Today we meet Renee Brinkerhoff, who is one of the only women drivers to compete and succeed in what is known as the most dangerous road race of its kind in the world. But Renee is not all about Porsche racecar and La Carrera Panamericana. She i salso there to help other women be stronger and reach out for their best.
Okay, but let’s start with the car and racing because that is where it has all begun.
Likonic: What do you specifically like about the 356?
Renee Brinkerhoff: The raw driving experience. The skill the car requires from the driver to achieve competitive performance. No modern features to correct for driver error. The 50s classic shape of the car and its beautiful big curves.
What would you change in your Porsche and, actually, what have you?
The only thing I would like to add to the car is 911 windshield wipers. This car was originally prepared for the sport menor class in La Carrera Panamericana. Because of its legacy in that race, we have not changed the build since then, other than to strengthen the suspension for gravel roads.
A woman behind the rally wheel is still an uncommon sight, do you think you know why?
I have thought about this often and do not have an answer. It may be that women don’t typically gravitate toward racing though many women have a great appreciation for cars. It may be that they aren’t exposed to motorsports from a young age. From my experience, women who race are very competent and can have greater success than many male racers.
As a woman and a mother, what your life advice would be for girls worldwide?
To value their femininity. To match strength with grace. To not try to be like a man or better than a man, but to be their individual very best. We are different than men and that is a unique and beautiful thing. To reach for their God gifted potential. To not listen to naysayers or their own doubts. To follow their heart and passion. To reach for something outside their comfort zone to allow growth and change to happen. To think of themselves as a person first and woman second. As women, we are given a unique capacity and ability to comfort and encourage others, so do everything you can to help and care for those in your life’s path, wherever and however you can.
We met during one of the most gruelling events, the Peking to Paris 2019, how do you rate it among the ones you have participated so far?
With great respect and admiration for all those who run this event and the difficulty it poses to complete it, I would not consider it the most difficult event we have participated in. We definitely had our mechanical troubles but these were simply, avoidable problems which we created by our own lack of attention.
Sure, you remember the Mongolia and Russia part of the event, any particular memories from Poland?
Yes, its beauty from every aspect! Its landscape, the architecture, the warmth of the people ,and its rich culture and heritage. And, definitely the fabulous picturesque roads we enjoyed driving in the 356.
Back to business, what are the plans for the immediate future for Valkyrie Racing?
Currently, we are preparing the car, and training the in-car team for the most difficult off-road rally yet, the East African Safari Classic. It will be a great challenge for the car and the team, but we love a challenge and are looking forward to it with much anticipation.
Thanks and, well, we keep our fingers crossed for your and the Team’s succeess.
Editor would like to thank Christina Brinkerhoff for all her assistance.