Vivien Schöllhorn: "In the car I feel free"
After winning the Audi R8 Cup Junior class title at her first season in GT4, Vivien Schöllhorn has now graduated to GTC, where she continues to learn and develop every weekend.
We had the chance to chat with the young German up-and-coming talent who dreams of the top GT championships.
In 2021, Vivien Schöllhorn was just starting out her racing journey in GT4 machinery, only at her second year in motor racing, she entered the Audi R8 Cup, following in the footsteps of Rahel Frey, Vivien Keszthelyi and Sophie Hofmann - among the most recent female entries in the GT4-based championship that has provided young drivers with a great platform to climb the ladder of GT racing. And she achieved the Junior Championship straight away in her first year in the series, finishing fifth in the overall standings.
This year, Schöllhorn made a further step up on the ladder of GT racing and announced a full-season commitment in the German-based GTC Race championship, sharing the Eastside Motorsport's #4 Mercedes AMG GT4 with Dominique Schaak. She had a promising start into the season at the first weekend at Oschersleben and, after two more race events at Lausitzring and Nürburgring she is now aiming for more!
We had the chance to catch up with the young German racer to discover more about her early stages of her career as well as her dreams and hopes for the future.
"I'm Vivien, I'm 18 years old and I race cars" - this is how Schöllhorn introduces herself.
"I'm also studying management and marketing in Munich", she adds. "I started in motorsport in 2020, in the Renault Clio Cup Central Europe and competed in the Audi R8 Cup in 2021."
Racers: What does motorsport mean to you?
Vivien Schöllhorn: "I got into motorsport through my dad. I used to be with him all the time, watched his races and always wanted to drive like that. Motorsport connects me with my dad and became our sort of common interest and passion."
"And I also love sitting in the car and just enjoying the moment: there I feel free and carefree."
R: How have you come through the last two years with Covid? 2020 was your first time in the sport, and you could only contest two race weekends. Was it frustrating for you?
V: "Both 2020 and 2021 were marked by many cancellations, but the experiences and successes at the races were more beautiful and enriching for me as races took place."
R: Do you see a clear advantage in having spectators on track during races? What does it mean for you personally, as a racing driver, to meet fans on track or see them in the grandstands?
V: "Yes absolutely. I clearly see the advantage of having spectators at race weekends, because you either can share your successes or people are there for you on your bad days. The first time there were around 20,000 spectators at the track in Assen, which was really a great experience."
R: In 2021 you raced in the Audi R8 Cup - and immediately won the junior title. Are you satisfied with your season or do you sometimes have hoped for more?
V: "I'm definitely happy with my development as I've been improving in every race and could increase and gain more experience. But of course when I'm looking back at some races, I still see my lack of training and experience - and wish I had handled some things differently."
"I had unfortunately technical problems with my car in three races, but I'm satisfied that I was always able to finish the races and didn't give up."
R: The R8 Cup was only your second season in motorsport - have you ever been sat in a kart before?
V: "When I was little, it was always my dream to go kart racing, but unfortunately it never happened."
R: What is your long-term goal in motorsport? Any specific series you'd like to drive in or titles you'd like to win?
V: "It has always been a dream of mine to drive in the DTM and it is still one of my goals."
"But racing series like the GT Masters would definitely be one of my goals. W Series would also be an idea, because I would love to drive a formula car. I also think races like the 24 hours of Nürburgring or the 24 hours of Dubai are mega."
R: What do you think about projects like Girls Only in the NLS or Iron Dames? Do you think the world needs projects like these to keep increasing the presence of women in motorsport and inspiring them?
V: "It's incredible what these projects have already achieved and I'm curious to see what is yet to come. To show that all-female teams can keep up is definitely a step in the right direction, but not the only one to gain a foothold in motorsport as a woman."
R: Do you think that you have had a harder time in motorsport than your male colleagues? In terms of acceptance, finding a team, sponsors?
V: "Based on the experiences I have had so far, you will definitely be accepted as a woman. However, I would say that you are not taken very seriously at first. Women in motorsport are rather rare, so more attention is paid to them. Which can be a curse or a blessing."
R: Where do you see yourself in five years?
V: "Definitely in the GT3 area. My goal is to later drive in the ADAC GT Masters and the DTM."
After three weekends in the GTC series, Vivien Schöllhorn continues to collect crucial experience and mileage in the Mercedes AMG GT4 machine, as she battles for points and aims for class podiums. The next event will take place at Assen from 26th to 28th August.