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Shea Holbrook Shea Holbrook. All photos courtesy W Series

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W Series 2019 | Shea Holbrook
Shea Holbrook tells us about representing the US in the inaugural motor racing season of W Series
Find Shea online via Twitter @SheaRacing, Instagram and Facebook
Published on April 10, 2019

Where in North America are you from?

Jacksonville, Florida.

How did you first become interested in motor racing?

I’ve always been an athlete. I came from a competitive water skiing background! Never would I have thought I’d become a racing driver with my background though. I was introduced when I did a NASCAR ride along experience when I was 16 and from then the rest is history. Everyone has odds stacked against them at some level or point in their careers. Mine was, I didn’t come from a generational motorsport family, and had absolutely zero knowledge of the sport and industry as well. I didn’t come from an affluent background. My start was very unconventional but it’s one I’m proud of and believe it's helped shape the person I’ve become. A maverick!

Congratulations on being selected to participate in the inaugural W Series. How did you become involved in the Series, and how did it feel to achieve your seat?

I first became aware from hearing murmurs about an all-female series. Then, details started to trickle in as I became more interested in learning more. To be honest, at first, I was a bit hesitant. Once I had the opportunity to speak directly with the series it became apparent to me, I wanted to be involved. The magnitude of this opportunity ... you just can’t compare it to anything else. I was fortunate to attend the Autosport Awards in London representing the W Series alongside CEO, Catherine Muir Bond and a few other drivers. Everyone was very curious, as was I! That day I truly felt I could be a part of this, future my personal career goals and be a part of something much much bigger than just me. Leading into Spain, I put forth my best efforts to prepare for the selection. I’m fortunate to have earned a spot and I absolutely accredit my core group of friends, family, mentors and trainers for helping position me for this opportunity. But at the end of the day, I had to make this happen. 10 years of unconventional perseverances and sacrifices and its finally paid off. Being a part of the W Series, just thinking about it makes me emotional because it’s everything I’ve been working for and to now have it I’m determined more than ever.

Shea Holbrook Shea Holbrook focuses on the road ahead

As the W Series takes place in Europe, where will you be living during the season?

My residence will remain as Jacksonville, Florida although I’ll be doing my best to stay in Europe especially during the back-to-back races. As I’m the only driver with the long travel to and from I’m working a lot with Hinsta Performance on prep and jetlag.

The W Series takes in some iconic circuits - are you looking forward to racing on a particular track?

Frankly, all of them. I haven’t been to any of these tracks so I’ll have my work cut out for me. Although, I’m fortunate to have many resources and friends that can help me prior to working with W Series on the simulators. And, aren’t they all iconic!?

What are your hopes and goals for the 2019 season?

My hope is that the W Series is well received by the motorsports community and we help grow interest with the general public, by putting on great races and showcasing the female talent while bringing in some personal interest stories. With the resources, series initiative, supporters and the first 18 inaugural drivers, I think there’s no glass ceiling, sky is the limit! My goals? To win.

How do you think experiences of driving in Europe will compare with driving in the States?

For one, I think the motorsport culture is very different and something I look forward to experiencing. It’s all very exciting and I know with the 18 drivers it’ll be extremely competitive. It’s best I go into this with the mindset of it’s just another race car with a steering wheel and pedals. I look forward to soaking everything in and enjoying the ride.

What is your ultimate career goal?

To be a factory driver, at any level.

How important do you feel the W Series will be for opening more opportunities for upcoming female drivers, creating more sponsorship to back female drivers, and for encouraging more women to take up the sport?

This is vital to the future success of female drivers. I already know this to be true because of the support I’ve luckily experienced since making the final selection. I mean, I just came back from racing F3 America’s at an IndyCar weekend and the support of the community and fans has been unreal and it all certainly feels surreal. The attention the W Series has earned so far has highlighted the 54 drivers that attended in Melk, Austria. It’s very simple, if it’s done successfully, this can only help women. It’s our job as a whole to make sure it's successful.

Finally, how does it feel representing your nation in the inaugural W Series?

I’m honoured. Coming from a military family this is the next best thing I can do to positively represent and thank my country and family. I’ve always felt like the all-American girl next door with big dreams. Now, I’m living those American dreams.

To find out more about the W Series, which starts on May 3rd at Germany's Hockenheim Ring, check out www.wseries.com. The Series reaches the UK in August, with the drivers competing at Brands Hatch in Kent over the weekend of 10/11 August. Keep an eye on the W Series via their Social Media Channels: Twitter @WSeriesRacing, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube

See our other interviews with the W Series 2019 North American contingent below.


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