The young female drivers in the W Series were in Zolder this weekend, where they contested their first race outside Germany. After the successful debut at the Hockenheimring, the young drivers, at the wheel of their 270-hp Formula racers, put on a display of exciting and rapid motorsport at the 4.003-metre racetrack in Belgium. The W Series is a new all-woman championship launched this season, which features 20 drivers looking to take the next step on their way to a career as a professional racing driver on the race tyres supplied by exclusive partner Hankook.
Motor racing has always been very close to Naomi Schiff’s heart. Born in Belgium, raised in South Africa and now living in Bavaria, she first took her place in a kart at the age of eleven and it was love at first sight. From then on, she practiced as often as possible with her father. “My dad supported me from the word go and really helped me. However, when I became faster than he was on the track, he sold his kart and encouraged me from the sidelines. It was clear to me from day one that my future lay in the cockpit of a racing car, even though that is rather unrealistic for a girl,” explains the young driver, whose role model is a certain Lewis Hamilton.
In 2010, Schiff raced in the Formula VW series in South Africa. Her greatest success came four years later, when she won the Clio Cup Asia championship. After taking part in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and other races in 2018, she applied for the newly-launched W Series. Schiff came through against more than 50 applicants to qualify for the all-woman racing format. “The W Series is a great opportunity to attract women to motorsport and to inspire them. Many people think that motor racing is just for men. With our series, we want to change their preconceptions and improve the ratio of women to men in motorsport.”
The 25-year-old has always got on well with her male counterparts throughout her career to this point. As a child, she was used to taking on the boys on a daily basis. As such, she is very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the other sex. “Men are simply more aggressive on the track. However, we drive more intelligently. Despite these different approaches, you can still drive at the same level and be successful. Personally, I am more of a tactician and prefer to pick up points, rather than possibly crash out as a result of an unnecessarily risky manoeuvre. However, I have decided to be more aggressive this season.”
The Ventus Race supplied by exclusive tyre partner Hankook will offer Schiff optimal support in this undertaking. With its high degree of consistency, it offers all the drivers in the W Series the opportunity to focus fully on the race and their own development. Naomi Schiff: “The Hankook race tyre is forgiving of some mistakes and is consistently quick over long distances. The window, in which to set good lap times, is very large, as the Hankook tyre hardly suffers any wearing. As such, I can focus on the race and the opposition.”
Schiff’s goal for the current season is a place in the top ten. She then intends to push on next year and challenge for the W Series title. “I want to learn all about the car, the tyres and the different racetracks in this first year, and to pursue my dream of earning my living as a professional racing driver in the future. That is a long road, particularly for women. However, I am optimistic that it is possible with a platform like the W Series.”