After a Crash, Part 9: Pondering Future Racing Plans

Read Part 8

Now that a strong, fast race car sat in the garage, the exhaustion from the long nights at the shop quickly faded. All of the hard work that we put into the last 60 days felt surreal. It was like waking up from a nightmare—like the crash and rebuild never happened. 

I find myself in the garage many nights feeling so thankful for all the support from the motorsports community to help rebuild this dream. Without the help of friends and partners, this 60-day race build would not have been possible. 

Building a race car from scratch in 60 days was grueling, and I hope to never have to do it again anytime soon. Knowing that we can pull off something like this gives me the confidence that we have the power to accomplish anything we want. Just like the friends who helped me in this build, I would not hesitate to help someone in the same situation. This camaraderie is what makes the motorsports community so great. 

Having the car at home meant it was finally time to rest. Continued pain from the foot had me back at the doctor’s office for a serious visit: A dozen X-rays since the day of the crash missed an additional critical fracture in my mid-foot. 

After an MRI and CT scan, I was back on crutches in a cast: no weight bearing on that foot for three more months. Luckily the off-season was here, and it was time to rest. 

So, what’s next? 

Despite a shortened 2019 season, we put the old No. 12 on the podium five times in eight race weekends. The crash took us out of contention for a championship, but I’ll be back hunting for even more success in the 2020 season. 

The new M3 is faster than the old one. The weekend after the SCCA Runoffs, we ran the car at New Jersey Motorsports Park, winning both Saturday and Sunday.

The new No. 12 will be back on track this 2020 season for more SCCA Majors, Hoosier Super Tour, and NASA races. The current season is shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but things are looking up as tracks are reopening and organizations are holding socially distanced events. 

Past that, my goal is to sustainably race in a professional series such as SRO, Trans Am or IMSA. The leap from club racing to a pro series is a huge step to make, but seeing others make it work gives me the confidence that I too can make it happen. 

Racing sustainably” is the hardest part, as I watch talented drivers work so hard every year to maintain a seat. I’m working harder than ever to put together a race program to attract a partner who can help make this story a success. 

I love the TCR cars, as they have great manufacturers and competitive fields all around the world. One of my favorite race series to watch is V8 Supercars. Many of their drivers also race in TCR Australia. It is one of my dreams to race TCR at an international level alongside some of my favorite racers at Mount Panorama. 

But it is wild to look back just a few years to when I did my very first track day at the Nürburgring while learning to drive a manual in the rain. I never would have thought that day would change the rest of my life. While I’ve filled those years with learning and climbing the racing ladder, I feel as if I have just scratched the surface with my motorsports plans. The successes of the past few years have whetted my appetite for even bigger goals in motorsports.

 

 

Read the rest of the series:

Part 1: Three Types of Wrecks

Part 2: The Day After the Wreck

Part 3: Seeking Racing Justice

Part 4: Building a New Race Car From Scratch

Part 5: A New Roll Cage for the New Race Car

Part 6: The Thrash to Meet a Firm Deadline, the SCCA Runoffs

Part 7: Before Returning to the Track, Time to Make It Look Like a Real Race Car

Part 8: 60 Days After Destroying the Race Car and Building a New One, It's Time to Take the Green at the Runoffs

 

How Christina got her start in motorsports.

 

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Comments
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RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/1/20 8:51 a.m.

Always love seeing how dedicated you are and how hard you work. One random day and it all spiraled out of control, the same that happened to me a few years ago.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
6/1/20 9:14 a.m.

So you finished the season with a broken foot???  Yikes!!!!  Best of luck on 2020 and beyond.
 

I also has a thaught. Have you ever considered taking your story and condensing it down in to a book for kids?  There are a lot of excellent life lessons here as well as inspiration that many kids could use to chase ones dreams. 
 

Also as a Dad of three girls I think your story would resonate with many little girls telling them it is ok to play with race cars if you want to and more importantly it is ok to follow your dream  

 

 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
6/1/20 9:31 a.m.

Thank you for this excellent series of articles telling your story of perseverance and determination. I'll be rooting for you in all your future races.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
6/1/20 9:57 a.m.

