Everyone I know and everyone I have met in this world knows that sports cars, racing, and challenge are in my blood—this is not a secret. These things are a part of me; they’re a part of my life, and I can’t take them out of my heart. My passion for motorsports began with Formula 1. On Sunday mornings, my father and I would watch Ayrton Senna drive as no one else in this world had ever driven. I will never forget when he won his first race, scoring a triumph for McLaren in Brazil on March 24, 1991 where he finishes the last seven laps with the car stuck in 6th gear. And how about his “spiritual racing experience” in Monte Carlo at the Monaco Grand Prix on May 14, 1988 where he crashed on lap 67 of 78. Wow! Unforgettable.
But to better explain what made me fall in love with motorsports and the world of exotic and powerful cars, let me share one of my strongest and most favorite memories of Ayrton Senna. It was during the sensational opening lap of Donington at the European Grand Prix in April 1993 in which he passed four drivers—Michael Schumacher, Karl Wendlinger, Damon Hill and Alain Prost—to take the lead in a single lap in torrential rain conditions. He was brilliant! My father and Ayrton Senna infected me with this powerful and amazing virus that penetrated my heart—the sort of virus that leaves you with an extraordinary force, passion, and determination and makes you want to win at everything you do in life. I can’t fully explain. I just know that I love racing and that it is a great and unconditional pleasure in my life. The sensation it gives is unique. When you are approaching your limits, your adrenaline increases, your heart thumps in your chest, and your breath becomes heavy; because in this moment, you exist in a different dimension.
Driving a sports car—a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Maserati, Aston Martin, Mustang, Audi, BMW, or Mercedes—is a sensational experience, but it becomes even more extraordinary when you understand driving and approach the practice with knowledge, passion, and emotion. This allows you to extract the best out of what your car has to offer and enhances your driving experience. Believe it or not, this is not very different from what you must do in your everyday life. To help you understand my point, let us engage in a friendly, and virtual, race. Are you ready?
When you love racing, you know that you are constantly at risk. Risk is part of the sport. Life, too, can be a race, and understanding which “car” you are can help you win races very easily. Besides my professional life, I have experienced various kinds of races like 4×4 rally off road and private racing in the region of Amazonia, Brazil. These experiences have given me the self-confidence necessary to challenge and develop myself in very difficult job environments and different countries; they have also taught me to be strong, to endure stress, to deal with pressure, to fight, and to speak to men as one and be respected. As in life, racing demands that you understand your car and follow basic rules in order to make your best time and drive like a champion.
For my virtual race with you, I will choose the dream 458 Italia’s, Ferrari’s two-seat, mid-rear engine, exotic sports coupe. It is powerful, light and compact, high performing product of prodigious technology with a design that integrates style and passion. A 4.5L V8 engine that sends power through its 7-speed dual clutch transmission, which produces 570 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, it goes from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.4 seconds. All the main controls are clustered directly on the steering wheel increasing the precision and accuracy of your driving experience with F1-style. Stop!!!!! Wait a minute! Too much information, I know. Don’t worry; the most important thing you need to understand is that this car is a very good one. So warm up, and let’s go!
Where do you want to go? As in racing, you should always look forward, because you must anticipate your actions. Your biggest challenge is yourself, and you are often racing against time. If you waste it with the wrong attitude, you can cost yourself, say, a year—a year in which you have lived for nothing. As a good race driver, you will want to start in a pole position; this will allow you to be the best and to go faster than anyone else in your quest to reach the podium.
Race drivers have fast and powerful cars with incredible horsepower; in life, this is known as your motivation, your determination to arrive at your desired destination. However, pit stops will often be necessary. Just make sure you use these pit stops to refuel your energy, and try not to indulge in them too frequently. After all, you must not forget that you’re racing against time. And in case of a serious accident that requires you to receive special care, don’t worry! Just call the safety car: your family and close friends, who are always there to help you be strong and to remember why you are in this race.
In life, you want to be fast, so make sure that when you need to dodge an obstacle, you check your traction. I refer to this as your confidence, and you must determine whether you have grip enough to focus on what lies ahead. Life will also throw curves your way; these will either be open curves, blind curves, or closed curves. All you have to do is decide on the best APEX, the fastest line of the curve that will allow you to gain valuable seconds of advantage and reaccelerating.
When you choose to be a race driver, you must compete with others, and to overtake your competitors, you must go forward into the gap. If you do not, you are no longer a race driver. In racing, there is always the desire to push beyond your natural comfort zone, to make things happen. For me, the main motivation is, undoubtedly, the pleasure I get from completing all the laps, ending in first place, and having the opportunity to stand atop the paddock. Aside from the exhilaration of winning another trophy, racing allows you to celebrate your achievements with the people who have believed in you and supported you despite all the stress and sacrifice, despite your choice to be far from them and from many of life’s pleasures.
If I was able to make one change in my life, my one wish would be to live as a race driver, racing in Formula 1 for Ferrari. This was not my path, but it is okay. Maybe in my next life—I have already discussed the matter with God. And I can still enjoy this feeling thanks to companies like Pole Position France, who help dreams such as this come true even if a Ferrari is out of reach at the moment.
Ana Paula Mendes
I dedicate this post to my two great idols: my father and Ayrton Senna.
Both still alive in my heart and in my mind, every day, forever
Many thanks to:
My huge thanks to all members who participated and helped me achieve another blog post with enthusiasm, joy and quality. Amazing day! I loved to share this so special moment with so talented people. You are the team!!
David DLR (Red Camera Operator)
Audell LaMontagne (Photograph Assistant)
About Pole Position
It was in 1995 that the idea of Pole Position was first born. It is first and foremost a team of aficionados with a passion for automotive, who decided to allow “everyman” to drive, on circuit, a child’s dream car. Their adventure began with 3 Porsche 911 (two 911 3.2l and a Cup). For 7 years they provided driving courses with a single brand: Porsche. And In 2002, Pole Position integrated the Ferrari brand to the school with 2 F355 (a 355 Berlinetta and a Challenge). For the past 20 years, thousands of students visited Pole Position to pilot their dream cars. Today their fleet includes the most prestigious brands: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Maserati, Audi etc …