What’s up with the “Girls on Track – Karting Challenge

For all you young fans of racing – here is a “What’s up” with the “Girls on Track-Karting Challenge on and off the race track. After two rounds of in-country elimination the jury chose 14 candidates to further train and compete for three slots on the final race challenge at Le Mans in 2019.

The circuits chosen for the elimination races were set to the specifications set by the FIA. The races had a very technical character as the driving skills of the contestants had to be clearly demonstrated and measured by this same standard. Challenges included sharp turns, high speed sections, slaloms and rapid switch-backs. Negotiation of traffic cones set very close to one another and there were penalties for coming in contact with them.

Gosia Rdest, the Ambassador of the program, was there for the Girls during both elimination in Tychy on May 26-27, 2018 and in Rzeszów on August 12-13, 2019. Gosia, who started her own racing career at the Karting track being just 12 years old, fully understands the adrenaline rush, the unmatched feeling of being #1 on the podium both in Karting and now in speed racing. She has and is racing on race tracks all over the world from Daytona to Dubai. She also knows the feeling of despair of a race gone wrong, regardless of whose or what’s fault. She knows what it feels like when your hard work, training, sacrificing time with family and friends, all of it goes down the drain because of a mistake, bad weather, car failure etc. But she, also knows the most important thing. She knows how to get pass all of this, pick herself up, “get it together” and stand up and race and do her level best to race better than she has ever done before. She now that past mistakes are not to dwell on it, but to learn from them and she knows that the only competitor that we truly race against today is ourselves from the day before. So she was there to cheer and support and show that it is possible if you truly want it and are willing to work hard to get it.

But, Gosia also knows, from her own experience, that the iron will, talent and passion are not enough if the knowledge element is missing from the equation. And this is where the training program come in. All fourteen finalists will participate in a three month follow-up training program prepared by Gosia in cooperation with the Polish Motorsport Association (PZM) and a group of dedicated enthusiasts and pros of the motor sport. Participating in four program blocks, offered during a two-day weekend courses spanning over 3 month period, the Girls will learn “what it means and what it takes to be a successful race driver”. But they will learn more than that. as the curriculum includes: “the technical vocabulary of racing”; “Successful teamwork”; “interpersonal communication skills”; “self-perception; self-assessment, self-imaging and planning for success. There also will be a bloc on the Motorsport related professional opportunities, such as Motorsport journalism, personal managers and trainers of race drivers; dietitians and health advisers, technical support staff and more.

The training starts in September with a visit to the Polish Motor Championship Race in Poznań. Under Gosia’s supervision the Girls will visit the garages and the “PITS” and observe the work of the technical support staff and the training of the race drivers. The cherry on the cake will be a ride on the track with Gosia being seated on the next to the driver seat. So buckle up Girls and get your adrenaline flowing.
“We want to show to the Girls the “entire scene of the Motorsport” demonstrate to them that it comes as a complete set of tasks, skills, talents and activities. Even the best, most talented, race driver would not be able to race and win without the support of the best talents that work tirelessly behind the scene. Racing is a team-effort and there are plenty of opportunities to find a challenging career within the Motorsport not only as a race driver. For an example great communication and personal skills are needed for fundraising. And everyone knows that racing will not be capable to operate without the financial backing of patrons. We are very proud to have Ravenol as one of the sponsors of this training program. The Company has been involved in supporting women in Motorsport for some time now. Ravenol has sponsored me personally for the two last seasons. I am very thankful that Ravenol has agreed to extend our cooperation to include the Girls on Track-Karting Challenge project. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all the Girls. Yes, only three of the finalists will compete at Le Mans, but all of them will acquire portable skills to carry with them wherever their life may lead them and hopefully make long-lasting friendships built upon true and honest competition and teamwork.”

So yeah, that’s it for now. Keep your fingers crossed for the Girls and stay tuned for more info!

Dziewczyny na karty – Gosia Rdest

Gosia Rdest – utalentowana Polka jest ambasadorem programu The Girls On Track – Karting Challenge. Gosia także była zaangażowana w tegoroczny Dzień Kobiet zorganizowany przez nas – wywiad można przeczytać tutaj.

