Affliction Interview with Pirelli World Challenge Driver Shea Holbrook:
FM: Well Shea, I
must say it is an honor to feature one of the most up and coming female drivers
in the PWC. Congratulations on fourth place in the Touring Car Championship.
Are you happy with your performance? What do you think could have gotten you in
the top 3?
SH:Well thanks! I
appreciate the opportunity for be featured so let’s have fun with this thing!
Looking back at the 2012 season, I couldn’t be happier with our performances
and decisions we made to further my career and the team’s future. This was the
first year I was able to get ample testing in with proper coaching and data
downloads which was a direct reflection of my performance on race weekends.
It’s hard to identify what I thought held us back from a Top 3 finish because I
think we did an fantastic job being that we’re competing against teams with
years of experience. The Pirelli World Challenge races are multi-class 50
minute sprint races with unique F1 style standing starts. The nature of these
races is to push 10-tenths for the full length of the race. There were times
when I wished I risked more to gain or defend a position and this year in particular
was difficult to compete against the turbo powered touring cars. We always had
a very solid performance in my 2012 Honda Civic Si because the car is dynamic,
reliable and has great cornering capabilities. Although, there were many times
when I was side-by-side with a turbo powered car watching them pull away making
it difficult to make an efficient pass. It can be difficult to find proper
parity between classes but I do believe that if we got all touring cars a bit
closer in speed ratios we would of had more of a shot at finishing in the Top
3. Also, the Mid Ohio race we fell back in points when we finished outside on
the Top 10 which wasn’t great for our fight in the championship.
FM: What are your
plans for the off-season? How excited are you about 2013 and what the racing
season has in store for you?
SH: So far I’ve
kept fairly busy since the end of the season. I competed in an adventure rally
called the Fireball Run that consisted of 8 days, through 14 cities, and over
2,500 miles for the sole purpose to help aid in the recovery of missing
children. Eighty people, forty teams went head-to-head competing for points in
which we had to get from point A to point B based off of clues. Kind of like a
scavenger hunt but only for grownups! And I’m proud to say my partner and I won
our class although, we’re still looking for the child we represented, Donald
Jackson. I’m also staying busy doing some off-season work for my partners and
doing a little coaching with Cadillac V-Lab. For many drivers, the off-season is
hard to continue getting proper seat-time. I hope to get back in the seat as
much as possible but intend on training my hardest during the off-season to
prepare for 2013. And speaking of 2013 I’m excited to see what next season has
in store for me! I’m in the middle making plans to continue my pursuit as a
competitive racing driver.
FM: You are
involved in several charities and have raised significant money, talk about why
this is important to you personally.
SH: My charity
involvement is pretty simple to understand, I enjoy helping people and I work
closely with a non-profit called Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy which
directly benefits Duchenne muscular dystrophy because as it affects my family.
I lost a cousin and currently have a younger cousin that has Duchenne. Duchenne
is the only fatal form of MD typically affecting young males and can be
genetically passed or spontaneous, so in other words, it can happen to any
little boy. When my cousin Matthew passed away I was determined to help in any
way I could, and because I’m not a scientist finding a cure, I knew I could
help in raising awareness and funds. When I started racing with Pirelli World
Challenge in 2010, I began inviting Duchenne families out to races. The way I
see it is, what little boy doesn’t love race cars and unfortunately once these
boys get their first wheel chair it makes everything just a bit harder to get
out and about. I try to give them an experience the family can remember for a
FM: You have
signed with TrueCar for the 2013 Touring Car season, what are your driving
aspirations beyond that?
SH: Well, I have
very high aspirations and I realize I’m on my first step to reaching my
ultimate goals. At the end of the day, I just want to be behind a wheel racing
something. But my ultimate goal is to be racing in the American Le Mans Series
in the GT class as a factory driver. I’d also be thrilled to have the
opportunity to run in the V8 Supercars Series at least a few times in my
FM: If someone
offered you the chance to drive in any type of racing what would you choose?
NASCAR, F1,IndyCar, WRC, ALMS?
SH: All… haha!
But if someone gave me the opportunity to run right now in ALMS, I’d absolutely
FM: Do you watch
other racing disciplines? What are your favorites? Who are your favorite
SH: I keep up
with all forms of racing but in particular, ALMS, IndyCar, and V8 Supercars.
There are many characteristics of drivers that I admire and to name a few:
Ayrton Senna, Patrick Long, Randy Pobst, Andy Pilgrim, Dan Wheldon, Marcos
Ambrose, and Katherine Legge.
FM: What is your
favorite track that you race on? What is your favorite track in the world?
SH: Ha! I always
say every track is my favorite simply because I love to race. But this year
Mosport was my favorite. We had success there when we were on podium twice and
as they say, “If you’re going to grow a pair it’s there.” Mosport is fast,
dangerous and demands respect. The pinnacle sportscar endurance race in the
world is the 24 Hours of Le Mans therefore, Le Mans is my favorite race in the
world and I aspire to race multiple times in it in my career.
FM: What do you
find is the biggest challenge as a woman in racing?
SH: Racing is one
of the only sports where men and women can compete on an equal playing field.
Although, I have personal encountered times where because I’m a female driver I
wasn’t taken as seriously, people didn’t want to believe in my passion and
determination to succeed as a racing driver and sponsorship didn’t come easily.
Some think that we (women) have an up in the industry. I guess you could say
that’s true because we’re not the norm, we’re the minority therefore the media
gravitates to us. But in my honest opinion, being a female doesn’t help me
anymore than if I was a male. I think it’s harder for women to excel in the
industry because people expect more of them. If a female driver is running in a
competitive series and finishes mid-pack she’s looked at as, “not that good.”
If a female driver doesn’t win she’s looked at as, “not that good.” Therefore,
I do think people put higher expectations on female drivers simply because
we’re not the norm and it’s easy to spot us out. I personally think the hardest
part of being a woman in racing is being looked at as a driver first, and a
FM: If you could
change one thing in racing what would it be?
SH: The cost to
go racing but let’s face it, that’s never going to happen.