My story in words and images: Cyndie Allemann Racing diary. Episode 2012.04: Profession: race car driver.
Monday, 2012-04-02. Seoul, Korea.
Professional race car driver, on and off the track.
Profession: race car driver. Not your usual 9 to 5 job. From the outside looking in, it can be glamorous, for sure. But once the show is over, it really is an all-around 24/7 profession that goes way beyond what can be seen on track. In addition to the sport side, there is the technical aspect of the job, of course. But there is also a third aspect, one that is absolutely critical: the marketing side.
A professional race car driver, especially one like Cyndie who is gaining in popularity, must be comfortable and excel in different domains: social interaction with high level executives and VIPs, speeches in public, brand representation, and more. All those functions come with the sport.
It is with all those considerations in mind that Cyndie, a mere 12 hours after leaving Okayama where she ended her first Super GT race with a promising 9th place, boards a plane in Tokyo to head to Seoul, Korea. For her first trip to Seoul, she would be the feature guest at an event organized by Audi Korea, in which she would act as a presenter for the new Audi R8 GT Spyder, a spokesperson for the brand and (even better) driver for taxi rides.
“As much as I feel as a race car driver, loving the speed, being alone in my car, having control of the whole situation and just driving with my feeling, I must say that I really enjoy those kinds of events like the one here in Seoul. It’s very different than the first role in my profession. I need this kind of event to grow and become an ambassador for sponsors and corporate partners. I took my role very seriously, especially when I had to present the R8 GT Spyder in front of important guests. Then again, it was easy for me to present this supercar in a positive way because I really loved driving it!”
Tuesday, 2012-04-03. Seoul, Korea.
Tuesday was the first day of the Audi Korea event.Bad weather conditions on Monday pushed most of the preparation and rehearsal work on Tuesday morning. With the first actual presentation to invited guests scheduled for the evening, this day was very busy, to say the least. And even though Cyndie has done similar events in the past for different brands, this one was particularly important because of the scope of the event itself and her own importance and visibility. Her role was larger in the sense that she would be an actual brand ambassador.
But Cyndie enjoys this type of challenge as well as meeting new people and acting as a brand ambassador. As much as racing is in her blood, what comes with it is also part of her, and it is with a natural ease that she went through this first day of presentation without any problem.
She even allowed herself a few minutes to visit the city and its streets, at least to feel the beat of Seoul. It was a very short sightseeing session, but she liked what she saw (not to mention the food that she tasted) and coming back for a longer visit instantly became part of her short term plan.
“Korea was yet another new country for me to discover. So many new places in the past couple of months... Traveling everywhere and discovering beautiful places is certainly a cool part of my job. I found some very good places to eat in Seoul and even discovered a typical Korean market in the middle of the city. I also met the people from Audi Korea: they were very friendly and made me feel comfortable. But what I was really looking forward was to drive the R8 Spyder on this twisty open road where I knew I could have some nice handbraking and drift moves.”
Wednesday, 2012-04-04. Seoul, Korea.
Roller coaster rides and an impromptu birthday party.
The second (and last day) of the Audi Korea event was supposed to be even busier for Cyndie, with two presentations and more taxi rides. And also, more guests and VIPs would attend. But there is something with great athletes is that they always perform better under pressure, and this second day went even better than the first one. By then, Cyndie knew what she had to do and started enjoying herself in this brand ambassador role.
And judging by the waiting line in front of her Audi R8 during the taxi rides sessions, she also become the hit of the show with guests. After all, not every day that one gets to try a high performance supercar on a twisty mountain road with a famous female race car driver, and enjoy her driving skills. One could see big smiles coming out of her car, but some scared mimics, too. Like kids getting out of a roller coaster ride. Drifting an Audi R8 Spyder with a guardrail a few centimeters away does have its consequences, after all.
This perfect day ended in a perfect fashion for Cyndie as she got treated to an impromptu and surprise birthday party by Audi Korea.
“I had the chance to meet many guests at the event and they all really enjoyed seeing a racing girl talk about the R8 GT Spyder and show them the limits of the car on the road. For me, it’s always nice to see that I’m recognized first as a race car driver and also as a brand ambassador. It was so funny to look at the face of my passengers, sometimes they were laughing and pushing me even more but some other times, you could also see fear in their eyes. I would like to thanks Audi Korea for giving me this great opportunity to represent the brand. Already looking forward to come back!”