Taking things right back to the beginning, how did you get into racing and how much of an influence was your father in introducing you and increasing your interest in the sport?
My dad was not the instigator. Yes, he was racing, but I played tennis and I really didn’t have an interest in racing until I got invited to a day at the go-kart track. I thought it was a lot of fun, the adrenaline kick and being behind the wheel. Tennis is very much about being a perfectionist and so is racing, so it really caught my attention. But after that, it’s definitely a passion that my dad and I shared together and he’s been a huge part of forming my career throughout the years, for the majority of my career. So he’s definitely played a big role, but he was actually not the first to introduce me to it.
And how old were you when you began?
I was a little bit late as I was 13. Most people now start at about five or six years old. I think it’s very normal for some even earlier.
It’s a testament to your talent and ability to be able to pick it up so late and still have so much success.
I think I just got lucky, you know as we were driving a lot. In other sports, like tennis, of course there’s the psychology behind playing a game but you can do a lot of practise at a court and with a racket, some balls, and somebody to teach you and play with. But with racing, you’re so limited in terms of the track time that you can get, and some championships even have restrictions to how much you can go and drive. So, it’s a bigger setup and that makes it very limited. And that’s why race experience, just driving a lot and doing a lot of races, is probably the best way to grow within the sport.
At that time, what was it like to enter the sport? Especially with it being so male-dominated, did you have any female role models that inspired you?
I don’t think there was anybody per se. There was Danica Patrick and she was a big name over in America and definitely made an impact on the sport, but I don’t think I grew up specifically looking for female role models, I just saw individuals. I don’t think I ever grew up with any restrictions in terms of the mindset being ‘you can’t do this because you’re a woman or because you’re a girl’. When I was young, I was just like, ‘I’m gonna go and do that’.