Wyścigi, adrenalina, prędkość, wyzwanie, siła, niekończące się treningi, samodyscyplina. Tylko ty i samochód. I maksymalna koncentracja, nieraz przez kilka godzin – serio, czy to wszystko jest dla dziewczyn?
Oczywiście! Jestem pewna, że właśnie taką odpowiedź uzyskalibyście od każdej z blisko setki nastolatek, które wzięły udział w pierwszych eliminacjach do programu the Girls on Track – Karting Challenge, którego mam zaszczyt być Ambasadorką.

Dwudniowe eliminacje miały miejsce w Tychach 26/27 maja, 2018. Przyciągnęły prawie 100 dziewczyn w wieku 13 – 18 lat, które chciały spróbować swoich sił i szczęścia na specjalnie przygotowanym na tę okazję torze kartingowym. Każda z dziewcząt miała trzy przejazdy. Pierwszy testowy, a następnie dwa na czas. To był naprawdę fantastyczny widok móc obserwować dziewczyny rywalizujące z takim zacięciem na naprawdę wysokim poziomie. Każda z nich dała z siebie wszystko, by okazać się najlepszą. Patrząc na nie, nie mogłam powstrzymać się od wspomnień dnia, w którym to mnie Tata zabrał po raz pierwszy na tor kartingowy. Miałam wtedy 12 lat i całkowicie połknęłam bakcyla. Wyścigi do dzisiaj są moją największą pasją i miłością.

Start eliminacji w Tychach

Tor był wymagający, by dać jury możliwość właściwej oceny umiejętności, predyspozycji i potencjału zawodniczek. Oglądanie współzawodnictwa dziewczyn było naprawdę ekscytujące. Ostatecznie, jury złożone z członków Polskiego Związku Motorowego (PZM), wybrało 8 finalistek. Musiało być to bardzo trudne zadanie, bo wszystkie dziewczyny dały z siebie wszystko. Kluczowym czynnikiem, decydującym o wyborze, był oczywiście czas przejazdu. Poza tym, brano pod uwagę generalne predyspozycje i wyczucie przestrzenne. Bardzo ważna była także „rozmowa kwalifikacyjna”, przeprowadzana zarówno w języku polskim, jak i angielskim. Celem było wyłonienie kandydatek, które naprawdę chcą się ścigać, wysoce zmotywowanych i zdeterminowanych, by motorsport odegrał w ich przyszłości dużą rolę. Poziom kandydatek był oczywiście zróżnicowany, ale ogólnie rzecz biorąc, określam go jako bardzo satysfakcjonujący. Można było zauważyć kilka dziewcząt, które wyróżniły się znacznie większą motywacją i potencjałem.

Następna runda eliminacji odbędzie się w sierpniu. Ostatecznym etapem programu jest finał, w którym kandydatki z ośmiu krajów europejskich zmierzą się na słynnym torze Le Mans. To niesamowita szansa. Znaleźć się tam wśród najlepszych z najlepszych z ośmiu państw; ścigać się z nimi; potencjalnie stanąć tam na podium – na absolutnie legendarnym Le Mans; i przywieźć do domu trofeum. Czy to samo w sobie nie jest wystarczającą nagrodą? Prawdopodobnie jest.

Uczestniczka The Girls On Track

Ale razem z Polskim Związkiem Motorowym wierzymy, że dziewczyny powinny zyskać dzięki temu programowi jeszcze więcej – możliwość rozwoju i szlifowania umiejętności, zintegrowania się z grupą podobnych sobie entuzjastek, które razem dowiedzą się więcej o świecie motorsportu. Wyścigi są moim życie, a moje życie jest wyścigiem. Doskonale zdaję sobie sprawę, że nie będę mogła się ścigać całe życie. Jak w każdym sporcie – patrząc długoterminowo – czas nie stoi po naszej stronie. Ale w tym momencie, wyścigi to całe moje życie i robię wszystko co w mojej mocy, by utrzymać taki stan przez jak najdłuższy czas.

