I am writing this in a restaurant inside Birmingham airport – it’s already been 17 hours since I woke up this morning in my bed and now I’m waiting for my delayed flight back home after a day which really put a huge smile on my face. A burger and half an ale later, I came to realize that the right people in the right place have actually succeeded to bring back more confidence in my motorsport dream than what I’ve lost in the last couple of months.
Today I was invited to take part of the Walero ambassador day – me and a few other fellow ambassadors had a full shooting day at Donington Park near Birmingham. But first, let me tell you about Walero – they are a UK racing equipment company started by Fiona James in 2012, when she decided to push the limits of what’s available for athletes around the world. Walero currently produces game changing base layers which use the NASA Outlast technology to regulate body temperature, in both in hot & cold conditions, so that it maintains your body to an ideal 37 degrees. Even more, they replaced the traditional FIA-approved Nomex with Envirotex, another FIA-approved flame retardant antimicrobial-infused material, which feels much softer, lighter and more natural on the skin than the previous.
Basically, they challenged the norm, and now they teamed up with a great bunch of drivers from all around the world to promote this cutting-edge technology in a way which resembles their vision: ambitious, performance-driven and with a fresh approach when it comes to motorsport awareness. And I still cannot believe they actually chose me to be a part of this amazing story too…
To be honest, I feel that this opened up my eyes and deleted the last of what I believed to be the “geographical borders” of motorsport (coming from a non-FIA national rally championship trust me, you start to feel it). Everybody was so relaxed and positive and even though I was the only woman and the only one rallying, the guys were just great fun and we got along instantly – of course, we talked about motorsport. (also, the only instant shot I took with the Polaroid camera got burnt and overexposed, because basically I forgot I was holding it in my hand and got carried away talking about cars). #UnitedbyPassion
I was really impressed by how Donington Park looks like, with all its facilities, the neat pit lane and a cool atmosphere all around. As I said, everybody was positive and willing to share a story, a smile or an information. Still, for me racing on a circuit is “too neat and tidy” – but now I can better understand how this works and why it’s attractive for spectators and sponsors:
- All of the drivers look like actual athletes, because they know you cannot race if you’re unfit
- The place is sparkling clean, the technical assistance trucks as well
- Nobody yells or catcalls women (maybe you don’t know how this feels like, but trust me, I – unfortunatelly – know how people looked at me back home when I had to shoot some photos in the service park).
- The technical teams all looked neat and professional, maintaining an overall cool appearance
Coming from a country with only 3 tarmac circuits (one of which just opened this winter and one which is not used for any major competitions), maybe you can get a hang of why I’m sharing my perspective.
Instead of a conclusion, I can only say that I’m truly grateful for this opportunity. Having Michelin, DJI and now Walero as my partners in the upcoming 2019 season is very important to me, as we resonate with each other when it comes to quality brand awareness through motorsport.
I still have space for other brands (Romanian or otherwise) who would like join my story and help me inspire and empower women through rallying, but after today I have a good vibe about what my future holds – I feel like, after all, I am on the right path.