Sistr Q&A with Naomi Schiff

We are so excited about our next Q&A with none other than W Series Driver Naomi Schiff. We talked to her about racing in a man’s world and what made her get into W Series.

You in a nutshell?
I’m Naomi Schiff and I’m a racing driver. I’m ambitious, competitive and always looking for the limit. Racing is my life and I’m on a mission to inspire more young women to become part of what I love.

What’s your Sistr Story?
I’ve been racing for as long as I can remember. I went to a birthday party at a karting track when I was a kid in South Africa. I had a go and was immediately hooked. Fortunately, my dad was very encouraging of all my endeavours and supported me in my dream. But, in the back of my mind, I always knew that racing was a man’s world.

Fast forward a few years to 2018, when I first heard about W Series, I couldn’t believe that it was real. Such an incredible opportunity seemed almost too good to be true. But it was real, and the series hit the racing world at the right time. It secured more coverage globally that anyone could have anticipated, and my fellow drivers and I had an opportunity like no other, a platform to showcase our talent.

What’s the main thing you’ve learnt from this experience?
I’ve recently become an Ambassador for W Series. In taking on this role, I believe that I’m in a unique position to make a difference for women by helping and inspiring them to follow their dreams, in the same way that W Series helped me to follow mine. It’s not just about becoming a racing driver. Regardless of who you are, or what you do, it’s about believing that you’re capable of doing anything and surrounding yourself by people who can help you do it.

What’s been most rewarding?
Being selected for the inaugural W Series has been the highlight of my career so far. I don’t think I truly appreciated quite how much it meant to have my efforts acknowledged on such a global platform until after the first season ended. It has been life-changing.

What are the challenges?
Being a woman in motorsport comes with two major challenges in my view. The first is the sheer cost of racing — securing funding is a huge challenge but not one that is unique to women — men have the same challenge. However, what is unique to women in my opinion is the second challenge which is always feeling like you have to prove yourself. Racing is notoriously male dominated and therefore, I feel like woman have to work extra hard to get people to take them seriously. However, I believe that W Series is challenging that mentality and it’s only a matter of time before men and women will be seen as equals on the circuit.

How can the Sistr community help you?
There are many people in our industry who think that it’s easier to just turn a blind eye to the gender imbalances that exist. In my opinion, ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power and the more people who talk about it, the better. With that in mind, the Sistr community can help by talking about the incredible work that W Series is doing to empower more women to get into motorsport, whether as drivers, mechanics, engineers and support staff. And, if anyone in the community feels that they might like to help tell our story, don’t hesitate to get in touch.