Zaczęłam moją przygodę z motorsportem właśnie od kartingu. W 2011 roku, zdobyłam tytuł Mistrza Polski w Kartingu. Następnie reprezentowałam kraj w Polskiej Kadrze Narodowej za granicą. Dzisiaj ścigam się na torach wyścigowych na całym świecie, od Dubaju po Daytonę. W tym sezonie walczę o tytuł w Mistrzostwach Europy GT4. Jest to niesamowicie ekscytująca przygoda, okupiona niezliczonymi godzinami treningów, zarówno na torze jak i na siłowni, ciągłymi podróżami i czasami ciągnącymi się w nieskończoność godzinami oczekiwania na lotnisku. Zawsze stawiałam ściganie ponad wszystko inne. I nigdy nie zamieniłabym tego na nic innego.

Gosia Rdest stawiała pierwsze kroki w kartingu, 2009 rok

Czy idealnie odnajduję się na torze? Czy zrozumiałam naturę bestii? Czy umiem ją poskromić? Do pewnego stopnia tak, choć nadal zdarzają się niespodzianki i momenty, w których nerwy napinają się do granic możliwości. Jak to mówią, „na torze wyścigowym nie ma chwili nudy”. To jest właśnie to, co sprawia, że zmysły nieustannie są wyczulone, wciąż jesteś w maksymalnym skupieniu, a umiejętności u szczytu możliwości. Bo gdy siedzisz za kierownicą samochodu, każda setna sekundy ma znaczenie; i możesz wtedy liczyć tylko na siebie.

Czy pamiętam jeszcze jak to było stawiać pierwsze kroki w kartingu? Oczywiście! Tego się nie zapomina. Nadal pamiętam wszystkie pytania, które mnie nurtowały, a jedyną osobą, do której mogłam się z nimi zwrócić był mój Tata. Nieznana mi wtedy terminologia brzmiała tym bardziej magicznie, że podana w obcym języku. Te wszystkie rzeczy, które z czasem stały się naturalnymi odruchami i sprawami oczywistymi, wtedy takie dla mnie nie były. Miałam i nadal mam szczęście spotykać na swojej ścieżce wspaniałe osoby, które są w stanie mną pokierować i zawsze służą pomocą. Mam szansę ścigać się i uczyć od najlepszych. Przede wszystkim, w moim narożniku zawsze stał i stoi mój najwierniejszy kibic i najlepszy przyjaciel – mój Tata, który jest dla mnie największym wsparciem.

Ale czasami pojawiały się momenty samotności i niepewności, zwłaszcza na początku. To właśnie dlatego, we współpracy z PZM i grupą zaprzyjaźnionych ekspertów, opracowaliśmy 6-miesięczny program treningowy dla grupy finalistek. Składa się z sześciu dwudniowych warsztatów, podczas których dziewczęta nie tylko będą miały okazję poprawić praktyczne umiejętności za kierownicą, ale także poznają specjalistyczne słownictwo w języku angielskim i popracują nad komunikacją interpersonalną, by jak najlepiej móc komunikować się z zespołem i innymi zawodnikami. Przewidziano blok tematyczny o życiu po ściganiu, czyli o profesjach dla tych dziewcząt, które chciałyby związać swoje życie zawodowe z motorsportem, czy to jako dziennikarki sportowe, trenerki, specjalistki do spraw komunikacji w zespołach wyścigowych i nie tylko. Finalistki dowiedzą się o budowaniu relacji w zespole i jak pracować nad swoją motywacją i samodyscypliną. Najbardziej pragniemy, by uczestniczki nie tylko stały się najlepszymi kierowcami, ale przede wszystkim najlepszymi ludźmi.

Bardzo się cieszę, że PZM objął patronat nad akcją; że Rafał Sonik również został ambasadorem projektu, a rzesza innych znanych osób ze świata motorsportu i nie tylko, zaangażowała się we wsparcie i nagłośnienie akcji. Całym sercem wierzę, że jest to wspaniała okazja, by pokazać dziewczynom niezwykły świat motorpsortu i możliwości, jakie przed nimi stoją, by w tym świecie aktywnie uczestniczyć, jeśli nie jako kierowcy, to jako specjalistki w innym dziedzinach. I oczywiście będę trzymać mocno kciuki za naszą polską reprezentację podczas finału w Le Mans!

Więcej informacji: www.girlsontrack.pl

Girls on Track – The Karting Challenge – Gosia Rdest

Gosia Rdest – the talented driver is ambassador of The Girls On Track – Karting Challenge. Gosia also was involved in our International Woman’s day – read our interview with her.

