two years and helping out with a lot of things,” the 38-year-old explained. “But then the apple [Ogier] We left at the end of 2018 and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

“I had an offer to go and work in the game from somewhere else and I was completely torn. I’m always open to opportunities, but I’ve always been honest with people saying it’s going to be something really special because I’m not moving away from Malcolm – he’s got me where I am now and it will be something different. Big decision to make.

Rally Monte-Carlo 2019 was his first event at the top

“I’ve always sat face-to-face with Malcolm about these things and he’s always been very respectful and honest. We were discussing things and I went back to him with some ideas about what I thought I’d be doing in the future. I potentially can, because I told him many times that I wanted to challenge myself.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” he continued. “So I gave Malcolm a document to read over the weekend with some ideas – one of which was what I would love to be team principal with at some point.

“We had a chat the next week and he said ‘well, if you want to lead the team you can do it’. That’s really where it came from – I always suggest and ask and he turns says ‘Okay, we can do that’.”

Loeb’s 2022 Monte win was a highlight

With just weeks before the 2019 season, it was a busy time for Milner and his colleagues. He explained how – even today – this is a team effort, with Wilson still heavily involved and in attendance at several WRC rounds to keep a watchful eye on progress.

“I didn’t see it as a major change in the way we worked, and I don’t think any of us really knew how it would be viewed or how we would see it.

“I didn’t want to be seen taking the job off Malcolm or anything — I just wanted to try and push myself a little bit more. Malcolm is still at almost every event and it’s a team effort to get the job done.” Is.

Milner still competes with himself when the time comes

“It was important for me to get a chance to do this role because it was a dream and like I said, I want to challenge myself. I felt that I was up for that challenge and Malcolm to give me a chance to do it. He was kind enough.”

Milner describes his own experiences as a competitor in both the driving and co-driving seats, along with talking about his future goals and aspirations. He also explains how his interest in the sport was sparked by none other than Petter Solberg.

You can listen to it all, plus many other exciting stories on, iTunes or Spotify here.

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