Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Laura Kraihamer

Laura Kraihamer is an Austrian driver who races a KTM X-Bow around Europe.

Her first season was 2012, and she was twelfth in the Rookie standings of the KTM X-Bow Battle series, with best finishes of sixth place. This is a one-make championship for KTM’s lightweight sportscar.

Despite running a full season in 2013, and maintaining her best finish, she was only 23rd in the X-Bow Battle.

In 2014, she was a much improved driver. She was second in the Sprint standings of the championship, with one win and four second places. Driving with Uwe Schmidt, she won the Endurance class of the X-Bow championship.

This year, she started to explore her options and tested cars for the FIA GT3 series and the VLN. She drove a BMW Z4 at the Nordschleife but it would not be for a couple of years that she actually competed there.

In 2015, she was part of a televised challenge, the "Race to 24", for drivers competing for a race seat in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016. Twenty-four aspiring racers took part. This was in addition to another season in the X-Bow; she was seventh in the Battle series and second in the Endurance championship, with Uwe Schmidt. They were racing as “Team Eat The Ball”.

2016 was another year with KTM, but in the European GT4 Championship. She was eighteenth in the Pro class, after a string of lower top-ten finishes. Her team-mate was Jamie Vandenbalck. She was racing for the Reiter Engineering team and they also entered her in three rounds of the X-Bow Battle series. She was second once and third once and was the best of six Reiter drivers.

She had another season in the European GT4 championship in 2017, driving the X-Bow for the Reiter team. Her car was the best-performing Reiter entry, with third places at the Red Bull Ring and the Nürburgring. She was thirteenth in the championship.

She was also thirteenth in the X-Bow Battle series. She helped her team to seventh in the Team standings.

In 2018, she contested another European GT4 Championship with Team True, another KTM/Reiter-affiliated team. She shared her car with Reinhard Kofler. Overall, she secured one eighth place, at Zolder. She was 30th and 26th at Brands Hatch and did not finish the first Zolder race. Her best results came at the Red Bull Ring in the Central European GR4 Cup: a second and third in the Pro-Am class.

Team True also entered a car in the 2018 Nürburgring 24 Hours. Laura was part of an all-female team in an X-Bow, with Naomi Schiff, Rahel Frey and Lena Strycek. They finished in 39th place, second in the Cup X class.

True entered the ADAC GT4 championship in 2020, with Laura and Reinhard Kofler as its driver pair. It was a season of highs and lows, with an outright win at Oschersleben the biggest highlight. Unreliability issues meant that Laura was unable to maintain her momentum, although she did manage a third at Zandvoort. She was tenth in the championship.

A different True team was ninth in the 24 Hours of Catalunya, but the X-Bow did not get to the end of the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Laura joined Carrie Schreiner in the Girls Only Volkswagen Golf for a round of the VLN mid-season and finished second in class.

Laura is from a motorsport family; her brother Dominik also races sportscars.

She has an official FIA ranking of Silver.

(Image copyright european.gt4series.com)

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Carrie Schreiner

Carrie Schreiner started racing GT cars in 2017, after some years of single-seater racing. She won the Pro-Am class of the Middle East Lamborghini Super Trofeo in early 2018.

Carrie is a former karter with two German championships under her belt. She took her first steps in senior motorsport when she tested a Formula 4 car in the UK at the end of 2014, with a view to competing in the Winter Series. She did not take up the drive.

In 2015, she raced in the German ADAC Formula 4 championship. Her best results were two 15th places, at Hockenheim and Oschersleben. She was 44th in the championship, and was the best of the three female drivers taking part this year.

She managed to race in both British and German F4 in 2016, performing much better in the UK. She managed one fourth place, at Thruxton, and two other top-tens, leaving her 17th in the championship. Her team in the UK was Double R Racing.

She struggled in the German series. She only managed to get in the top twenty at Hockenheim, in the last meeting of the season, and was unplaced in the championship.

In 2017, she switched from small single-seaters to big sportscars, spending much of the year racing a Lamborghini Huracan in the European and Asian Super Trofeo. She was second in the Pro division of the Middle East championship, driving for the FFF Lamborghini Squadra Corse with Richard Goddard. Their best overall finishes were two fifth places at Chang.

In the European Trofeo, she drove for Konrad Motorsport, competing in both the Pro and Am classes at different times. Her Pro drives were at Silverstone and yielded a sixth and seventh place. Later, she drove as an amateur in the Nürburgring and Spa rounds, scoring a fifth place in each.

She drove for FFF in the World Finals, and finished ninth and eighth in the Am class, with one fastest lap.

