Endurance series
Sarah Ganser
Sarah Ganser has experienced shocking sexism in motorsports, but she still believes that if you really want to succeed – you can! She talks to us about persuading her parents to buy her a kart, not dolls, and about her favourite racetrack.
WHEEL SISTERS: Sarah, please introduce yourself.

Sarah: My name is Sarah Ganser. I was born on 16.04.1995 in Stolberg. I have been active in motorsports since 2005 and I started automotive sports in 2011. Since 2012 I have been founder and owner of Ganser Motorsport. Mainly I drive round and long-distance races. I mostly drive on the Nürburgring, but also on other tracks such as Zandvoort, Spa, Zolder, Hockenheim, Assen, etc.

Sarah has always been fascinated by cars and first had to convince her parents of motorsport.
Picture: private
WHEEL SISTERS: Sarah, at what age were you introduced to motorsport? And how? Can you please describe your motorsport background? 

Sarah: The interest in cars and motorised vehicles in general has always been there, but at first I was not really taken seriously by my parents and continued to get Barbies and dolls. At the age of nine I went to an indoor karting track for the first time, where the track owner saw that I might have talent. After talking to my parents, he then registered me for the upcoming race, where I was able to prove myself against an experienced competitor with a surprising third place.

So I drove in the indoor karting championship with the support of my parents, who until then had nothing to do with motorsport. Racing kart teams that trained indoors during the winter season encouraged my father to buy me my own kart and enter the sport. However, our possibilities for this were very limited, so I was only able to finish the indoor karting championship with a good third place in the overall championship. After that, I had to take a six-month break from motorsport for budget reasons.

Throughout this time, I kept asking my parents if they could buy me a kart so that I could continue driving. After a long period of scepticism, they did buy me one, which was absolutely not competitive. Nevertheless, I was able to hold my ground through some training. The results got better and better and because of that, little by little, smaller sponsors joined the team. 

WHEEL SISTERS: Have you experienced any sexism when racing, if so, how do you deal with it?

Sarah: I’ve experienced this several times. However, I would like to describe only two very formative moments…In my karting season I have often been able to take first place. In one race, which was really difficult, I was able to assert myself and finally won. At the award ceremony I stood next to my best friend, who came second, and waited for my class to be honoured. When the class was called, 5th and 6th place didn’t come forward, which surprised me a bit. When places 4 and 3 didn’t show up either, I got a little sad. But then came the most shocking thing: when my best friend wanted to get ready and go to the front, his father pulled him back at the last moment, with the words: “You will not stand under a girl! And so, in the end, I finally stood completely alone on the podium…

The second situation, which is the most current and also returns again and again, is that private messages keep coming in, with requests for more pictures in a racing suit, but in an erotic style.

we have to prove ourselves again and again, and show that we can’t be put in a pigeonhole so easily
WHEEL SISTERS: What about nowadays? Do you think attitudes to women in motorsport are changing?

Sarah: I think the opinion about women in motorsport in general has changed, but there are always negative comments. Besides, I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that women in motorsport have it easier. After all, we have to prove ourselves again and again, and show that we can’t be put in a pigeonhole so easily.

WHEEL SISTERS: You are the owner and boss of your own racing team. Who are the people around you? Who supports you? How do you manage your different tasks and responsibilities?

Sarah: Ganser Motorsport mainly consists of me, my mum and my dad. Since I still drive actively myself, the tasks are distributed.

I personally take care of the drivers, marketing and social media, driver coaching and the paperwork before the races. My mum does the bookkeeping and my dad is responsible for the entire organisation and everything to do with the cars. Then I have a few boys and girls who take care of the pit stops, the radio, etc. at the track.

At the age of 9 Sarah stared to drive kart races.
Picture: Private
WHEEL SISTERS: In your opinion, what does a successful driver of endurance races have to have in order to become successful? 

Sarah: In my opinion, being a successful driver means to always focus on the track, to really know what your personal goal is and to want nothing more than motorsport. If you think you can, you can!

WHEEL SISTERS: Which race track do you like the most? And why?

Sarah: I really like the Nürburgring very much but – and maybe some people can’t understand this –  it is not my absolute favourite race track. My absolute favourite track is Spa Francorchamps. I love the fast changes in altitude and especially the Eau Rouge, where you feel weightless for a short moment and you can’t see anything of the track but drive the corner by feeling.

If you think you can, you can!
WHEEL SISTERS: What aspects of motorsports do you love the most?

Sarah: One of the aspects is that, on the one hand, I can achieve great success in the team and I can see their happy and proud faces. On the other hand, that I’m on my own in the car and fly over the track at a very high speed, full of adrenaline.

WHEEL SISTERS: Motorsport is your hobby, what is your day job/education?

Sarah: Motorsport has long been more than just a hobby for me. It is my lifeblood. But it is also realistic to have a secure job. Because I love working with people with disabilities, I am a state-approved nurse and work in a kindergarten.

“If you think you can, you can!”
Picture: Private
WHEEL SISTERRS: What is your hobby beside the motorsport?

Sarah: I love to listen to music, I love to paint, I dance in a carnival club, I crochet sometimes and, of course, I like to meet my friends.

WHEEL SISTERS: What are your sporting goals for the future?

Sarah: One goal I want to achieve in the near future is the 24h race at the Nürburgring with my own team and car. In general, I want Ganser Motorsport to be around for a long time to come.

Motorsport has long been more than just a hobby for me. It is my lifeblood.
WHEEL SISTERRS: What would you like to say to young girls, who want to get into motorsport? 

Sarah: If you think you can, you can! Like with everything, you must never give up, because if you really want something, you can do it.

 

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