Rising Stars Profile Vol.9 – Laura Camps Torras & Nea Kytölä

FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars special series

Last year, FIA launched FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program. 20 girls went into the selection, and Maya Weug came out on top, joining Ferrari Driver Academy and debuting in Italian F4 Championship for Iron Lynx this season. This year, the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program came back bigger and better. Two groups of girls, 14 in the Senior Category and 14 in the Junior Category, will go into the three-day shoot-out from the 21st to 23rd of October at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

We continue rolling out the profiles of drivers participating in the program. Today, we give you Laura Camps Torras in the Senior Category and Nea Kytölä in the Junior Category.

Laura Camps Torras

Laura Camps Torras is 16 years old from Spain. Laura started karting at the age of 10. She won her first karting race in the Valencian Karting Championship at the Lucas Guerrero de Chiva International Circuit in October 2020. She currently competes in the Spanish Championship (CEK) in KZ category with Faluga Racing.

Photos © Laura Camps Torras

Paddock Sorority (PS): Can you tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you started karting? How was your first experience in a go-kart?

Laura Camps Torras (LC): My story is a little messy. For most other drivers, it was because their parents own this and that and then they were introduced to racing. It wasn’t as straight for me. When I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, once my dad took me to a rental karting track. It was fun, but I actually don’t remember much about that time. He then registered me into a karting program here in Catalunya. The program was just to introduced you to the motorsport world. It was meant for drivers who don’t have experience, but everyone else in the program already had some experience. I didn’t know even how to turn the wheel. My dad just bought me a kart and we were training in a circuit. Then my dad created a karting club to organize races, and he was like, ‘you are gonna race’. After maybe 3 years of that, he said ‘we’re gonna race in the Spanish and Catalan Championship’. That was 3 years ago. It was just so awesome for me. My dad was really excited about it. I am happy for him. Now that karting is my life and I don’t know where I would be without it, my dad is also excited for me.

PS: Your dad has been very fundamental to your career, was there a time you yourself decided you want a career as a professional driver?

LC: My dad said if at some point, I say I don’t want to race any more, we will leave it behind. I was excited about the races he organized. He gave me an engine from the Spanish Championship, and two years later, I’m racing in the Spanish Championship. I’m also inspired by some girls in the paddock who are very good at racing, for example Marta Garcia, Belen Garcia, Nerea Marti who are all now in the W Series. They are iconic women for me. I want to try to push myself to be like them. I’ve talked to Belen on Instagram. I did a project for entrepreneurship, and I asked for her help. I raced together with Nerea in the KZ category. It is a pleasure to race with women who have a lot of experience in the karting world.

PS: Are they your racing idol?

LC: My racing idol is Jamie Chadwick. Even though she’s not currently Williams race driver, maybe in a few years we see her in Formula 1. Also Maria de Villota, who tested Formula 1 but tragically died. Not many women have been there. It’s just a challenge to get there. I will try to go there as well. I will not lose anything, just try and give my best.

PS: Those are great inspirations, so from whom did you learn the most about racing and driving?

LC: I have a coach and we are very focused on our objectives. We have to achieve some things. I’m now teammate with the driver who is now winning the Spanish Championship. Four weeks ago, we were together to prepare for a race. We were there for 4 days, and he taught me a lot. We were talking through videos, data, and he was teaching me a lot and helping me.

PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?

LC: I’ve won an race in KZ, but that wasn’t my best memory. I was excited about the result, but it wasn’t an exciting race for me. My best memory was actually the 2019 season. It was a very bad season for me. We weren’t getting the result we were expecting. But then in one race, I managed to go from P28 to P15 in three corners. I think that was my best memory although it didn’t end very well because some car passed me from over my head.

PS: How are you juggling school work, training, and racing?

LC: I go to school, do my classes every day. I finished secondary school. I was doing 9-to-5 classes, some days from 9 to 4. Sometimes I would go to school earlier to train. Now I’m doing 9-to-3 classes. I will have more time to train, to go to the track, and prepare. Physical preparation for karting is very important.

PS: Did you follow the selection progress from last year? How are you preparing for the selection in October?

LC: I’ve seen the videos. I’m a fan of Maya’s. I know it’s not only track work. It’s also about how you communicate with your mechanics, how you understand data, how you speak in the public and interact with other girls. My physical preparation is OK. I’m training two and half hours each day in the summer. I don’t really know what we will be facing there, but I’m really calm, it’s gonna be good. This is a great opportunity for all the girls selected to show the world we are good drivers. I don’t know if I’ll be in the final four or going home in the first shoot-out. But I’ll just go for it.

PS: What are your strengths as a driver? If you want to keep going up the ladder, what do you need to still work on?

LC: When we are on the track, I learn things very fast. But maybe I should be more aggressive or making my moves faster, because that’s one thing that has always kept me behind. I would hesitate on when and where, and then when I finally decide to pass, the finish line is right there.

My driving skills are very good. I also think I can work very well with other people. Teamwork is very important in all the schools I’ve attended. So that’s how I was pushed to have very good communication skills and know how to work with others.

Nea Kytölä

Nea Kytölä is 13 years old from Finland. Inspired by her mother, Nea started karting at the age of four. This season, Nea competes in the IAME Series Finland in the X30 Junior category.

Photos © Nea Kytölä

Paddock Sorority (PS): Can you tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you started karting? How was your first experience in a go-kart?

Nea Kytölä (NK): My first time driving go-kart was when I was four years old. I started karting trough my Mother. She was driving for seven years when she was younger (it was at the same time with Emma Kimilainen and Valterri Bottas). My grandparents tought that I would want to drive as well, so they bought me a kart, and they were right about that I would like to drive go-karts. 

PS: What made you decide you want a career as a professional driver?

NK: I always wanted to do something with motorsport as a job.

PS: How are your family supporting you in your career?

NK: My father doesn’t support me at all at karting. But my Mother is always supporting me. She is my mechanic.

Nea with Marko Alahuhta

PS: From whom did you learn the most about racing and driving?

NK: Absolutely from my driving coach Marko Alahuhta. Physic-training side is from Jani Backman.

Nea with Jani Backman

PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?

NK: I have a lot of good memories from karting, but my best memory is from Honkajoki when I was so close to podium early this September.

PS: Has there been a very difficult time in your career? How did you get through it?

NK: Yes. When my Mother and father was gonna break up my father didn’t want me to drive, but me and my mom just keep going to tracks.

PS: How are you juggling school work, training, and racing?

NK: Usually after school I do my homework and then I just go ride a bike.

PS: What are your strengths as a driver? If you want to keep going up the ladder, what do you need to still work on?

NK: I’m strong at over take situations. I’m weakest at qualifyings.

PS: How are you preparing for the selection in October?

NK: I have been doing physical training a lot.


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