This year, for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona International Speedway, there will be two all-female teams. Okay, there will be the official all-female team, and the unofficial team of Abby and I driving 15 hours to Daytona and then 15 hours back. In October of last year, Meyer Shank Racing announced the formation of an all-female team for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTD class. The team is led by and will race under the banner of, Jackie Heinricher’s race team: Heinricher Racing. The team will include Jackie, Katherine Legge, Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz), and Simona De Silvestro. There has been a ton of buzz around women drivers whether the discussion of the W-Series, Danica’s run last year, or debates around the need for all-female teams. It’s a very healthy and necessary debate, but what isn’t up for debate: Jackie Heinricher is an HBIC.
Jackie has a ‘new’ career in motorsports, starting in 2014. She’s raced in various disciplines including the Lamborghini Super Trofeo of North America, the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lite, the Ferrari Challenge, the Russel F3 series, and BMW Pro 3. She was the first female driver when she debuted in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo season. She achieved three podiums during the 2016 season of Super Trofeo. Ending that season in 4th place overall. Racing is a second, actually third, career for Jackie.
Jackie’s very first career is medic in the United States Air Force. I can end this paragraph right here and stand by my claim that she is HBIC. However, the rest of her professional resume is as impressive and important. She has a masters of science in fisheries and spent time in fishery science and management in the Mississippi Valley area. She created a company called “BooShoot” which shifted how bamboo is grown and has turned it into a sustainable and rapidly growing crop, all without the use of GMOs by the way. She’s won a “Dreamers into Doers” grant and given a Ted Talk. She joins the list of female racers who have these amazing careers off of the track or will have an amazing career off of the track (small shout-out to Sabre Cook who is currently studying at Infiniti right now because she’s also a bad-ass engineer!). It’s no wonder she’s spearheaded the plan for this all-female team.
I started a couple of years ago, realized it was quite hard to put together and had to dig hard and use work ethic and a lot of tenacity and perseverance. It was about timing and finding the right partners and using my business hat to do that. That’s how I got to this type of partnership.
Jackie just didn’t find the first three female drivers who said yes. She’s worked to put together an amazing team. Katherine Legge has a list of accomplishments as a driver, including a second place in the GTD category at last year’s Rolex 24 Hours. Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz) spent a few years in American open-wheel including two wins in the Indy Lights and multiple years in IndyCar, most recently Bia has been driving stock cars in Brazil. Then there is Simona De Silvestro who had multiple years in Indy Car, experience in Formula E and Touring Cars. A last-minute addition to the team following Jackie experiencing an injury is Christina Nielsen who is a two-time GT class winner at the Rolex 24. This is not the first time there has been an all-female line up at the Rolex. In 1967 Janet Guthrie, Anita Taylor and Smokey Drolet attempted the race and finished 20th overall.
I anticipate better results from this team. At the Roar Before the 24 the team put down the fastest lap in qualifying, earning them prime garage and pit positions for the race this weekend. There are a lot of fantastic cars to cheer for at the Rolex, there are so many stories surrounding the upcoming race – but don’t forget the #57 car with the Caterpillar Livery is out there working hard to make history.
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https://tedxseattle.com/speakers/jackie-heinricher/ (yep she did a Ted Talk)