This Saturday the sporty spotlight shines bright on twenty-two-year old Fabienne Lanz. Fabienne hails from South Africa and is a history making Motorsport Racer. Check out Fabienne’s interview below where she shares a must read tip for athletes, how she handles competing in a male-dominated sport, her strong faith, and much much more. And don’t miss some great Fabienne pics.
Sport(s): Motorsport - Karting
Hometown: Kyalami, South Africa
Position for 2009: 3rd in the South African National Vortex Super Rok category.
What was your fave sporty moment or memory?
I am blessed and grateful to say that I have a few very fave moments in Motorsport. I think the most fave moment would be the one in 2007 at the Vortex Super Rok Grand Final in Lonato, Italy, because I as an athlete performed my best and the team was top notch, from the engine engineer to the chassis engineer and the support was phenomenal. I had to learn the track really fast, as I never even laid eyes on that track before. I adapted to the grip level quite quickly as well, which I am very grateful for as many people struggled with it. I had a lot of confidence, I was solid as a rock, and no one could intimidate me. Everything came together in the end, we finished 5th in the world and we made history as I became the first female to finish on the podium. I was over the moon! I thank god for everything as his hand was over me.
List some of your best achievements to date:
2003 – Raced in 3 of the Florida, USA Rotax Max Junior Championship, won 2 rounds and finished 2nd in the third. Finished 4th in the South African Rotax Max Junior Championship.
2004 - Finished Runner Up (2nd) in the South African Rotax Max Challenge Championship, won the Rotax Max Challenge NRKC Championship in a South African designed and built Kart (Apex) & qualified to participate at the Rotax Max RM1 International Final at Lanzarote, Spain in 2005.
2005 - Made history and became the first female to make it through to the Final day out of 89 competitors of which only the top 34 qualify to the final round.
2007 - Finished 4th in the Final at Round 1 of the Rotax Euro DD2 Challenge in Salbris, France. Finished 8th in the South African Vortex Super Rok Championship, qualified for the Vortex Super Rok International Final in Lonato, Italy. Made history again as I became the first female to finish on the podium as I finished 5th out of 50 top class karters in the world. I got my National Colours for our outstanding performance.
2008 - Finished Runner Up (2) in the South African Vortex Super Rok Championship, won the Vortex Super Rok NRKC Championship and qualified to participate at the Vortex Super Rok International Final in Lonato, Italy. Finished 13th overall out of 66 competitors.
In a male dominated sport, how do you handle it and how do they handle it getting beaten by a girl?
I used to get pushed around when I first started racing until I was told to overtake left, right over or even underneath. The point was to get passed and not to take any nonsense from the anyone. Today other competitors know, if they push me, I push them back. They must not mess with me. Some boys/men can’t take it to get beaten by a girl, but some look at me as another competitor, which is cool.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from racing?
There are so many, which makes this sport a real life changing experience! I think the biggest one would be dedication. The preparation that goes into the engine and chassis before the race is so important as this is the starting ground to the weekend’s race. A lot of long hours are spent on getting this right. I try to train at least 4 days a week, mostly on core muscles. Studying of the Kart’s handling and engine performance never stops as every corner needs to be analyzed to get the best combination for a specific track.
What have you learned about teamwork?
Team work is what completes the racing driver I think. I think the most important people behind the driver are the Kart and Engine Engineer. The driver needs to work with the Kart and engine engineer in order to get the kart on pace. The people who help put the tent up and clean the kart and change tyres are also important as they make mine and my engineer’s work load a bit less and thus we can concentrate on out jobs. Team work is essential with the team mate as we follow each other to study who is quicker at what position on the track and we discuss the different set up we each have. The media person is one of the most important to work with as she/he markets me.
What drives you to compete?
I love the speed, the complexity of the set up, engine tuning and race strategy. I love competition and the more there is the more that is game on for me. Sometimes the butterflies get almost unbearable before some of the races as I get so exited to give it my all and try and win, but I would not change it for anything. It is living life to the full for me. To be able to stand on the podium at the end is the cherry on the cake.
What do you aspire to become?
My dream is to race a Formula 1 car. I love the speed; the technical complexity of setting up the car to the race strategy to doing what I do best and that is driving the car to its maximum potential and winning! It is the pinnacle of racing for me.
What tip would you like to give people out there?
Once you have found something that turns your tummy upside down, gives you the thrill of your life and you can’t stop thinking about it, hold on to it. Do not give up on your dream. There is a will, there is a way! God will have his hand over you. Trust and have faith in him. And remember, practice makes perfect. :)
Who’s your fave athlete, both male and female?
My favourite male athletes are Michael Schumacher and Lance Armstrong. My favourite female athletes are Danica Patrick, Venus and Serena Williams.
What’s the girliest thing you like to do? (Pretty Tough signature question)
I think the girliest thing I like to do would be getting all dressed up in a evening dress for an award dinner, looking glamorous.
Thanks, Fabienne for the fabulous and in-depth interview. I absolutely love your tip! So true. :)
If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed for a Sporty Saturday Spotlight, email Keri Mikulski at kerimikulski(at)gmail(dot)com.