Kim Kuzma McFarland Started Small, and Now Works World Championship Events

It’s the goal of numerous SCCA® members to start locally and build their skillset enough to participate in FIA World Championship events. Several have done it – and we’re not even counting drivers.

Kim Kuzma McFarland is a regular on the FIA World Championship scene here in the United States, and the next stop she’s going to make is electrifying – pun intended. It’s June 29-30, 2024, Portland E-Prix, the next round of the Formula E World Championship, where she and dozens more SCCA members will be instrumental in making the event a success.

McFarland came from a racing family with her great uncle, Eddie Kuzma, a Hall of Fame IndyCar builder in the roadster era. Growing up in Portland, she heard the stories and was a fan of the Portland Grand Prix, and watched legends like Mario Andretti – who grandfather Eddie helped win his one and only official 500 – rip around the track.

“I was on the sidelines watching, and finally one day said I need to get involved,” McFarland said.

Many of us have said that, but she immediately – and in hindsight, kind of funnily – shot for the stars.

“Because of my connection with Mario Andretti, I stupidly picked up the phone and said, ‘What does a person have to do to become a pace car driver?’” McFarland said. “They laughed, and said ‘That’s not how it works.’”

But they also connected her with SCCA’s Oregon Region, and there was an event coming up. It was cold, wet, rainy, and she kept coming back – that was 23 years ago. She worked and got involved locally, taking on every job she could find. She earned her SCCA National F&C license and her National Starter license.

When F1 came to Circuit of the Americas in 2012, she applied – this time a little more humbly than her initial call to drive a pace car.

“I thought they’re not going to take me, I’m just a little thing who has never done anything before,” she said. “But they accepted me, and I’m a 100 percenter at COTA.”

Not only did they accept her, but she’s expanded her role. She now sits in race control after starting as a Radio Marshal, then what they call a Chief Post Marshal (basically the leader for that small flag team), and finally as a starter before moving “indoors.”

Now, she’s the deputy race chair for all three U.S. F1 events, works race control for MotoGP and some IndyCar events, and of course is taking on a similar role for the Formula E race.

“I’m…a logistics person of sorts,” she said of the 2024 Formula E race. “I’m in race control, and whatever needs to be done, I’m on it. I’m making sure the marshals are getting what they need. If a radio battery goes out, I find it and go deliver a new one. I’m in charge of worker transport, so I make sure the workers get picked up and dropped off in a timely fashion.”

Think race director, but on a World Championship level.

And the best part? For anyone reading this article who wants to put in the time and soak up the knowledge, this is an achievable dream. It just takes some effort, some skill, and some willingness to get involved.

“One of the things that I always tell people is that I’m a fan like you, but I wanted to get up close,” she continued. “I want to make sure the drivers are safe. I saw a bigger picture and thought I wanted to get even closer. It doesn’t get any closer than this.”

Oh, and in a bit of good news – if you ever get to an SCCA Road Race in Portland or on the West Coast, you may see McFarland in the starter stand. But yes, you may also find her in the pace car these days. That dream has also been achieved.

Photo courtesy Kim Kuzma McFarland