In Conversation with Racing Driver Vanessa Lai

Guest blog by Thiemo Albers-Daly

Vanessa Lai is an Italian racing driver who fell in love with rally co-driving. While still near the beginning of her motorsport career, she’s already got some good mileage and experiences under her belt. We caught up recently to chat about all of this and more, including her biggest challenge to date, her 2022 plans and most importantly, who she thinks would win in a fight between Batman and Captain America.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

What first got you interested in motorsport?

One of the first times I got interested in motor sports was really many years ago, I went to see a race close to home with my dad but then I was really little and I never thought I’d want to do it when I grow up.

Why did you choose to go into rallying instead of a different form of motorsport?

Actually, the main reason I chose rally out of all the motorsports was because of   my boyfriend. We met in high school and he was very passionate thanks to his family that has always participated in rally races. So I began to approach this world and slowly I fell in love with it so much that I wanted to start racing too.

What is the most satisfying thing for you to be a rally co-driver?

The most gratifying thing is certainly the satisfaction when you arrive on the finish line because I realize that it is also thanks to me that we have arrived there.

The relationship that is created with the driver, the adrenaline you feel when you are five seconds from the start, let’s say that they are a set of emotions that are difficult to explain in words but that once you try it you can no longer live without.

How about the opposite, what is the most challenging thing?

For me, I am still at the beginning, so the most difficult thing is being able to manage the anxiety and tension during the race. I am working hard on it and I must also thank my drivers for this because they have always done everything they can to calm me down.

Tell us a fun racing story from your life so far!

I can’t think of anything in particular, let’s say that in any situation I can find the fun part and then let’s face it! How can you not have fun in the race?

Do you have a moment that stands out most from your career?

The Rally Liburna terra, for me was the most beautiful race in which I have ever participated so far. I had to constantly challenge myself and face a more complex race than I normally do. But I came out very proud and satisfied with both what I managed to do, but above all with what I and my boyfriend managed to achieve.

What are your 2022 plans?

Doing a lot of races, a lot of experience and certainly continuing to enjoy myself as I have done up to now.

Which rallies would you love to compete in in the future that you haven’t already?

There are so many! I would like to race in the home race in Sardinia, but certainly also be able to race outside Italy.

Who are you rally role models?

In particular, I have no role model, I always try to bring out the best in me and always be myself. I am very humble for this reason, even in the race, I always accept advice from those who have more experience than me, but I must say that I really like solving situations by myself.

Do you have a favorite book?

No, I don’t like reading.

Who wins in a fight, Batman or Captain America?

Captain America. 


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