Jun 05, 2012
Photo courtesy of Mario Signore

Professional Race Car Driver Shea Holbrook on Setting Records and Paving the Way for Female Athletes

The 22-year-old opens up about what it’s like to compete against all guys—and come out on top.

By Sierra Tishgart

“I don’t have the traditional story; I didn’t grow up in the motorsports world. I was a nationally ranked competitive water-skier, and I ended up trading in a pair of water skis for a pair of wheels when I was fifteen. When my dad went to get his racing license, I joined him. I eventually got my driving club license, and in 2010, I debuted my professional career. In 2011, I won my first professional race as an underdog in a car I had not raced in prior to that weekend. I became the first female to ever win a touring car event at the Long Beach Grand Prix.”

“I’m the only female in my series, so I’m competing against all guys. People always ask how I’m treated as a minority in a male-dominated industry. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not so great. I think you either love us or you hate us—there’s not much in between. Because I’m a female race car driver, I feel like I have to prove myself a little bit more than the average male driver. People put more of a liability on women because there are just not that many of us. If we don’t do well at one race, it’s like we’re not good enough, and that’s just not the case. I hope that I can help change that perception, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

“In my mind, this is one of the only sports where men and women can go head to head, and your physical strength and gender do not necessarily matter. There are a lot of components that make a winning driver.”

For more on this slideshow story visit Teen Vogue