Eyes on the Future: a chat with Sandra Gómez
Motorsport's new paradigm: how young Spanish racer Sandra Gomez is pursuing her racing dreams both on karting tracks and on the simulator.
Our journey through the various levels of world karting and its ladies protagonists brought us to meet twenty-year old Spanish Sandra Gomez for this week's edition of our "Eyes on the Future" column.
Sandra is one of the many new up and coming faces of the very fruitful Spanish karting wave, which will likely have a big impact in the professional motorsports environment within a few years, as more and more female talents from the region are approaching the most competitive European junior categories.
Born in Madrid on January 26th, Sandra Gomez made a name for herself in various karting competitions. This allowed Sandra to be selected among the finalists for the second edition of the "Piloto Michelin", a new driver development format created by Teo Martin with the aim of researching undiscovered talents with simulator skills.
The 20 year old lady was the fastest around the iconic Monza circuit at the wheel of a MP4 McLaren in the Assetto Corsa platform and went on to win the competition, beating other 600 participants. Certainly a brilliant performance that gained her the chance to enter the prestigious Motor&Sport Institute for a complete Sim racing training program.
With modern motorsport constantly strenghtening its bridges with simracing, those skills will undoubtedly become more and more relevant in a driver's path to the professional echelons.
At the conclusion of this experience, Sandra turned every young karting driver's dream into a reality: it was her chance to step into a Formula car for the first time.
We talked with her about that experience; about the roots for her motorsport passion and we tried to discover a little bit more about a girl that is working hard to prove that she has what it needs to grasp her dreams.
"I love single-seaters. I felt that we were one, the car and I."
RACER: Hi Sandra, where does your passion for motorsport come from?
SANDRA: My passion for motorsport comes from Formula 1; when I was very young, me and my family watched every Formula 1 race at my home. In my family, Fernando Alonso is like a god for us.
Somehow, I have always carried away that passion and that feeling in my heart. More to say, I always wanted to be a Formula One driver.
R: You already competed in several competitive karting championships and made some great experiences, but what are the goals you are most proud to have already achieved so far in your young karting career?
S: First of all, I think that my best trophy and the one that means the most to me is the second place in Karting Ángel Burgueño behind Fernando Alonso ́s team.
Last but not least, in 2018 I had the opportunity to attend the Kart World Championship (Poland) sponsored by Karting Rivas, after being the best female in the Spanish qualifiers.
R: Tell us a bit more about your journey in the Piloto Michelin 2019.
S: Since the first day I joined the project “Piloto Michelin 2019”, my life completely changed. At that moment, I knew that it was going to be a difficult road to ride, nevertheless it was going to be the opportunity of my life. From the beginning, the whole MSi team was supporting me and we trained hard for six months to get to the final. I loved being in that place, around the best cars in history.
I’ve been training like a real racing driver, looking up to all details, learning from the best drivers, engineers and mechanics. Finally, the effort was rewarded. Teo Martín gave me the opportunity to drive his cars on the Jarama Circuit (Type R, Mclaren GT4 and Formula 3).
R: During that time, you also reached the media spotlight with interviews and TV appearances; how was the feeling of experiencing for the first time this big and difficult world?
S: At the beginning it was difficult because I was very shy and this world was new for me. My first TV appearance was next to Toni Cuquerella and Antonio Lobato - one of the most representative journalists of Formula 1. I was so nervous, nevertheless they made me feel like I was at home, talking with me before and after the interview.
From there, I have to say that I tasted the pleasure of doing interviews.
R: Let's come to 10th January 2020: the opportunity to drive a real formula 3 car in a race track. What about that day?
S: It was the best day of my life, so far. Teo Martín gave me the opportunity to test each of his cars - two Honda Civic Type-R, the Mclaren 570S GT4 and the Formula 3 - on the Jarama
I had a very good feeling about all the cars, but with the Formula 3 I felt a special connection. I love single-seaters. I felt that we were one, the car and I. And every lap I felt faster and faster.
R: Do you have a role model?
S: Since I was a child, my role model has been Fernando Alonso. I admire him. It does not matter which car he takes, he makes it fast.
R: Tell us about your meeting with Fernando Alonso and when you had the opportunity to race against him during an endurance karting event.
S: I admire Fernando for his humility, honesty, hard-working and speed on every car.
I was lucky to meet him and I checked all his qualities. We were talking about the race and the races in which he will take part.
Inside the track he was a spectacle, he was flying on the track.
R: What role does your family play in your sport? Have they always supported your dream?
S: They play a fundamental part for the simple reason that they always come with me and support me at the races.
Actually my parents are my main sponsor and always support me to become a great driver, both on and off the track.
R: In the past years, more and more girls have reached the spotlight in motor racing, unlike in the past when it was rarer to see females competing in important championships worldwide. What do you think about it?
S: Like you said, in the past few years there has been an increase of girls on the circuits. It has been very important in the motorsport world because it’s more and more normal. Every year there are a bigger number of girls in this sport, and their level is increasing too.
For example, at the finals for “Piloto Michelin 2019” I faced six hundred girls. This number was surprising and we are very proud.
R: Outside the racetrack, who is Sandra Gomez? How would you describe youself?
S: From my point of view, the talent has to be trained out of the track.
I’m a person who has always done sports, since I was young. I love to get myself better. I always try to learn from all the people around me.
R: What are your passions besides motorsport?
S: My passion besides motorsport is sport. I love to ski and dance. In general I love extreme sports.
R: What do your racing program look like in this challenging 2020 season?
S: Some championships have been canceled until further notice. The ones like “Kart World Championship”, have been deferred to 2021. Others have maintained their calendars and the same dates.
Anyhow, I should always be trained and prepared to go racing.
R: And - to conclude - our usual last question: what are your main goals for the future?
S: My main goal is to become a single-seater driver. I would like to race any category like Formula 4, Formula 3, Formula 1 or similar. I love to race cars.
"Somehow, I have always carried that passion and that feeling in my heart. I always wanted to be a Formula One driver."