Back home, she also tried out an Audi R8 LMS in the DMV Gran Turismo Touring Car Cup. She was third in her second race at Hockenheim.

For 2018, she switched to the Konrad team for the Middle East Lamborghini Trofeo, driving with Axcil Jeffries who had been her rival in 2017. It was a good partnership; Carrie ended the winter season as the Pro-Am champion, with three wins and two second places. Her best overall results were two second places, at Dubai and Yas Marina. Pro-Am is the biggest class in the championship.

She also returned the Audi R8 and the DMV Cup, racing in Class 1. The first two rounds at Hockenheim gave her a third and her first win in the series. The second races of the season were held at Dijon and she scored another win and a second place with co-driver Kevin Arnold. Her wins came from pole positions and she set fastest laps in the process.

In 2018, she was also announced as an official member of the Lamborghini junior racing squad. She contested the 2018 European Super Trofeo with Konrad, picking up a best finish of fourth at Vallelunga. Earlier in the year, she had entered the Middle East Trofeo, winning the Pro-Am class three times on the way to a class championship.

Despite her Lamborghini involvement, much of 2018 was spent in the DMV Gran Turismo Touring Car Cup, based in Germany. Carrie drove an Audi R8 with Fabian Plentz and won Class 1 outright, scoring victories in four races and only finishing off the podium once.

Carrie decided against qualifying for the 2019 W Series to concentrate on racing in the VLN with an all-female team, Girls Only. This endeavour included female mechanics, managers and media reps. The WS Racing Girls Only Volkswagen Golf did two rounds of the VLN, driven by Carrie, with eith Jasmin Preisig and Ronja Assmann or Laura Kraihamer and Petra Baecker. They earned two second places in the SP3T class but did not finish the Nurburgring 24 Hours due to mechanical problems.

The rest of Carrie's year was spent racing an Audi R8 again. She did most of the ADAC GT Masters with Dennis Marschall, picking up a third place at Hockenheim during a somewhat difficult season. They were 24th overall. Driving solo in the same HCB Rutronik-run car, Carrie fared better in the DMV Dunlop 60 championship, finishing fifth from pole in her first race at Hockenheim, her first of four top-five finishes. Later in the season she switched to the GT Touring Car Cup which is part of the same championship with Marco Seefried. They were second at Hockenheim and fourth twice at Zolder.

Girls Only is set to race again in 2020.

(Image copyright Carrie Schreiner)

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: Canada

Stephanie Ruys de Perez

Female drivers have been a regular fixture in the Canadian Touring Car Championship during the past few years. Canada has produced a number of other women racers such as Monique Proulx, but it is the CTCC that seems to be their favoured destination at the moment.

Demi Chalkias - Canadian driver who competes in the Pirelli GT Sprint championship. She won the GT4 class of the series in 2018, driving a BMW E36. She has also competed in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in the same car, winning races at Mosport, Shannonville and Calabogie. She is from a motorsport background but did not initially try to race herself. She dropped out of a medical degree to work in the automotive world, having been a triathlete earlier in her career.

Crystel Charest - raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2016 and 2017. Her car was a Mini Cooper run by Octane Racing both times. Her best result came in 2016: a fourth place at Trois-Rivieres. Previously, and alongside her CTCC events, she raced the Mini in the Super Production Challenge in Canada. She was a career-best sixth in the 2017 championship, after an eleventh place in 2016 and twelfth in 2015. She only managed one appearance in the series in 2018, at Trois-Rivieres. She did not finish the first race and could not start the second. Crystel has been working as a dentist in Quebec since 1992.

Marie-France Gagné – raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014. She drove a Mini Cooper in the Touring class. It was her first season in the series, and she acquitted herself well, with a best finish of sixth, and tenth in the 22-driver Touring class. She was competing with her husband, Éric Lacouture, as a team-mate. They are both dentists.

Nathalie Hénault – raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2014, after several years of regional and club competition. She was racing in the Super class, and her car was a Subaru WRX. Right from the first round, she was on the pace, finishing eighth. Her best finishes were a pair of third places, both at Calabogie. She was fifth in the championship, and probably would have been higher without a string of DNFs near the end of the season. A second season of the CTCC ended quite similarly in 2015; Nathalie was more consistent, and had a better finishing record, and was fifth again, with a best finish of fifth at Shannonville. Her car was the Impreza. She raced in the Subaru in at least some rounds of the GT Challenge in 2016. In 2017, she was third in the Super Touring class of the CTCC, driving the Impreza. She scored two seconds and two third places.

