One year, I sent my resume in to test for the Italian Formula Renault and Formula Nissan series. They selected me and I flew to Europe. A few days before my test, I received a disappointing notice. They did not realize from my resume I was a woman, and they did not test women. I went home and did something about it. I resent my resume, this time with a male name.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — I made my debut in racing at 14 years old, driving a go-kart my father had built. By 18, I was racing in a single seater in Formula Renault. After winning titles in South America and competing on European circuits, I announced my retirement in 2004. The longing I felt for the intensity of racing never left me. After a 14-year hiatus, I returned to the track. This time, I wanted to achieve something big.
When I pulled up for the Argentina Cup in my Porsche GT3, the crowd felt restless. I could hear my heart beating out of my chest. The smell of gasoline permeated the air and adrenaline rushed through my veins. I climbed into the car, intent on making history as the first woman in Argentina to win it all.
I found myself surrounded by cars growing up, watching my father work as a mechanic. At his workshop one day, he asked if I wanted to try go-karting. He and his Porsche clients assembled a high-powered go-kart and planned to spend the day spinning it around the track and barbequing. The idea thrilled me, and I excitedly agreed to join. To his surprise, I felt no fear. In fact, I loved it. As I drove the go-kart at full speed, my back stuck to the leather seat, I felt exhilarated and free, like I was soaring through the sky.
I quickly began competing alongside some of the best drivers at that time like Pechito López, Esteban Guerrieri, and Matias Milla. I loved the level of competition and despite my lack of experience, I maintained equal footing. I quickly secured a front row position and even reached the podium. Competing alongside such legends gave me a profound sense of pride.
For me, racing evokes powerful sensations. When I press the gas and take off, I feel relief, like how you feel when your plane finally takes off. Inside the car, I become highly focused, attuned to my surroundings – like entering a state of meditation.
Every day after school, I rushed to the kart track. No inclusivity for women existed at that time. They had no women’s bathrooms and men resisted our presence, even more so than today. Naturally, I felt it and it made everything more challenging. Despite all the social progress we’ve made, I still sense that discomfort from others, but I press on.
Now, as a member of the Argentine Flyers Association, I have an opportunity to break barriers and work toward inclusion for women in a male-dominated arena. The process remains difficult, but I notice the small progress and feel excited for the future.
When I look back at what I have done, it feels surreal. I competed in the Ladies’ Cup and in the highly competitive Renault Formula, considered one of the top national formula racing series of its time. After finishing as runner-up in my first year in the South American Formula 3 championship, a team in Brazil invited me to race with them. This was when disappointment would set in. After just two races, they dropped me because the male drivers felt uncomfortable with a woman outperforming them.
I never imagined anyone could care that much. Fortunately, the sponsor Petrobras picked me up and in my first race, I became the fastest driver on their team.
One year, I sent my resume in to test for the Italian Formula Renault and Formula Nissan series. They selected me and I flew to Europe. A few days before my test, I received a disappointing notice. They did not realize from my resume I was a woman, and they did not test women. I went home and did something about it. I resent my resume, this time with a male name. They approved my application and when I got there, chaos ensued.
When they argued against me, I insisted on an equal opportunity. I asked them to let me prove myself. They finally allowed me in a car and, to everyone’s surprise, I proved to be the fastest driver on the track. The next day, heavy rain began to fall. Still, I remained the fastest driver. When they ultimately selected me for the team, it felt surreal. The team was ecstatic about my performance.
It seemed a world of opportunity opened up after that. I continued for a time, but certain aspects wore on me. I had a strict training regimen, but worse, they dictated my clothing choices, where I could live, and how I could live. The passion gradually faded and I decided to go home to Argentina. After a few more races, I retired. I spent the time in front of me focusing on being a mother to my three amazing children. Then, the yearning returned. It grew and grew inside of me, until I needed to race again.
In 2018, I made my return to the Porsche Cup in Argentina. I even traveled to Germany to become certified as an instructor, taking my place as the first female in Porsche’s history to work for them on the track. I felt the spark of passion reignite and the glimmer returned to my eyes. I also felt afraid to step into a project I might not be prepared for.
Despite my self-doubt, I reconnected with myself – not just my mind, but my emotions and my heart. I took a leap of faith, knowing deep down I was destined for something big. That year proved pivotal. Not only did I make my mark on the track, but I fulfilled a dream to become a racing champion.
Throughout the emotional roller coaster, I channeled all my focus and determination into racing, and ultimately emerged as champion. I wear that title with infinite pride. I feel lucky to do what I love most in the world. As the first Argentine woman to win a national race and the first worldwide to win with a Porsche, I hope my story motivates women around the world to push for what they want.
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