2012 season review with Cyndie Allemann, a year marked by her experience in Asia.
Bremgarten, Switzerland, 2012-11-07 – The 2012 auto racing season is winding down and time has come for the traditional yearly reviews. We take this opportunity to sit down with race car driver Cyndie Allemann and look back at her 2012 season, a year that saw the Swiss Miss being busier than ever.
First of all Cyndie, your 2012 season was marked by your participation in the Japanese Super GT championship. Remind us how your Super GT program came about, a series that happens to be very far from your world. “You’re right: the Super GT program was not in my plans at all, back in January. But through our contacts in Japan, we received an offer from team Hitotsuyama Racing to make a test at Fuji Speedway, in early February.
I would like to go back to those Japanese tracks where I only raced once – I remain convinced that podium and wins would be possible.
That test was very positive in terms of sheer speed and the team immediately offered me to race a part of the 2012 championship in their Audi R8 LMS. I absolutely liked my experience in Super GT, even though just about everything was totally new for me: country, culture, drivers, cars and above all, the circuits. Also, the Japanese fans are really passionate about their sport – I’ve never signed that many autographs than this year, it got really crazy quite a few times. It was an amazing experience that I would like to repeat one of those days, for sure.”
At your very first race in Super GT, on a track that you did not know anything about (Okayama), you qualified the car 12th and finished the race in 9th position. At the last Super GT race of the season at Motegi, your successor (a former Super GT and Formula Nippon champion) scored the same result with the same car and teammate: 12th in qualifying and 9th in the race. This comparison is flattering for you, isn’t it?
“I prefer not to make that kind of direct connection, because I don’t know the exact context of the performances of my former team at the last race. But put this way, it does make my own performance look good in the sense that I didn’t have neither the experience nor the career results in Super GT of my successor, so having achieved similar results to him can only be positive for me. For sure, I would have liked to make more testing as well as enjoy a second season and go back to all those Japanese tracks where I only raced once – I remain convinced that podium and wins would be possible.”
Other than Super GT, did you take part in other races? “Yes, absolutely. I put together a small karting program in the Swiss Championship with my own team, Spirit Racing – karting has always been a great passion of mine. I won a race and finished second in the championship, despite missing a race. Also, I got invited in May to take part of one race of the ‘Malaysian Super Series’ (a high-end GT race cars championship) at Sepang with Craft Eurasia team, to get some practice on that track for the Super GT race. I ended up winning the race – the first ever victory in competition in Malaysia by a female race car driver! Obviously, being on the first step of podiums always represents sweet memories.”
At the moment, what projects are you working on? “Since I came back in Europe in August, I’ve been working closely with Mercedes-AMG on different projects, such as the ‘AMG Driving Academy’ program that I participate in as a coach. It’s an awesome and rewarding opportunity that I just could not passed up and that, I hope, will open more doors for me. In addition, I’m also working with the German TV on projects that will be presented in 2013.”
And what are your projects for 2013? “In parallel to the ‘AMG Driving Academy’ and television, I do want to pursue my auto racing career. Obviously, the DTM has always been a goal and a dream for me – but like in Formula One, it’s a series where opportunities are rare. So realistically, we are currently looking at GT3-based championships and races – there are so many of them, nowadays: FIA GT World, ADAC GT Masters, Blancpain Endurance Series, VLN, Nürburgring 24 Hours, Asian Le Mans Series, and even the European Le Mans Series will accept GT3 cars in 2013. A comeback in Super GT is also still possible.”
How does it look? “It’s rather difficult because most programs are conditionals to drivers bringing sponsorship money, which seems to be standard nowadays. Nevertheless, I remain optimist as I have a lot to offer to a team, a car manufacturer and to sponsors. On track, I have proven my speed. Same thing in the garage: my experience and technical background are valuable assets.”
This year, we have noticed your extreme popularity with fans and in social media. This is also an asset, right? “Absolutely: I have more than 50,000 fans and followers in my social media outlets – this is huge! More than ever since the beginning of this year, I’ve received an incredible support and engagement coming from my fans. I really think this represents a major added value for the partners I have in my racing programs.”