Nicole Martin-Favreau - Quebecois driver who raced in Canada in the 1960s and possibly into the early 1970s. She mostly raced in the sedan categories, often against Francois Favreau, whom she married in 1966. Her cars included a Lotus Cortina and a Shelby Mustang which she used in Production Sports races in 1965. The Cortina was probably her most successful car and she raced it from 1966 onwards. Among her results were a fourth and fifth place at Mont-Tremblant in the 1967 Quebec Group B Sedan series. She started an all-female racing team in 1968, in the Quebec Formula B single-seater championship, although details of this are hard to find.

Lindsay Rice - raced in the CTCC in 2017. She scored two fifth places in the GT Sport class at Mosport, but the rest of her part-season was affected by a string of DNFs and a non-start. She had attempted to make her CTCC debut at Trois-Rivieres in 2016, but was unable to start. Her usual car is a Porsche 911, which she also used in club racing in 2016. She was more successful there. As well as racing the Porsche, she did some Nissan Micra Cup races in 2016, at Mosport. In 2018, she drove a different car, an Audi RS3 LMS, but only entered one race at Mosport, finishing sixth. She completed most of the 2019 championship in the Audi, finishing fifth in the TCR class with five top-tens, the best of these being a fifth at Calabogie. Lindsay does not have a motorsport background and did not start competing until she was in her mid-twenties.

Stephanie Ruys de Perez – raced saloons in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, she was fourteenth in the Sanair Trans-Am race, in a Mini Cooper. She is best known for racing for the Comstock team, one of the first commercially sponsored racing teams. She also raced a Sunbeam Imp in 1966. Among her other cars was a Chevrolet Camaro. More detailed information about her career is not forthcoming, although she was quite famous at the time, appearing on TV adverts.

Ashley Sahakian - raced in the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2017. This was her rookie year in the series. She drove a Ford Mustang and was fourth in the GT Sport class, two places below her team-mate and brother, Chris Sahakian. Ashley’s best finish was third, at Mirabel. She made some more appearances in the Mustang in 2018, earning a best finish of seventh at Mirabel. Prior to the CTCC, she did part-seasons in the Nissan Micra Cup in 2015 and 2016. She was not among the front-runners but did improve in her second year. As well as motor racing, she plays football and is a former model.

(Image copyright Getty Images)

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Andrea Robertson

Andrea (left) with her Robertson Racing team-mates at Le Mans in 2011

Andrea Robertson is an American driver who raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2011, driving a Ford GT-R MkVIII. Between 2007 and 2011, she also raced in the American Le Mans Series.

She had been a motorsport fan from a young age and was a regular at her local drag strip, where Shirley Muldowney was among the drivers she watched.

Her career path was based around aviation. She worked as an air traffic controller and met David Robertson, a pilot. They were a couple for many years before they married in 2004.

In 2007, Andrea entered three rounds of the American Le Mans Series in a Robertson Racing Panoz Esperante. Her only finish was a 23rd place at Laguna Seca. Her usual team-mates were her husband David and David Murry. The couple teamed up with Arie Luyendyk Jr for the Sebring 12 Hours but the car’s engine failed after 64 laps.

This was both Robertsons’ first foray into international-level sportscar racing. Andrea had won two local SCCA championships for Ford cars (Spec Racer) between 1999 and 2003, but had never done anything above SCCA level. They ran a team with no official manufacturer assistance. Dick Barbour did provide some help in the early stages.

In 2008, the team went back to Ford power and were now equipped with a GT-R. The car had been developed by Kevin Doran and worked on by the Robertson team themselves. They took on eight rounds. Their best finish was 19th at Detroit, although their finishing record was much improved with only three non-finishes. They were rather down on pace, but improving slowly.

In 2009 and 2010, the same team continued to drive in the ALMS, still in the Ford. 2009 started with their best Sebring run ever. The Robertsons and Murry were fourteenth overall and seventh in class. They were then eleventh at St Petersburg. The Road America race was also a good showing for them; they were 15th and within five laps of the winners. At the end of the season, Andrea did her first overseas race, entering the Okayama round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Japan.

2010 was a slightly shorter season but the team continued to put in solid results. The best of these was a 22nd place in the Sebring 12 Hours.

In 2011, Andrea drove at Le Mans, and was third in the GTE Am class. Andrea and David’s finish was a first for a husband and wife team and proved popular. They were 26th overall.

The team also entered the American Le Mans Series, and was 20th in the GT class after six races.

The Ford GT was retired after the 2011 season. Andrea also retired from driving duties. Between then and 2016, the team ran cars for other drivers in the ALMS and in local championships.

(Image from crash.net)