April 23, 2021 By C! Magazine Staff Words by Bea Javate

From Le Mans ‘66 to Formula 1

A young girl’s introduction to the world of motorsport

While Carroll Shelby was narrating, on the brink of Ken Miles’ death, at the end of the 2019 movie: Ford v Ferrari, “There’s a point – 7000 RPM – where everything fades. When your seeing becomes weightless, just disappears. And all that’s left is a body moving through space and time. 7000 RPM that’s where you meet it,” I could feel the adrenaline rush through my veins as I looked at the scene playing out on screen.

 

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Ford v Ferrari was a movie centered around the journey of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles with the automotive company, Ford, as they aimed to defeat the dominant Scuderia Ferrari racing team in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. If you’re reading this article and expecting a review on the movie, I hate to burst your bubble but that’s just not what you would be seeing. Instead, you would be reading about a petite, 20-year-old girl’s journey in exploring the world of motorsport — particularly Formula 1.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans may be an entirely different racing championship from Formula 1, but I owe it to a movie revolving around the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency” for introducing me to this single-seater racing series. 

Admittedly, I grew up displaying little to no interest in any sporting activities. I generally wasn’t exposed to it and I wasn’t pressured by my parents to try it out; save for the time that they tried to convince me to play tennis. It’s not that I disliked the concept of it, but I just wasn’t interested in the sports that I knew of back then. 

Fast forward to the start of 2020, before the pandemic broke out and after I watched Ford v Ferrari, I began researching about racing championships and discovered Formula 1 in the process. I found out after a couple of weeks that one of my close friends, Mika, had also been getting into it and the rest as they say was history.

F1 became something that we bonded on — she would send links to websites and servers that would stream the race, add me to Facebook groups for fellow enthusiasts, and we would exchange news updates whenever there were any from the teams. She was also the one who introduced me to the Netflix docu-series, Drive to Survive, when we were waiting for the 2020 season to resume. Within 2 days, I was able to finish the available seasons and it contributed to my growing interest. Despite some flaws, most notably with the placement of team radios that aren’t exactly the most accurate, the series was definitely a great way to introduce a new generation of fans as it made the racing series appear more accessible. It also gave a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the once elusive world of the pinnacle of motorsport.

 

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From then on, F1 has become ingrained in my system. If you open my YouTube app, you would be bombarded with video recommendations on post-race analysis, race highlights over the years, tech specs of the cars, team and driver analysis, explanation on regulation changes, and many more along the likes of it. YouTubers such as TommoF1, Aldas, Kym Illman, WTF1, The Race, and Donut Media, have become my go-to as I strived to learn more beyond just watching the races. It also fed my thirst for F1 content on non-race weekends and during the off-season.

There’s just something about F1, and motorsport in general, that has piqued my interest and made me crave for more after every race. I think that the main factor would be the adrenaline rush that I get while watching the drivers battle it out on different tracks all over the world. Seeing them go at such an intense speed keeps me on my toes yet at the same time, anxious for their safety.

Rooting for the underdogs and seeing them rise to the top gives me so much joy and fulfillment as though I am there with the entire team along their journey. The highs and lows of the sport are truly impeccable but that’s the beauty of Formula 1. It takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the season and it makes you feel limitless. Knowing the stories of the teams and the drivers has made me feel like I could achieve anything if I stay passionate and dedicated. To add, the sport also brings people, and even entire countries, together in support.

Currently, it is still a male-dominated field, but I am extremely happy to see a lot more women becoming involved. Within the teams, there are a lot more women leading and I hope to become one in the future; someone who is involved in the world of motorsport. I want to be able to tell the story from each race weekend, from each season, and to give people a glimpse of what it’s like. I hope to be able to share my genuine love and passion for it and to inspire young girls who may also have the same interest and aspirations.

With that, I close this with an invitation for you to come along as I explore further this exciting industry and see how the coming season would pan out. From being someone who had no interest in sports, to watching a movie revolving around Le Mans, motorsport has become an integral part of my life over the year and I can’t wait to see how much more impact it would have in the future.

 

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