In the Driver’s Seat with Stephanie Cemo
Jager Racing is honored to interview our first ever female driver for the Driver’s Seat. For this inaugural event, we were able to score some time with the talented & beautiful Stephanie Cemo. We have no doubt that after reading our interview with her, she’ll be your WCW, too.
Jager Racing(JR): First, let’s talk about your car and its major modifications…
Stephanie Cemo (SC): The Zr1 is completely stock with the exception of an APR GT500 wing, seats/harnesses and slicks and as a result, it’s my “go-to” because of that. But most of the main parts have been replaced and that includes the engine! The Z06 has a ton of modifications. I am afraid I might bore your audience listing them all. The engine is currently being completely rebuilt … I am itchin’ to get it back in a few weeks! Here are some of the mods outside of the engine since it is changing substantially:
Suspension: Pfadt Heavy Rate Front & Rear Sway Bars, Pfadt C6 Z06 Spherical Bearing Kit , Race Spherical Bearings, Pfadt C6 Z06 Transmission Mounts, Pfadt C6Z Solid Engine Mount Kit, Penske 3 way adjustable Coilovers w/Remote reservoirs
Brakes: Brembo 6-Piston Monoblock | 380×34 mm (15″) | 2-Piece Discs Type III High Thermal Front, Brembo 4-Piston Monoblock | 345×28 mm (13.6″) | 2-Piece Discs Rear, Hawk DTC70 Front pads, DTC60 Rear pads, Stainless Steel Brake Lines, Motul RB600 Racing Brake Fluid
Also equipped with a G2X RacePak data acquisition; Cool Suit, Dual Oil Coolers, Dual Brake Cooling Ducts and is fully caged.
JR: Does your car happen to have a name? If so, is there a story behind it?
SC: The ZR1 name is Sasha … because she looks bitchy! Lol … And the racecar … EL DIABLO, because it is a pain in my ass.
SC: My plans were to run in Time Attack and race in both SCCA GT2 and NASA ST1 this year; however, there have been some hitches. I attended my first SCCA Majors race at ACS at the end of January of this year and had some unfavorable luck. To start off, my timing was not working in Q1 and someone told me that even though I qualified only .211 of a second off the second place driver in Q2 (GT2), I had to start in the back. This was not correct. I was so nervous I thought I would be sick and figured it would be better to start in the back so I could control the pace. WRONG! I ended up getting taken out on the sixth corner by a guy trying to win the race on the first lap. The damage wasn’t too bad and thanks to several awesome guys, Ken Suen doing the majority of the work with the exception of some guys taking my radiator back to their shop in OC to weld it, they pieced the car back together by 1:30AM and I was able to pass tech the next morning to run the second race. After coming back in from a few test laps, I noticed my oil pressure was at 10PSI … so I backed out of the race and the car went to the engine builder for a checkup. It has been there ever since.
I will say, the vette won the battle!
JR: Do you have any sort of training regimen, physical or psychological, to prep for racing?
SC: I try to do what everyone does–eat right and exercise weekly. Psychologically, if it is a track that is new to me, I watch videos over and over. Otherwise, I just jump in the car and go.
JR: What motivates you?
SC: FASTER DRIVERS! While my family is not supportive of this endeavor, as a little girl I have always wanted to be a racecar driver. There is something in me that craves not only going fast, but more than anything … beating myself and becoming better. And for that, I must give credit to the faster drivers out there that have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and up to the next levels. However, I will say that I have felt the ego come through when I have beat some of these male drivers (lol) and as a result, I feel that it has been important for me to get to know as many of these guys as I can to take off the edge. Women in this sport are popping up everywhere, so the men need to get used to it! Racing a car takes minimal physical strength and for the most part, I feel that being a good driver is feeling the car and being able to finesse it.
JR: If you had to pick one song to be your driving anthem, what would it be?
JR: Why do you think there are so few female drivers on the scene? What advice would you give a woman interested in racing?
SC: I don’t know why there are a limited amount of female drivers … especially driving in the faster classes. Every time I see a female driver I do my best to go and introduce myself. I am stoked to see them out there! We definitely need more. As far as advice, I would say just get out there. Take your own car out to a track day and feel it out. If any female reading this would like help … they can contact me personally. I would be honored. But be careful … racing cars is an addiction there is no cure for.
JR: What’s the one improvement you think time attacks in general could make to better both the experience and scene?
SC: I am fairly new to Time Attack, but my favorite thing about time attack is the people. While the racecar has been down, I have been lucky to compete in RTA and GTA. I love going to these events… there are some very fast drivers! There are only two things I can think of as far as improvements. One being more unlimited class drivers. I find the field is pretty slim with respect to the unlimited class. And the second thing would be better coverage of the events in magazines and online outlets to help drivers gain more sponsorship dollars. After all … exposure sells parts!
JR: Stephanie, thank you so much for sitting down with us & being our first woman in the driver’s seat! Best of luck to you in all your future racing endeavors.
SC: Thank you for asking me for this interview Jager Racing! It means a lot to me … ❤
And thank you sponsors! APR Performance, HRE Performance Wheels, K&N Filters, JE Pistons, Sparco, Redline Synthetic Oil, JP Logistics