Polish version: thepitcrewonline.net/2018/07/06/dziewczyny-na-karty-gosia-rdest/

Racing, adrenaline, speed, endurance, challenge, power, endless trainings, self-discipline. Only you and the car. And full focus for sometimes several hours? Truly, is all that for girls?
But of course! This would be, I am sure, the answer that you would hear from any of the almost hundred teenage girls whom participated in the first round of elimination for the Girls on Track- Karting challenge program, for which I have the honor to be the Ambassador.

The two day elimination was held in Tychy on May 26/27,2018.  It attracted almost 100 teenage girls wanting to try their skills and luck on the specially constructed karting track for the occasion karting track.  There were three challenge sessions. First, the test session and then two more for the best time score. It was spectacular to see the girls go and how fierce the competition was. Each of them truly did her level best to win.  Looking at them, I could not help, but to think back to the day when my Dad took me karting for the first time. I was 12 at the time and I got hooked on racing. And it is still my greatest passion.

Start of the qualifying in Tychy

The track was demanding to give the jury the opportunity to truly asses the abilities, skills and the potential of the contenders. It was exciting to watch the girls compete. The jury made up of members of the Polish Motorsport Association (PZM), they selected 8 finalists. It must have been tough because all the girls tried so hard. The key factor was the time of the ride.  Considered also were general disposition, spatial orientation and the overall potential of the contenders. There  was also one-on-one interview that was carried in both Polish and English which gave the PZM a better understanding of the drivers. The goal was to assess the self-motivation, dedication and determination to make the Motorsport a big part of their future. The level of performance was different, of course, but overall it was quite high. Several contenders demonstrated a significantly higher level of motivation, predispositions and the passion to win?

The next round of the elimination will be held in August. The final goal of the program is for the girls to compete with their counterparts from eight other countries in the  European Finals of the program at the famous Le Mans Race Track. This will be an incredible opportunity. To be there with the best of the best from eight other countries; to race with them and to potentially stand on the podium there – at the famous Le Mans; and to bring home the trophy. Would this not be grand? Would it not be enough? Perhaps, yes.

The participant of The Girls On Track

But together with the Polish Motorsport Association (PZM), we believe that there should be something more for the girls in this program that will help them polish and develop their skills, to bond with the group to learn more and to understand more about racing and motorsport.  Racing is my life and my life is racing. I know, of course, that I will not be able to race for the rest of my life. As with any sport ? when taking the long-term view ? time is not on our side. But for now, racing is my life and I will do my level best to keep it that way for long time.

I started my car racing adventure with Karting. In 2011, I won the Polish Championship Competition. Later I represented Poland as a member of the Poland?s National Team. Today, I race  on race tracks all over the world from Dubai to Daytona. This season I am racing in the GT4 European Championship. It has been, and it is an exciting journey, an adventure that was paid for by putting racing before and above other things; endless hours in training, both on the track and in the gym, countless airplane trips and, what sometimes seem as endless, times spent waiting at the airports. I would not give it up for anything in the world.

Gosia Rdest took the first steps in karting, 2009

  Do I know my way around the track now? Do I understand the nature of the beast?  Have I tamed it?  To some extent, yes, although there still are surprises and nerve wracking moments. As they say there is never a dull moment at the racetrack.  But, all in all, this is a part of the wonder, it keeps you focused and on your toes. It keeps your skills sharp and your attention where it needs to be. Because, when you are at it, there behind the wheel, every particle of every minute and every second matters; and you are all that you have to depend on.

  Do I still remember, what first steps in Karting was like? But, of course. It is something that you never forget.  I still remember all the questions that I wanted to ask and the only person I could turn to ask them was my Dad. The magic terminology that I did not know and then the same terminology even more magic because in a foreign language. The things that were there, and still are, to learn, internalize and make it a part of your natural reflexes and responses. The entire you, as the race driver, that you must develop and keep working on improving it day after day, minute after a minute, a race after a race.  I was and am lucky, I met some wonderful people who helped and guided me, had raced with the best and had the opportunity to learn from them, and most of all there always was and is my Dad, my best fan and best friend who is the backbone of my support.

