Fabienne Lanz Interview

Fabienne is quite the lady racer. Having achieved magnificent things in karting both on the local and international scene, she has started her career in circuit racing. One to watch for the future and she will be impressing not just here in South Africa but expect news of her breaking into international racing in the near future.

The whole Lanz family has become a legacy within local and international motorsport with Fabienne’s father Peter Lanz a well-known ex-racer and motorsport administrator. He currently resides in Dubai and personally I can say South African motorsport misses his presence.

Did it help your racing career coming from a racing family?

Yes I think so. My dad has a passion for motorsport and it carried over to me and I think it helps a lot as we are both in the same game.

You started karting at a young age, 9. Did you just feel at home in a kart from the start?

Yes, from the moment I got into the rental Kart I was hooked and still love it just the same  I think every person has something in their life where they feel absolutely fully at home, and motor racing is mine.

What has it been like karting competitively in Italy?

It has been the best experience for me. Every time I get the opportunity to participate there I learn so much. The level of competition is extremely high and I am a person who loves challenges and wherever there is the most and toughest, I am there, because to be the best you have to beat the best.

What was it like competing in the USA in 2003? You did extremely well winning 2/3 events. You also did well in the local Rotax series coming 4th overall. What for you was it like competing overseas and doing well locally at such a young age?

 

This was my first international event I raced in. It was a great experience to be able to have a different scenery and situation, although one thing remains the same and that is the goal to win 

That was quite an emotional year as we were in contention of winning the South African title and unfortunately my nose cone got ripped of by a competitor in the warm up lap and I had to come into the pits to fit another and finished last in one of the heats. But it made me stronger to learn to accept the disappointments and move forward from them.

2005 saw you become the first lady karter to qualify for the Grand Finals at the Rotax World Grand Final in Spain. What was this experience like and being the first lady karter to accomplish this, did it add extra pressure?

It was a big accomplishment and I am very grateful. Of course the team also has to get credit because they worked really hard to get me to the final. This was also my first world final I participated at so I had a lot of pressure from a lot of different aspects, not only being the lady racer. I normally perform better the more the pressure there is as I just focus more and more and I take one step, heat per heat at a time. I also channel out all the possible outside pressure, which helps a lot as I can focus on one thing and that is to get my kart up to speed and of course doing my job on the race track.

2007 was a very special year for you, coming 5th at the Vortex Super Rox World Grand Final in Italy, becoming the first lady karter to do so and receiving your Protea colours. These must’ve been proud moments for you?

That podium finish is one of the biggest highlights in my career. Yes it is a very special moment for me as it was my first World Final in the Super Rok and the team worked so well together and it all came together. The nice thing about this event was that it was a team effort. Everyone in the team deserves the credit for the 5th place. Receiving the Protea colours was very awesome as I had been working quite a while to get them.

2008 saw you come second in the South African Championship, what was this season like, especially coming so close to being champion?

We did a lot of development that year so some races in the championship did not go according to plan. But it all boiled down to the last event of the year and we put all our experiences of the year into that event and yes, finished 2nd in South Africa. We did win our Region’s Championship, which is also great. Racing against the SA number one Michael Stephen was challenging, yet very good as I learnt a lot of strategic racing, not just straight out pace.

2009 you were on pole for the Dubai leg of the Nivea 24 Hour Endurance series, another first for a female driver achievement for you. What is the challenge in running the endurance kart races compared to the shorter races?

I find the biggest challenge is to try and have a consistent pace that is almost the fastest lap every lap of the stint, without overdriving the kart and causing too much tyre wear. You also need to preserve your energy as 20 hours later the body starts getting tired.

You are involved with Women In Motorsport (WIM), for you what’s the importance of being involved with WIM?

I think it’s great to create awareness to the public that women are in this sport and they can race just as good as the men if not better. I think also to help the new women in the sport is also important as sponsors are involved and it’s tough to really give and get so that both parties are happy.

What is the next step in your racing career?

I have started racing a Golf in the Coastal Championship. I have done 2 races so far and have won my class twice, which is awesome! The team, Stephen2Racing, I am in is helping me a lot in teaching me how to race the car,  as a front wheel drive car is so different to a rear wheel drive kart that has no differential. I have a great teammate who is top of the field so it’s a great step for me. My Marketing team is putting in a great deal of effort for me to race in the National scene and we are also busy looking into some international racing.

 

Where are you going, what are your racing aspirations?

Motorsport has so many avenues to follow. I am not too picky as to only go one route. I always say as long as I am moving forward and not staying at the same level. I am aiming at international racing. Single seaters are definitely a big thing on my list. I had the opportunity to try out a sports car, which I quite enjoyed as well.  And I absolutely love tin top racing! So GT3 racing is also on the cards.

Who are and were your racing inspirations?

I am sure many would say the same; my dad was and still is a great inspiration. I think Danica Patrick is also one from the woman’s aspect as she is doing a great job for the ladies out there. I am very inspired by strong willed athletes like Lance Armstrong and Michael Schumacher. My favourite quote from Schumacher is: “I will not give up until it is mathematically impossible to solve”

In your racing career what has been your proudest moment?

I am so grateful to say I have so many special moments even if they are not the best to others, the smallest things can be so great for me. I almost missed a qualifying heat at the world final because my engine mounting broke. We made it to the grid and raced, I finished on the podium that heat. So that would be such a proud moment because it’s where we came from and what we went through to get there. I got the biggest goose bumps on the podium at the 2007 World Final when we finished 5th. Another proud moment was when we finished 2nd in the South African Rotax Max Challenge Series. I broke my arm that year in an accident and had a few collisions from being in the wrong place at the wrong time and in the end one driver who was in contention of beating me had a kart failure.  I also beat another driver, who was also in contention of finishing 2nd, in the last heat of the championship. So basically when it counted most, it came together. I look at an achievement from beginning through all the challenges to the victory in the end.

 

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