As a motor racing fan I am extremely excited right now as not only am I getting to debut a new section of my blog but it also it involves a Racing Driver that I am a big fan of.
With out further ado I want to give an extremely warm welcome to our first visitor to Three on The Tree Garage, Driving Instructor, Race Driver and CAMS Ignition Manager Samantha Reid.
Thank you for joining us here at Three on The Tree Samantha.
I really appreciate you stopping by today and being that I am fan I am hugely excited and honoured your my first guest.
You’ve been racing for quite a few years now what age did you start racing?
I started at eight years of age, karting in South Australia.
And what was your first racing car?
My first kart was a locally built Benson. My dad was always a fan of supporting local manufacturers. My first Formula Ford was a Ray – the only Ray in the country actually. It was a great little car for around Mallala and my dad still has it in the shed today.
I grew up a massive fan of Peter Brock, but I am also a big fan of Greg Murphy, Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall, who is your favourite racing Driver?
Tough question! I grew up as a Craig Lowndes and Jacques Villenueve fan – interestingly enough Jacques has just signed with Kelly Racing so I will get to meet him this weekend.
So it should be an exciting weekend for you I always regret not having the chance to meet Peter Brock.
How hard was it for you starting in motorsport given that it’s such a male dominated sport. ?
I was lucky to have the support of my younger brother David who started not long after me. I remember going to drivers briefing and always standing with him because none of the other competitors would stand with me because I was a girl and at that age that was very intimidating. My brother and I dominated in ‘midgets’ – now called cadets often finishing 1st and 2nd. In 1997 we accumulated nearly 50 podiums each.
Now I couldn’t do an interview with you without asking you who has been your biggest influence in motorsport?
I have learnt a lot from a huge variety of people. I think my dad certainly played a huge role in the early days teaching us the basic mechanics of the karts and making sure we appreciated how lucky we were to have the opportunity to race.
My brother and I had to prepare the karts ourselves and our involvement only increased moving into Formula Ford, arranging accommodation, transport, sponsorship etc. I believe this really tested how much we wanted to be involved, it was hard work.
We certainly weren’t the spoilt kids who had everything handed to them and spent their time playing around the pits rather than working on their karts.
More recently I was lucky to meet a gentlemen by the name of Anthony Fredriksen known more commonly in the industry at ‘Fred’. His experience in Formula One and V8 Supercars with drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes and Todd Kelly holds him in high regard. I met him through road safety training we were delivering and he took me under his wing doing his best to teach me everything he knew and had learnt in the sport. Having always struggled with budget Fred concentrated on helping me develop my strengths off track like public speaking, customer service and networking skills.
He has been a huge motivation for me and just last year facilitated an introduction to John Crennan at Kelly Racing. This lead to my selection on the reality television series Shannon’s Supercar Showdown and more recently, announced as Kelly Racing test driver.
Motorsport is very involving on and off the track it’s more then just driving a car so I think your dad did a great job teaching your brother and yourself this important lesson from when you were young.
Now I watched every episode of Shannons Supercar showdown infact you were you one I picked to win, how did it feel to be chosen to compete and how much of a boost did it give your career.?
I was hugely excited going in to Shannon’s Supercar Showdown, having been struggling with budget since the GFC I hadn’t been able to compete in a full championship and this meant I was out of sight, out of mind.
The show gave me the opportunity to show Australia that I did have the talent to become the first full time female V8 Supercar driver in many years.
I certainly didn’t expect to become the ‘favourite’ to take out the show but it was a great feeling knowing the general public was right behind me.
Up against some very talented drivers who were competing on a regular basis, I was always going to have my work cut out for me – as they say “nothing beats time in the seat” – which I didn’t have. I was pretty happy with my performance finishing up 3rd and getting my first ever taste of a v8 Supercar.
As competitive as I am though, I’d be lying to say I wasn’t disappointed I hadn’t gone on to win. None the less, Todd and Rick certainly noticed me and I am now in a much better position as a test driver in 2012.
We are working pretty hard at the moment to secure the required budget to move into the Dunlop Development series in 2013 & results pending, hopefully a move into the main game V8 Supercars soon after.
I look forward to seeing you in a V8 Supercar in the near future.
Now I might have a few readers that are interested in getting into motorsport what advice would you give to young person wanting to start in motorsport?
You have to start somewhere so get out there and have a go. It is a very tough sport and money goes a long way so start finding sponsors early and make sure you can deliver not only on the track but off track for your sponsors. You need to be prepared to work massively hard and sacrifice a lot to reach to top end of the sport but you can also enjoy it at an entry level. Remember to enjoy it!
Now I’d like to move onto what you do off the track.
I have two daughters Madison 12 and Samantha 10 so I am really passionate about training for younger drivers since my girls will be driving in a few years time.
Now because I am so passionate about this subject I was really interested when I heard about the CAMS Ignition Program, you were appointed the CAMS Ignition Manager could you please let myself and my readers know a bit about CAMS Ignition and what are the goals of the CAMS Ignition Program.?
CAMS Ignition is a road safety program for pre licensed drivers aged 12-18 which has been piloting for around 2 years now. It focuses on creating positive attitudes towards safe road use, whilst raising awareness of the potential hazards and risks drivers are exposed to. It is something I am very passionate about and feel that every young person deserves the opportunity to learn the skills to help keep themselves and those around them safe. The program is designed to complement the existing licensing system which in my opinion is not sufficient at the moment. CAMS Ignition also promotes the concept of life long learning with driver education as cars, roads and drivers attitudes are always changing so on going education is critical.
You are one of the youngest fully qualified driving instructors in the country how important do you feel proper driving instruction is to young drivers?
The driver training industry is very poorly regulated from Learner instructors through to advanced and defensive trainers. Many people are not qualified and many have not had their own driving tested in over 20 years. We then have completely unqualified but over confident parents involved in training young drivers and this is recipe for disaster. Unfortunately young people don’t tend to grow up thinking “I want to be a driving instructor” and hence most of the industry is over the age of 45 and struggles to engage the young people effectively. Our road toll is ridiculous and despite the number of fatalities remaining relatively constant around the country we are having more crashes and causing more injuries than ever before, despite driving safer cars. This is not acceptable.
Ok I am going to move onto the easy questions now,
What is your favourite car?
This is not an easy question! It depends on how much money I have to spend! Let’s start with Nissan Micra, Renault Megane RS 250 cup car, Nissan GTR and Mercedes C63 AMG.
What’s in your garage?
Right now nothing! I am on public transport. My most recent car was a 2001 E46 BMW 325i which was an absolute bargain for such a well equipped car. And a Formula Ford and an old Honda S600 which my dad has been rebuilding – spectacular little car for its era.
And finally if you were a car what car would you be and why?
Mercedes C63 AMG. Made by a company who leads the way in driver, passenger and pedestrian safety, fast, well balanced, subtle in appearance but fierce underneath. Reputation and reliability is very important.
Since have 2 daughters( so I might be a bit biased) & one is a bit of a rev head so I really applaud the work people like yourself, Leanne Tander, Amber Anderson, Lauren Gray and the La Femme Motorsport team plus many more are doing to change peoples perception that females can’t compete on an even ground with men in motorsport.
I want to thank you very, very much for joining us here at Three on a Tree Samantha I really do appreciate it, I’d love to have you take my wife , myself and my daughters around a track and show us how to drive properly one day.