Agreed on the series of articles, excellent.  You are a great role model not only for women, but you exemplify what it takes to be a racer.  Keep up the hard work and heres hoping great things for your racing future!

IndyLegend33
IndyLegend33 New Reader
6/1/20 10:22 a.m.

Looks like a pretty great team you have there. Teamwork makes the dream work! Also, I had no idea you drove on the Nürburgring... in the rain... while learning to drive a manual - all at the same time? I've never been there myself but I'm pretty sure from what I've seen and heard about, 1 out of those 3 things is usually a challenge in itself. My you've come a long way though! Hope you make it to the big leagues because you are an idol for the up-and-coming racers of all ages.

Dieselboss15
Dieselboss15 New Reader
6/1/20 10:26 a.m.

*gasps* how did you get that engine bay so clean??

edit: xP

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
6/1/20 10:57 a.m.

I make this comment about my teenage aspirations to becoming a professional motorcycle racer "I only lacked three things to become 125cc World Champion, money, dedication and talent".

There are loads of talented drivers out there as well as drivers with money but people totally underestimate or have no clue the amount of dedication required. If I had to pick one of the three attributes that's most important I'd pick dedication; you can find sponsors/work three jobs/live in a hut/hire a driving coach/get a simulator etc. but if you're not willing to dig deep to get there, no amount of talent or money is going to help.

Christina my friend you've shown a huge amount of dedication............I suspect you'll find your way to a pro series.  

 

roger_waltman
roger_waltman New Reader
6/1/20 11:37 a.m.

Success comes form grit and tenacity, can't wait to see what you accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

Hope to see more of your writing too, hopefully the next series will have a more positive title. Best of luck!

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
6/1/20 11:47 a.m.

Christina - Beyond the insanity of building a fresh race car in 60 days, I'm curious about one thing:  How on earth did you afford to build it after building the first car shortly before??  Those don't look like cheap builds and I didn't get the feeling that your job provides you with an endless budget.  Did I miss something about sponsors?  Have you maxed out every credit card you could get your hands on? Late night card shark?

PS - I understand this may be a sensitive topic and you can tell me/us it's none of my/our business.  ;-)

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
6/1/20 2:28 p.m.

Re:  the last photo.  What SCCA class does the pink car run in?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/20 7:23 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:

Re:  the last photo.  What SCCA class does the pink car run in?

You weren't supposed to see that. (Something new, perhaps?)

christinaylam (Forum Supporter)
christinaylam (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/1/20 10:06 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I make this comment about my teenage aspirations to becoming a professional motorcycle racer "I only lacked three things to become 125cc World Champion, money, dedication and talent".

There are loads of talented drivers out there as well as drivers with money but people totally underestimate or have no clue the amount of dedication required. If I had to pick one of the three attributes that's most important I'd pick dedication; you can find sponsors/work three jobs/live in a hut/hire a driving coach/get a simulator etc. but if you're not willing to dig deep to get there, no amount of talent or money is going to help.

Christina my friend you've shown a huge amount of dedication............I suspect you'll find your way to a pro series.  

 

Thank you for the kind words Tom! Some of that determination started off as me simply not understanding there is a cost or talent barrier and just stubbornly pushing forward. Once I got started, there was no stopping me. Making it to a pro series would be one hell of a journey! 

christinaylam (Forum Supporter)
christinaylam (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/1/20 10:15 p.m.
dean1484 said:

So you finished the season with a broken foot???  Yikes!!!!  Best of luck on 2020 and beyond.
 

I also has a thaught. Have you ever considered taking your story and condensing it down in to a book for kids?  There are a lot of excellent life lessons here as well as inspiration that many kids could use to chase ones dreams. 
 

