The first round of the thirtieth edition of the Prancing Horse one-make championship features the return in style of the Gostner family, which includes the father Thomas and children David, Corinna and Manuela. We looked back with the latter over her racing experience in the break between Ferrari Challenge races at Portimão.
“A very chance start,” explains the South Tyrolean, CDP - MP Racing driver. “Car racing was never my dream. My sister and I were happy enough to go and cheer on our father and brother. But once, before a 2014 Ferrari Challenge round in Brno, my father and brother Thomas were suddenly unable to participate in the race due to work commitments, and my father said to me: “Why don’t you race? The car is free” as if he were suggesting a weekend ski trip. I tried, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was very nervous, but it was fantastic: to compete in a motor race and with a car like Ferrari is incredible. It was a different start to other drivers, but I thank my dad because he pushed me to do it”.
From there on, improvements and rising performances before the jump into GT racing. “In the Ferrari Challenge, I had the chance to meet Deborah Mayer, an extraordinary driver and woman with an immense vision”, Manuela continued. “She dreamed of creating a women’s team that would be capable of participating in the world’s biggest races. So she organised tests at Le Castellet with the Ferrari 488 GT3, at the end of which Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and I were chosen. We three are the ones who started this journey. In recent years, women have made great strides in the world of motorsport and sport in general. Today, seeing the young Doriane Pin win the first race of the Trofeo Pirelli 2022 was very emotional and touched my heart”. The Iron Dame’s career has seen her compete in some of the most iconic endurance marathons.
She continued: “When I took part in the Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it was incredible. I felt the same sensations as the first time I climbed into a racing car at Brno. Racing with our coaches and motorsport champions was thrilling. I remember when the first LMP1 passed me at Le Mans. It was the first time I’d heard its sound. Fernando Alonso was at the wheel of that prototype. It was he who overtook me. I jumped in my seat. Unbelievable”.
These were the beginnings, but Manuela is looking ahead ever more ambitiously: “My dream is to race in the United States, maybe in a championship like IMSA”. Good luck, Manuela, and for now, have a great Ferrari Challenge.