MICHELLE GATTING SELECTED TO CONTEST VW SCIROCCO R-CUP
After a gruelling three-day test and selection process at the end of last year, Michelle Gatting, from Denmark, has emerged as the victor in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup shoot-out and will become the second young female touring car driver to be supported by the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) and Volkswagen Motorsport. In keeping with its philosophy of supporting aspiring young talent, Volkswagen Motorsport has committed to a funded drive for Michelle and the 17-year-old will contest the Junior Cup category of next year’s series.
This joint partnership between the Commission and one of the world’s largest car manufacturers brought together 11 aspiring young female racers nominated by their ASNs and the WMC for a test session at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany. The assessment included theoretical lessons and a media course, as well as guided driving with instructors and timed laps.
After what should have been a single day test, the calibre of the youngsters was such that four were asked to return the following day and the final shoot-out took place on a third day between Michelle, Sweden’s Mikaela Ahlin Kottlinsky and Sarah Bovy from Belgium. Pitted against a reference lap set by the reigning Scirocco R-Cup Champion Mateusz Lisowski, all three girls were close to the reference lap, with Michelle regularly the fastest on the track.
“I'm really happy to be the winner of the shoot-out, it was a lot harder than expected because all the girls were really good and one hundred percent focused to get the seat,” said Michelle. “Being the winner is a great opportunity for me, because I know what a big help Volkswagen will be and it will definitely open a lot of doors in the future if I perform well in 2012. I think the way they chose the winner was incredibly effective, among other things because they did not select the winner on the day. After the first day I knew I was among the fastest, but also that there were three girls who were fast. When I got told we had to stay for a second day, I knew that my chances would be bigger, because I would be more comfortable with the car and track. During this second day I learned a lot, especially with the help from mechanics and the people from Volkswagen. When we got told we had to drive one more time three weeks later, I got nervous but also happy to know that I would have another chance to show that I was the fastest girl. At the beginning of the day I drove too aggressively, which was a huge mistake - but after some help from Cathy [Muller], I drove smoother and that was faster. So right now, I'm just counting the days for the season to begin, because I'm really excited to drive the Scirocco, work with VW Motorsport and drive under the WMC colours. I really would like to thanks Volkswagen Motorsport and the Commission for giving us this great opportunity, thank you to the instructors and Cathy; their good advice helped all of us to progress every lap. Thanks also to the mechanics who gave us good cars.”
Michèle Mouton, President of the Women in Motorsport Commission added: “This selection session was very intense but the girls were professional, motivated and very pleased to have this opportunity. We really have to say a big thank you to Volkswagen Motorsport too. What was initially a one-day test resulted in a three-day selection process, such was Volkswagen’s commitment to ensuring the girl with the speed and greatest potential was selected. This opportunity will give Michelle’s career a big boost, as she will also benefit from the vast experience and knowledge of the whole team at Volkswagen Motorsport.”
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director concluded: “We are very happy to be a partner in this project for the second year and it is a great pleasure to be working with the FIA, the Commission and Michelle.”
The Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup is the first single-make cup with natural gas technology, producing 80 per cent less CO2 emissions. The 2012 series takes in 10 European rounds.