But is does get lonely and scary, especially at the beginning.  Therefore, together with PZM and a group of expert-friends, we put a 6-month training program for the selected finalists.  The program consists of six two-days hands-on training sessions – during which the girls would not only have opportunities to improve their practical driving skills, but also acquire the critical technical English vocabulary and interpersonal communication skills to communicate with the support teams and to be able to converse freely with their counterparts. There will be  a workshop on life after racing, and the professional opportunities for those who would like to make Motorsport their professional life. Just like Motorsport journalism, becoming a personal trainer, or becoming  a specialist within the media and Motorsport branding campaigns and many more. They will also learn about team building, developing their personal and interpersonal skills and how to sustain self-motivation and self-discipline. We truly want the girls, not only to be best as race drivers, we want to help them be the best, at what is most important, to be best at being people.

I am very happy PZM has the overall patronage over the program. That Rafa? Sonic has also accepted the ambassador function for this program and that many other well-known persons from the Motorsport, moto-journalism and  other professional domains are involved in promoting this program. I believe, with all my heart, that this is a wonderful occasion to truly show the girls what Motorsport is and how many opportunities are in it even for those who do not decide to make racing their life but would love to stay professionally involved with the Motorsport. And of course, I will keep my fingers crossed for our Polish team to be the best, at Le Mans Race Track.

Gosia Rdest for International Women’s Day 2018

It’s safe to say that Gosia Rdest had a pretty good start to her 2018 season, winning her class at the 24 Hours of Dubai in early January behind the wheel of an Audi GT4 entered by Phoenix Racing. Then, she became one-half of the first ever all-female driver paring in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge when she raced an Audi R8 LMS GT4 alongside Ashley Freiberg at Daytona.
As part of our series of interviews for International Women’s Day here at ThePitCrewOnline, Gosia was kind enough to speak to us about her career, and also about how she sees the state of women’s motorsport at the moment.

Source: audi-mediacenter.com

Jenny Rowan: How did you become interested in motorsport when you were younger and what made you want to become a racing driver?
Gosia Rdest: It was a love from the first lap. Once when I was 12 my father took me to indoor karting and it was it. But I remember to also be so angry on that day – because my dad turned out to be faster than me. I wanted to beat him. Later on we made a bet – if I stand on a podium in an amateur karting tournament, he would buy a kart for me to train. And I won.
It’s common for future racing drivers to have parents or somebody else from family dedicated to motorsport who helps them have their first steps into that world. Not in my case. Nobody in my family has ever had anything to do with motorsport so I didn’t have that backgroud. I had to figure things out myself. That passion went out straight from me.

JR: In 2014 you made the jump from single-seaters to touring cars – what made you make the switch and what is your ultimate goal?
GR: Let’s be honest – motorsport is expensive and single seaters are super expensive. I couldn’t afford that. In lower single-seater series, Formula 4 or 3, it’s harder to gain sponsorship than in touring cars cups. Of course I still wanted to race so I switched to touring cars which turned out to be also great. The competition level is very high. My dream and my long-term goal is to drive in DTM. But also to stay in motorsport as long as I can because racing is simply the love of my life. When I will be finished with racing (which I hope will happen as late as possible), I would like to work with young drivers.

JR: How would you look back at your 2017 season?
GR: It was a year of many ups and downs. Two podiums in Hockenheim in Audi Sport TT Cup, 1st place in KIA Lotos Race in Hungaroring, signing a contract with Phoenix Racing, one of the most successful German teams, to race in GT4 European Series in 2018 – theese were definitely the bright moments to enjoy.
It was a year of being extremely busy as I entered two racing series – Audi Sport TT Cup and 5 rounds of ADAC TCR Germany. Meanwhile I managed to gain my Masters Degree in journalism and management in social media. I also became a project manager of my new business concept which is One Day Tour, offering unique tours around Poland.
Finally it was a year of struggle as I faced my worst injury so far – I broke a foot bone during qualifying in Zandvoort. The track was slippery after the rain and I hit a barrier. It was a bad luck. I had no idea it was that serious so I continued the racing weekend and was 4th in the race. On Monday a doctor put my leg in a plaster. I went through an extra-fast recovery process and didn’t miss any race. Maybe sounds crazy but that’s how I am. I never back down. Oh, and I gained a new skill – braking with my right leg.

