Interview with Audi race driver Rahel Frey
Rahel Frey lives in two worlds as an Audi Sport customer racing driver: in the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Asian drivers in the Audi one-make cup. In Europe, the Swiss lady pursues her career in the ADAC GT Masters and with the Audi driving experience. And lives her dream in the process.
"The Cup is evolving constantly. The competition is really good."
Audi Sport Magazine: You contest your third season in the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Asia this year. What has changed in the Audi onemake cup during this period?
Rahel Frey: The Cup is evolving constantly. The competition is really good. The media interest throughout Asia has grown considerably and in the technical area more development has occurred, which has had an extremely positive effect.
What exactly does this mean?
There were several innovations for the 2015 season. One example is the new Super Pole qualifying: 15 minutes qualifying to start followed by a single Super Pole lap for the top 8. This makes everything more exciting and nail biting – for the spectators as well as the drivers.
What changes are there for 2015?
The first race features a standing start, the second still a flying start. With as many as 22 Cup cars on the grid, this is an extra spectacle for the spectators. It’s really loud. (laughs)
Lightweights like you have lost an alleged advantage this year. In the R8 LMS Cup this season, every driver must weigh in at 80 kilos.
Whoever is too light receives ballast in their car. How much does this slow you down? Quite honestly, I’m happy that this subject is finally over and done with. You can’t imagine how often I had to hear that I had an advantage compared to the heavier drivers! Now I have quite some ballast in the car. No problem for me.
Back to the R8 LMS Cup. In your opinion, how will the one-make cup evolve over the next few years?
The development is positive. Taiwan has been added as venue for 2015. Now we race in five countries. I’d like the Cup to continue. But it’s a financial questions as well as a logistical one. The easiest solution would be to race in the Cup for a fifth year with the same cars. But the bar is constantly rising of course.
You are not just a driver, but in fact also a type of coaching assistant for the Asian competitors.
It’s part of my job to analyse data with the gentlemen drivers and to give them tips. Every driver has access to the data. Occasionally this is a disadvantage, but developing all the participants is the main focus. Many benefit from this, for example the Chinese drivers, which is good.
You travel regularly to Asia. Do you also spend a lot of time there?
To be honest no. I normally travel on Wednesday or Thursday before the race weekend and try to get a flight back home on Sunday night. I love Switzerland too much, the nature, the good food. However, this all functions exceptionally well, also with the time difference. I’m very disciplined, sleep a lot and always try to relax between the races to be in top form.
You contest your fifth season as Audi driver this year. What are
your sporting expectations for 2015?
In the R8 LMS Cup the goal is obviously overall victory. Then I also drive with Philip Geipel for YACO Racing in the ADAC GT Masters. With the Audi R8 LMS ultra we want to score points and our goal is of course to be best Audi team.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup started its fourth season. In the Pan-Asian Audi one-make cup, as many as 22 competitors compete in two thrilling sprint races at each of the six race weekends. The 2012 established racing series visits Taiwan for the first time this year. Additionally, the season calendar includes events in China, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan.
Do you also drive an Audi R8 privately?
No, I only have this pleasure when I’m busy with the Audi driving experience. However, I always have to take a lot of luggage to the races. Which is why I currently drive an Audi SQ5. It’s a super estate car where sportiness and comfort fit perfectly together.
To finish, a look into the future: how do your plans look beyond 2015?
I really hope that that I can drive for Audi for a few more years.
Competing in a 24-hour race with a team of top drivers would be
fantastic, or the classics in Daytona or Sebring. To achieve this, I
live my motto “Go fast and never ever give up” every day.
Interview: Lukas Stelmaszyk
Photos: AUDI AG, Audi R8 LMS Cup
Fuel consumption Audi R8 in l/100 km combined: 14.9–12.4; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 349–289, EU5. Fuel consumption Audi SQ 5 in l/100 km combined: 6.6; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 174, EU6. Information about fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as efficiency classes and ranges are subject to tyres/tyre sets used.
Rahel Frey was born in Niederbipp (CH), and started her motorsport career in karts at the age of twelve. She collected experience in single-seater and GT racing, before becoming an Audi factory driver in 2011. After two years in the DTM, she returned to GT racing where she became the first woman to win an Audi R8 LMS Cup race. In addition to the Audi one-make cup, the 29-year old drives in the ADAC GT Masters and as an instructor for the Audi driving experience.