Friday, 8 August 2014

Vicky (Vittoria) Piria


Vicky with her F3 car

Vicky, who is half Italian and half English, began her senior racing career early in 2009, at the age of sixteen. Previously, she had driven karts since childhood, although she had only a couple of years of serious competition behind her.
Her first season was a busy one, with rides in Formula Renault, Formula Light 2000 and Formel Lista Junior, in Italy and Europe. She started with Formel Lista Junior, racing at the first event of the season, at Dijon in France. She was fifteenth in her second race, but did not finish her first. After a break, she tried out Italian Formula Renault in July, again, for one meeting. She was fourteenth and thirteenth at Misano. A little later, she joined the Light class of Italian Formula 2000 for the second half of its season. Her best finish was ninth, at Varano, her second race. She also managed tenth places at Misano and Adria, and was 19th overall. Despite gaining a lot of experience, she did not compete in enough races in any series to mount a serious challenge. After the close of the main motorsport season, she returned to Formula 2000 for the Winter Trophy, and scored one fourth place, at Adria. This year, she raced under a British license, which she is entitled to hold, due to her mother’s nationality.
In 2010 she concentrated on the Campionato Italiano Formula ACICSAI Abarth championship, but found it tough-going, competing against older drivers with at least a year’s more single-seater experience. She did not score many points. Her best finish was 16th, at Magione. Her early season results were better than her later ones, and she did prove herself capable of running in the top twenty.
She had a full season in 2011, driving in the Formula ACICSAI Abarth series, and Formula Abarth Europe. She was racing for Prema Powerteam in both series. In the Italian championship, she only entered four races, finishing three of them. She was closer to the pace this year, with two eleventh places and a fourteenth, at Varano. In the European championships, she was quite competitive, with a best finish of eighth, at Monza. She also scored two ninth places, at Valencia and Catalunya. The Valencia result was her first of the season. She was eighteenth overall.
In 2012, she raced in GP3. Her initial plan had been Italian Formula 3, and she had posted some very competitive times in testing. However, an offer of a higher-profile series was too tempting for Vicky, and she accepted, despite having limited experience of racing at this level, or in a car this powerful. Her best finish was twelfth, at Monte Carlo. Mostly, she finished in the lower part of the top twenty, although she did manage a fourteenth at Hockenheim. Unfortunately, she crashed quite heavily in the second race, and was injured. She was unplaced in the championship.
Away from GP3, Vicky travelled to Austria for a guest appearance in the Lotus Ladies Cup, early in the season. This was her first experience of sportscar racing. At the end of the season, she travelled somewhat further, to India, for four rounds of the MRF Challenge, at Irungattukotai. She was eleventh, fifteenth, eighth and fifth, learning the track as the race weekend wore on.
2013 was the year she finally got a seat in a Formula Three car. She drove for RP Motorsport first of all, in the European F3 Open Winter Series, where she was fourth at Jerez. For the Open Series proper, she was with BVM Motorsport, alongside Mario Marasca. As had happened before, her season started quite badly, with a 23rd place at Paul Ricard, but she then rallied, and was fourth the next day. She did not manage to better her fourth place for the rest of the season, but she did obtain six more top-ten finishes, eighth and ninth places at Portimao, the Nürburgring, Jerez, Silverstone and Catalunya. She was tenth in the championship, one place behind her team-mate.
In 2014, Vicky decided to move to the States, in order to take her first steps on the Indycar ladder. She signed up for the Formula Star Mazda Pro Series, with JDC Motorsports. Again, she had a difficult start to the season, and was sent out of her first race, at St Petersburg, by a crash, which also put her out of the second race. At Barber, she was thirteenth in both of her races, out of twenty drivers. Sadly, this seems to have been her last involvement with the series.
In 2015, she returned to Europe, and moved into saloon-based competition. She did not race for most of the season, but in October, she took part in the Imola round of the Mitjet silhouette racing series. Part of her year was taken up with her participation in the Roadto24 contest, a TV-based challenge to find a driver for Le Mans.

She did not race in 2016, although she remained involved in motorsport as an instructor and as a brand ambassador.
(Image from http://www.toilef1.com/Semaine-des-femmes-en-sport-auto.html)


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