Gosia Rdest, Philip Ellis, Finlay Hutchison

JR: Huge congratulations on getting your Masters Degree last year! How was it balancing the studying with your racing?
GR: Well, with my tense schedule it was not easy. Some drivers decide to stop their studies because of racing and I completely understand that decision. It was a big struggle to make that all work and I must admit I also managed thanks to my understanding teachers. Well, I had to do tons of additional work to recompense the time when I missed lectures and activities but I’m grateful they let me do this.

JR: You got your first taste of your 2018 car in Dubai in the last few days – how did it feel and what are your hopes for the rest of the year?
GR: Simply amazing. I couldn’t wish for a better start into the new season and a new car. First, I was very stressed, because I didn’t know how would I find myself in a stronger and rear-wheel drive car but after my first practice session I already knew we are going to become best frineds with my Audi R8 LMS GT4. The car is dynamic, fast, aggressive and oh-so enjoyable to drive. And it looks so sexy!
As for my hopes for the upcoming season it is to be fast, competitive and show better and better performance each round. I want to learn as much as I can. I think I stepped onto the right path with joining Phoenix Racing Junior Programme. We have planned together a development path for me, I’m going to test GT3 car later this year. And what’s also very important, the feeling between the team and me is very good. I can feel that strong support and it means a lot for a driver to find herself (or himself) confident and comfortable with the team.

JR: In October you appeared on stage at the Warsaw Moro Show as part of the FIA’s European Young Women Programme – what was that like to be a part of?
GR: I was not exactly a part of that FIA programme. I’m invited year by year to Warsaw Moto Show. It’s one of the biggest motorsport events in Poland. But I strongly support any initiative which encourages girls to step into the world of motorsport. I’m always willing to involve in any action. Lately I was invited by Audi America to team up with Ashley Freiberg in one car in the IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge at Daytona as a part of #DriveProgress campaign. The aim is to promote women in motorsport. I was proud to take part.

JR: How would you sum up the state of women’s motorsport? There’s lots of female talent around at the moment, including yourself, so do you think things are improving?
GR: I believe in equality at any field and I’m so happy that nowadays girls get more opportunities. Racing is still and will long be a sport dominated by men and that’s why I think it’s especially important for a young girl to get that helpful hand from inside and get the message “you are welcome here”. Not the message “you don’t suit here, go back to girlish stuff” what I personally faced many times, mostly when I was starting my career, not even from drivers but from their dads.
There’s still a lot to be done. Last year I had a little unpleasant episode. We were at the drivers briefing before a race, forty men, two women in a room, discussing the incidents from the last race showed on a screen. There were quite a few and no one commented but when it came to my incident some old driver said in irreverent tone “ah but it’s a girl”. Like it was obvious I’m a girl so I can’t drive. Maybe it was supposed to be funny but I felt like everybody was laughing at me. Of course it was just a silly unpleasant episode but it’s really not OK if you hear such things too often. I mean, yes I’m a girl, but still manage to compete with everybody in the room on the equal rules. I know racing is a tough game and I’m totally OK with that but I’m not OK with disrespectful comments.
But you cannot let such small things go to your head and mess up with your confidence. I know it but I also know that being a girl in a men’s world can be sometimes hard. That’s why I’m always willing to share that message with any girl who wants to race – “you are welcome here”.

But answering your question, generally yes I think things are improving. Society mindset is changing for the better. I’m very happy to see more and more lady racers. I was used to be the only female diver on the grid but in Audi Sport TT Cup 2017 I had two female competitors. The changing room got a little bit crowdy but it was great.

And I’m still waiting for a grid boy.

JR: Do you have any advice for young girls trying to pursue a career in motorsport?
GR: Do not let anyone talk you out of your passion. If you really feel it, if you love it, do it. When you’re fast, you’ll leave bad talkers behind. But be prepared for a hard work because that’s what any professional sport is – a hard work indeed. And motorsport is a really tough sport so be prepared to it and don’t expect any special treatment. I think when drivers put helmets on, the sex doesn’t really matter. You have to show you’re a fighter there but also show a strong character out of the track.

Ah, and don’t forget to have fun!