Racing is a man dominated sport with few woman drivers. This race car team is out to change.They are the first ever all women race team called TrueCar. They are a highly driven, motivated, and hard working team that just goes out there to win. TrueCar provides full sponsorship and professional coaching and training. To find out more about TrueCar, click here.
These six talented drivers have come a long way to get to where they are at. Emille Tominovich, Shea Holbrook, Verena Mei, Shannon McIntosh, Katherine Legge, and Ashley Freiberg all have just one simple goal: to win. I recently had the pleasure to chat with three of the girls, Emille, Shea, and Verena, about how they got to where they are, what it’s like to be out on the track, and what they hope to accomplish.
What made you want to race cars every day?
Emilee: I got into racing two years ago and right now I’m a junior in college. I started out playing soccer in High School and then went to the track with my dad after I got injured. A year later I got my SCCA license and just went for it.
Verena: The automotive industry. I love everything about it. I wanted to get into racing because I love the passion that everyone has for it.
Shea: I started racing about six years ago. Five years ago, I traded in water skis for a pair of wheels. I thought in the beginning you’re either a zero or a hero. It is the hardest to get it in to because it is not only a hard career, but hard for a young person and even more for a woman. When I realized I had a passion for racing is when I gripped a wheel for the first time. I grew up water skiing thinking I’ll do it for rest of life. When I quit cold turkey, I found another sport that changed my life.
What was or who was your inspiration?
Shea: My dad had a lot to do with it. I am an only child and thank god or I might have not done this (laughs). I was fifteen years old when I had done this three day event. I realized that there was more to it and it was his way to see if I would invest all my time and have fun in this career. My dad invested a lot in me and racing. But, having a role model and wanting to be exactly like them is ridiculous. Why would you want to be like someone else? We all look up to different people.
Verena: My grandmother was my inspiration throughout my life. She wasn’t alive when I started racing. I was always thinking of her and doing this for her. Denise McCluggage also was an inspiration as she was an automotive journalist and rally racer who won her class in the legendary Monte Carlo Rally.
Emilee: My inspiration was my dad. About a year before I got into it, he used to play golf before the track opened. I’ve been hooked ever since and my family has been super supportive through it all.
What’s the feeling like when you’re out there on the track?
Emilee: Before the race, you go on the grid. I’m super nervous, I feel like my stomach is about to explode. You do a Pace lab to warm up. When the green flag drops, I am so nervous and you basically want to drive as hard as you can.
Shea: I think if racing was easy, everyone would do it. Not everyone realizes how much mental preparation it takes. It is mentally and physically draining. I think everyone gets the jitter bugs however. It is not just the driver; it is everybody on the team and the pressure builds up for everyone. You got to turn off what’s not important and turn on what is. I’ve been racing for almost 6 years. As a driver, at the end of the day, you are the last piece to fit in the puzzle and need to finish the job. I get a little bit of the nerves and excitement and have to calm myself down. It comes down to how you focus mentally. You have drivers say “watch out, I’m coming for you”. They try to psych us out. We’re doing this not just to race, but to win. And that is what the TrueCar racing team is.
Verena: I do rally racing which is racing in mountains with whatever weather happens to be present. I get butterflies the day before the race as you never seen the roads before. Day before the race we get to drive it at 30mph. During the race, I have a co-driver who gives me notes throughout the race. Rally racing involves a lot of focus and what my co-driver says, I got to listen. The roads are always different conditions if it might have snowed or rained the night before. We never see the other cars unless we see them on the side of the road or if we pass or catch up to them. It’s all a mental thing. When there is five seconds before the race, my focus comes in, but my vision is blurred as I get a pinpoint vision of what line I need to take.
Shea: The Honda Civic Si 2012 is the current one I race. I’ve raced BMWs, Porsche’s, Honda’s, and Acura’s. We race what the average American drives. We’ve worked hard to get to where we are today. My favorite, I guess, is the current one I drive but it’s hard to really answer that question because at the end of the day, we’re drivers and we’ll drive anything.
Emilee: I think Shea said it all. I think we all like to get in anything they let us drive.
Verena: We race all kinds of cars, but I have to say for rallies, it is the BSF.
What advice can you give someone about following your dreams?
Emilee: Whatever you want to do, go for it. I worked hard and I knew what I wanted to do.
Verena: Same as Emilee. If you have a passion for it, you will make it happen. That’s why we all are here on this racing team. There’s is still so much to come.
Shea: My dad and I came up with a quote: “Fear is a state of mind, will is an action taken” I live by that quote. Like Verena said, it is an uphill climb. Men and women have different uphill battles when it comes to motorsports. There have been times I thought it would not happen. Not giving up hope, my dad kept reminding about the quote. If you believe in yourself and have a strong foundation you can do anything. Women that have been in motorsports have fantastic years, bad years, and back and forth. It is almost impossible to get that perfect lap. It is like one in 100,000. It is not easy to do but it is possible. In fifty years, I’ll look back and know we are part of history and the six of us worked hard and were empowered. It is an emotional ride for all of us.
Nicolas Mirabelli is a college graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in English. His passions are creative writing, movies, music, comedy, and adventures. He connects his passion for movies and writing and writes screenplays in his spare time and hopes to become a successful screenwriter. You can follow him on Twitter here, or Facebook here.