Friday, 28 October 2016

Renee Gracie


Renee in 2016

Renee Gracie currently races in V8 Supercars in Australia.

She was quite sporty from an early age. In common with many other speedqueens, she was initially drawn towards horses. She only got interested in motorsport after trying karting on holiday, in 2008.

She began her senior career in 2012, aged 17, in Aussie Racing Cars, after three years of karting. She drove a Yamaha-engined Commodore in four rounds.

In 2013, she entered the Australian Porsche Carerra Cup, a first for a female driver. She was supported by the “Cool Driver” youth development programme run by Fujitsu, who sponsored her, and had been supporting her for the last two years. In her first season, she held her own in a large field (the winner was Craig Baird), and was 19th overall.

In 2014, she had a second season in the Porsche Cup. She got into the top ten five times, and had a best finish of sixth, at Phillip Island. She was 15th overall. In addition to this, she was one of only two drivers to have a 100% finishing record, the other being Craig Baird.

In 2015, she moved into V8 Supercars, driving a Ford Falcon for Paul Morris’s team, in the Dunlop development series. Her best finish was twelfth, at Townsville. Towards the end of the season, she did improve: her best meeting overall was the last one, at Sydney Motorsport Park, where she was thirteenth and fourteenth.

She also gained a lot of attention for her entry into the Bathurst 1000 with Simona de Silvestro, the first all-female team for many years. The team was run by Prodrive Australia, and they were 21st in their "Supergirls" Ford Falcon, after an accident by Renee lost them a lot of time.   

A second season in the Dunlop series followed in 2016, still with Paul Morris Motorsport and driving the Falcon. She repeated her twelfth place best-finish at Adelaide and Sandown. It was another challenging season, but she was a steady finisher, and was 21st in the championship, just behind the other female driver in the series, Chelsea Angelo in her Dragon Racing Holden Commodore. Her car was outclassed by the newer models on the grid and it was hard to keep on the pace. Before the end of the season, Renee made the decision to leave Paul Morris Motorsport, in order to find a new deal and concentrate on her wildcard entry into the Bathurst 1000.

Renee teamed up once more with Simona de Silvestro for the Bathurst 1000. This time, they were driving a Nissan Altima for the Australian Nissan team. They raced as the “Harvey Norman Supergirls”, and were fourteenth overall.  Their race was free of major incident in a race of high attrition.

Renee’s long-term aim is to compete full-time as a professional driver. In 2017, she will be racing in the Supercar Dunlop Series for the Caltex team.

(Image from http://www.speedcafe.com/)

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