Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Driver Spotlight: Michele Bumgarner

Michele Bumgarner

Michele has had a racing career that many people dream of. She has raced all over the world Italy, Asia, and the US. She participated in Asia-Pacific Karting Championships Japan, Shell Super Karting Series, Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC), and the Italian Masters Series. In Rock Island, Illinois she won back to back Rock Island Grand Prix street races in 2008 and 2009. Michele has also experienced other forms of racing such as competing in Asian Formula Three Championship, 2008 Star Mazda Championship, and testing a few times with Indy Lights.

Michele's racing career began in karts when she was 6 years old at her father's fun kart track in Subic Bay. Her father raced karts all over the Philippines and would bring the family along. When Michele's brother was 5 years old he got a mini kart and she was jealous. She asked her father for one and according to Michele "the rest was history." With all of her success she was able to travel and race in many different places. Michele's favorite experience, "without a doubt my two years racing karts in Italy. Don't get me wrong, I love racing cars and going up the ladder, but nothing compares to the competitiveness and the atmosphere that every race weekend always felt like a World Championship Race was simply amazing!" Traveling the world racing has other benefits as well. Her favorite aspects about traveling are, "definitely meeting different people from different cultures and trying their local food."

Michele is a successful woman in the sport of racing. I asked her if she experienced any challenges that come with that. "Being a woman in a man dominated sport, you have to expect it so I don't think about it too much. But there was one incident that I won't ever forget that made me realized that I was respected equally as a driver. It was in 2005, Asia Pacific ICA Championship in Suzuka, Japan and I had won a heat race against top drivers from all over the world, including factory driver for Intrepid at the time, Jaime Alguersuari, had clinched the fastest lap and was the first ever female to do so at such a prestigious event. After the race, Jaime, his mechanic and Intrepid Karts owner Mirko Squerzoni and others around the paddock all gave me hugs and congratulated me. To have those respected people in the racing industry do that was just very surreal for me and one that I will never forget."

Michele loves every aspect of racing. She looks forward to her next racing venture which is still in the works. She promises to keep us posted!!

To follow Michele Bumgarner visit her Facebook Page or follow her on Twitter.

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