Q&A with Samantha Summerbell

Q&A with Samantha Summerbell


Q: Samantha, you will be making your first appearance in the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup race at the Bushy Park Barbados CMRC round on September the 12th/13th. Any nerves as you prepare to join the Suzuki Challenge Series for Round 4?

 Samantha Summerbell: A lot of nerves as I prepare to join Round 4 of the Suzuki Challenge Series! Not only will it be my first time driving one of the Swifts';, but it is also my first time driving at Bushy Park, leaving me at a disadvantage to my competitors who should be comfortable with the car and the track. However, I';m looking forward to this challenge as I am excited to take part in the series.

 Q: How long have you been racing, and tell us how you got started?

 Samantha Summerbell: Six years ago, at the age of 12, I jumped in a go-kart and my racing career quickly commenced. Funnily enough, the first time in a kart was not accompanied with my dad, but instead with my best friend, whose brother was racing karts for quite some time at the Palisadoes Go-Kart Track. I immediately fell in-love with the sport, and the following month I completed my first go-kart meet at the Palisadoes Track.

 Q: What was the last race you drove in and how did you do?

 Samantha Summerbell: My last race was in the beginning of August at Jamwest Speedway. I drove my Honda Civic in the Improved Production 35 class, and won 2 out of my 3 races. That was actually my first time driving at the track.

 Q: What is your greatest racing achievement to date?

 Samantha Summerbell: My greatest racing achievement to date would be representing Jamaica in the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy's regional selection event in the Americas in 2013 as the only female out of 12 participants. The selection event was a huge wake up call for my motorsports career, teaching me skills both on and off the track.

 Q: What do you know about the Suzuki Challenge Series?

 Samantha Summerbell: The Suzuki Challenge Series is an initiative for a single manufacturer regional racing series that promotes Suzuki's high performance capabilities. It is a great series, as is based purely on the driver's skills and expertise.

 Q: Have you ever raced against your father before? If so, have you raced against him in equal machinery?

 Samantha Summerbell: I';ve never raced against my father before, so this will be a first! I';m not too sure how it will go, but I';m definitely excited to see the results.

 Q: Does being the first female to contest in the Series add any additional pressure? And what was the reaction in Jamaica to the announcement that you will be driving in the Swift Cup?

 Samantha Summerbell: Being the first female to contest in the Series adds a lot of additional pressure, as being a minority in the group definitely brings a lot of attention, which can be good as well. It's nothing new though, I';m normally one of the few females participating in motorsport events.

The news that I would be driving in the Swift Cup spread like wildfire in Jamaica, and everyone seems excited that I will be participating. Jamaicans also love the idea of the Suzuki Swift Cup as Stewart's Auto Sales has made Suzuki such an influential brand in Jamaica.

 Q: You competed in an Easykart 125cc race at Bushy Park. How did you find the track and competition compared to where you have driven before?

 Samantha Summerbell: I was thoroughly impressed with the karts, the track and the competition at Bushy Park compared to Jamaica. The competition was incredible, and the track was also extremely fast and a lot of fun to drive on!

 Q: Has your Dad given you any useful tips about driving the Swift Cup Cars, and what did you learn when you came to watch the last round?

 Samantha Summerbell: He hasn't given me any tips yet about driving the Swift Cup Cars, but I';m sure he will in the near future! By watching the last round, I';ve learned how stiff the competition is, and how much work I';m going to have to put in to do well in the series.

 Q: How was it watching your Dad tussle with Mark Thompson in the third race of Round 3? I saw that you were very animated on the pit wall!

 Samantha Summerbell: It was extremely exciting to watch the tussle with my Dad and Mark Thompson in the action-packed third race. Up until the last lap either could have won, and that's why I think the Suzuki Challenge Series is a great idea! It's based solely on the skills of the driver, and everyone has the ability to succeed!

 Q: Looking past the Suzuki Challenge Series, what are your racing ambitions?

 Samantha Summerbell: As school is my top priority at the moment, racing has been a bit sidelined, but I';m happy to participate in any opportunities that I';m offered. My racing ambitions would be to drive at an international level, and also maybe to try a bit of rallying.

 Q: I believe that we delayed your return to University- I hope that we haven';t got you into any trouble? J What are you studying, and what are your long term career goals?

 Samantha Summerbell: I';m a business student at McGill University, currently majoring in accounting and minoring in finance. I';m still undecided of the path I';ll take, whether it be in accounting or finance, so at the moment I';m unsure of my long term career goals.

 Q: Other than motorsport, what are your interests and passions?

 Samantha Summerbell: I love to travel, and to learn and experience new cultures! I';m also a very avid reader.

 Q: This is currently a one off drive. Are you looking to extend this to include some rounds in the future?

 Samantha Summerbell: I would definitely like to extend this to include some rounds in the future, as I believe each round I';d be able to improve and become more competitive, as I';d become more comfortable with both the Swift and the track.

 Q: Who is your racing idol and why?

 Samantha Summerbell: My racing idol would be Ayrton Senna, as his determination and passion to win was very inspiring.

 Q: What advice would you give people interested in becoming a racing driver? Is there any specific advice that you would give budding female racers?

 Samantha Summerbell: My advice to people interested in becoming a racing driver is to get in a kart, and to do so as early as possible and to get as much practice in as you can. My advice to budding female racers would be the same – start off with karting and don';t feel intimidated to do so because it is a male-dominated sport.


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