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23 August 2012

Cyndie Allemann Racing Diary, Episode 2012.07 – Back in Japan

Editor’s Note: With more Audis than ever before competing at the top levels of motor racing, there is plenty for Audi fans and motorsport enthusiasts to follow this season. One campaign and one driver in particular that we’ve been watching is Cyndie Allemann as she continues to break barriers for women in motorsport – this time at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS. Those with keen memory of Le Mans may recall that Cyndie raced a Ford GT as part of an all female squad in 2010 that also included Audi DTM driver Rahel Frey. This racing season Cyndie has been competing in Japan and, working with the talented Eric Gilbert of fame, has submitted the latest in a series about her 2012 season in both words and pictures. Her latest account is from her time just before the latest round last week at Suzuka.

Sat 2012-07-21. Suzuka City, Japan – Meeting a legend: Suzuka Circuit.
For her return back to Japan in more than two months since the race at Fuji Speedway in early May, Cyndie has a one-day meeting with a legend: the Suzuka Circuit. Many historic battles have been fought on this track, even several Formula One world championships determined. The most spectacular episodes of the legendary Senna-Prost war were raced at Suzuka. On her way to to the track, in the Tokyo to Nagoya Shinkansen, Cyndie is thinking about all those battles and how hard this circuit will be to tackle. She spends her time finalizing her analysis of the track – checking data, examining track layout and watching videos.

Obviously, she is going there for a single-day test to prepare for the Super GT feature race of the season: the famed Suzuka 1000 km. And as it has been the case for most of her on-track presence in Japan this year, rain is a factor.  She is getting used to ever-changing weather conditions, but still, this additional challenge does not help learning a new track, especially one like Suzuka. However, Cyndie enjoys those challenging conditions and rain could not deter her enthusiasm to push the limits on such a historical (and fast) track.

“Suzuka is a very impressive track. One can tell that it was built some time ago, being fairly narrow but very fast with many sweeping sequences. Finding a good rhythm there is not always easy. It was my first day ever at Suzuka and I was there to learn the track, but the weather conditions didn’t come as a great help. I could do four laps in the morning session, to discover the track and find my landmarks. In the afternoon, I did about ten laps, but with the ever-changing conditions, it was difficult to see my real progression and the grip level.”

Mon 2012-07-23 & Tue 2012-07-24. Tokyo, Japan – Business meetings, fitness and racing sim on the agenda.
Immediately after the test day at Suzuka, Cyndie returns to Tokyo for a full week, before heading out to Sugo on Friday. What could have been a week of relaxation and lounging by the hotel pool turned out to be a busy week with constant meetings and different tasks to accomplish. Early in the week, Cyndie has a few business meetings planned, trying to get a few sponsorship and partnership deals going. She pays a visit to the Race Fight Club racing simulator in Shibuya, in preparation for the Sugo round. The Super GT series only has two-hour practice sessions on Saturday, which is a huge handicap for a driver new to the circuits where events are held. Getting some virtual lap times on a high-end racing sim is definitely a good idea.

And parallel to all this, Cyndie maximizes her week in Tokyo to push her physical preparation even more than usual. Already a fitness addict, she is more than aware that her training program has to be adapted for the hot and humid Japanese summer races ahead. More endurance workout is on the program and Cyndie makes a good use of the small training center at her hotel in Shiodome as well as the area around for her outside routine.

“Before Sugo, I had the chance to spend a week in Tokyo. In addition to going over the track data, the first thing on my list was to go to a racing simulator, in order to learn and memorize the track. The racing sim is critical for a rookie driver like me. It may not be exactly like a real race car, but we can still get a good feeling of an on-track experience. Also this week, I took some time to do even more sports and push my physical training. I have slightly modified my workout program since Sepang. For one thing, my cardiorespiratory endurance training is now longer.”


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