Race Driver Fabienne Lanz Points Out The Key Elements To Her Success

by | May 25, 2023 | Profile

As one of South Africa’s top female racing drivers, Fabienne Lanz has made a name for herself both locally and internationally, earning numerous accolades and becoming a driving champion.

Life In The Fast Lane

Fabienne spent her childhood in the vibrant cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. However, it was during her teenage years that she truly found solace on a plot she called home. This plot allowed her to be her authentic self, embracing freedom, an active lifestyle, and a deep connection with nature. It served as a perfect counterbalance to the constant noise and speed of motorsport.

Growing up, Fabienne’s father played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for racing. With his own experience as a racer and his extensive knowledge of cars, he became a significant influence in her life. Despite enjoying typical activities like playing with Barbie dolls and attending ballet classes, Fabienne found herself equally captivated by the thrill of driving and racing karts. It was at the tender age of nine that her father introduced her to a racetrack, where she took the wheel of her first kart. From that moment on, her drive and determination never wavered and she was forever drawn into the world of motorsport. To this day, Fabienne continues to pursue her passion for driving and competing. Presently, she races a turbocharged Golf 5 GTI car.

“While motorsport may not be as prominent in South Africa as it is in other parts of the world. The country boasts a remarkable calibre of drivers who are truly exceptional,” she adds. Winning races in South Africa carries significant weight and Fabienne is confident in her abilities to compete on a global stage. She aspires to seize the opportunity to race in the world GT3 stage, ready to showcase her skills and make a mark on the international motorsport scene.

WH had the opportunity to meet Fabienne and spend the day with her on the track. 

Women In Motorsport

Women have made significant progress in motorsport. But there’s still a lot to be done to encourage more women to pursue careers in motorsport, and Fabienne agrees. “I would like to see more car and kart brands develop cars to suit the anatomy of women. This creates a platform for women to be able to compete on a level playing field,” explains Fabienne.

“Many times I struggle to get my voice heard because there is still a stigma around women driving professionally even though it’s 2023.”

“The challenges I have faced have taught me to be extremely precise and meticulous in everything I do, which has made me a very technical driver because I do not want to be told I do not know about my driving. I value these growing pains as it has made me resilient to adversity.” And what she’s thankful for today? “I’m also grateful to be privileged enough to pass the knowledge to the younger generation of today. I use my knowledge to give back to the sport and with initiatives like the Girls Camp, I can provide a platform to educate and guide as best as I can and push a way forward for other girls like me.”

Her passion for the sport extends beyond her own success, as she now coaches children and inspires them to pursue their own dreams. Through her dedication to racing and her commitment to empowering the next generation, Fabienne Lanz is a true inspiration and role model in the world of motorsports.

READ MORE: Here Are The Ridiculous Disses This Sportswoman Has Had To Deal With

Fast Life Lessons

Fabienne has spoken in the past about the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Her advice she’d give young women who are interested in pursuing a career in motorsport? “Where do I start? When I am passionate about something I am incredibly determined to see it through. I race because I love to piece all the variables together to win,” explains Fabienne. “My goal is far bigger than the men that have tried to intimidate me. So my advice is to let passion lead you and to focus on your goal. This way when the imposter syndrome tries to creep in, you can remind yourself that your goal is bigger than the intimidation.”

Always give 100 percent in everything you do, trust the process and you will persevere.

How To Stay Motivated

As someone who has achieved so much in her career, there are a few things that motivate her to keep pushing herself. “The sky’s the limit. I strive for my goals to scare me, otherwise, they are not big enough. Having recently created a vision board which I do often and giving talks at various schools, I have come to realise how we never stop growing and learning new things every day. It is important for me to maximise my talent and to give back where I can as I continue my journey in life.”

If she could race against any fictional character, who would it be and why? “Super Mario Kart! The one with the bananas that force me to slip the slingshot shells is so fun,” says Fabienne. “There are variables that remind me of real motor racing. So many things can go wrong, very much like the challenges Formula E comes with as well. The tracks are super challenging at times and extremely creative. I enjoy this game and can play it on any given Sunday.”

Stand Out Moments

Fabienne has competed in races all over the world. “My favourite race event, to be honest, I cannot choose, however, there are two that stand out in my experience. One was in 2007 at Lonato Italy Rok World Final. I finished P5, I was the first woman on the podium ever and I got the nickname, the fast girl from the south.” We gotta love that one.

“The second was on the same Circuit in the year 2018 at the Rok Shifter World Final. It was a challenge. I started driving I was in position 14, I dropped the clutch as I struggled to hold it around the curves of the track so I was being passed and I fell behind down to the 32nd position. I gained momentum again and worked my way up to P16 with the fastest time during that lap whilst overtaking as well as winning the Ladies Trophy.”

“My favourite track is a local South African one, the iDube Raceway in Pietermaritzburg. It is a roller coaster of note. A beautiful track in the mountains where each corner is off-chamber and either going uphill or downhill. It is a track of extreme precision and I need to trust my kart. I have a successful record there in Pole Position, drove the fastest lap in each heat (3) and won all 3 heats. My fellow drivers have anointed me as the King / Queen of the hills at this circuit.” She’s a Queen indeed. 

Understand Racing 101

Fabienne shares terms you would typically hear on the track.

Hairpin: This is typically one of the tightest/slowest corners/turns on the track. A hairpin requires a full 180-degree turn from where the driver enters and later exits the corner.

Fishtail: This is a common term used to describe a scenario in which the rear end of a car begins to sway from side to side, due to loss of control. Much like the movement of a fish’s tail.

Cook the brakes: This phrase is commonly used in reference to an action caused by a driver overusing the car’s brakes. Essentially, it means that the brakes have been overheated.

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