Also as a Dad of three girls I think your story would resonate with many little girls telling them it is ok to play with race cars if you want to and more importantly it is ok to follow your dream  

The extended off season is a blessing in disguise for my foot this year. I do hope we all can safely get back on track sooner rather than later though. I would totally be interested in putting this into a kids book! Three girls will really keep you on your toes. You've got the right plan encouraging them to follow their hearts. 

christinaylam (Forum Supporter)
christinaylam (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/1/20 10:52 p.m.
msterbeau said:

Christina - Beyond the insanity of building a fresh race car in 60 days, I'm curious about one thing:  How on earth did you afford to build it after building the first car shortly before??  Those don't look like cheap builds and I didn't get the feeling that your job provides you with an endless budget.  Did I miss something about sponsors?  Have you maxed out every credit card you could get your hands on? Late night card shark?

PS - I understand this may be a sensitive topic and you can tell me/us it's none of my/our business.  ;-)

Great question, and its something that comes up often. I wish I could tell you that I'm one of those "Crazy Rich Asians" and that there will an Oscar winning movie about my life. My job as a program manager is very rewarding and flexible but no endless budget there. I'm a very "regular" person with a 9-5 M-F day job and a hunger for racing on the weekends.

 We had a ton of support from partners and friends after they saw what happened. I can't express how grateful I am to have partners step in and help with not just one but two full racecar builds in 2019. They saw something in my race program that they believed in to support it for round 2, and their belief in me helped fuel my determination to make it all happen. Eternally thankful for every single one of my partners on the car, this car wouldn't exist without them. 

No counting cards at the blackjack table. Looks are deceiving, my dark secret is that I'm not very good at math. I can drive so I guess it makes up for that. So much for that stereotype haha. My credit card did get flagged a few times for the rate of spending. I'm a saver, maxing out my 401k, investments, and retirement. The savings account took a very serious hit last year to make this car happen, but thats why we save, for the important things in life. I caution friends against taking on debt to go racing. Nothing can kill your passion quicker than accumulating debt. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
6/2/20 10:13 a.m.

Great point on debt; over the years I've seen people rack up huge debt, then leave the sport never to return.

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
6/2/20 6:31 p.m.

In reply to christinaylam (Forum Supporter) :

Great reply.  Thank you for your candor!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/2/20 9:34 p.m.

And a little extra info from the editor's desk. We follow our own Prime Directive here at the magazine as we won't let people leverage the promise of editorial coverage for any kind of support. Christina got these partners on her own merit.

Even though Christina and I go back several years, we didn't discuss this blog series until November 18. It started with a tweet from Christina: Would anyone read a blog about my experience?

I think it's something that we can use, I told her. 

And that got the editorial ball rolling: plan, schedule, deadlines. 

I happened to talk to one of her partners today, in fact. This person is with company that donated some product to the 60-day build. I had to ask: How did that come together? This person had been following her Instagram account, saw the posts about the wreck, figured she was a good person and, upon seeing the drive for the new build, quickly offered to help with some product support.

trumant
trumant Reader
6/2/20 10:31 p.m.

Loving the series and rooting for your continued success Christina

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
6/2/20 11:17 p.m.

David we've all been there at some level, so we enjoy reading about someone digging deep and getting it done.  Racers are good people.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/3/20 3:05 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Yes. It's nice seeing good things happening to good people. 

And really happy to hear all of the positive feedback on this. Christina hit it out of the park. 

christinaylam (Forum Supporter)
christinaylam (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/6/20 8:53 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

And a little extra info from the editor's desk. We follow our own Prime Directive here at the magazine as we won't let people leverage the promise of editorial coverage for any kind of support. Christina got these partners on her own merit.

Even though Christina and I go back several years, we didn't discuss this blog series until November 18. It started with a tweet from Christina: Would anyone read a blog about my experience?

I think it's something that we can use, I told her. 

And that got the editorial ball rolling: plan, schedule, deadlines. 

I happened to talk to one of her partners today, in fact. This person is with company that donated some product to the 60-day build. I had to ask: How did that come together? This person had been following her Instagram account, saw the posts about the wreck, figured she was a good person and, upon seeing the drive for the new build, quickly offered to help with some product support.

I'll piggy back off this and also mention, we only partner with brands we believe can help us build the best car on grid. All of our supporters create a product which we believe adds serious value to the racecars we build. Not every product is right for us, just because a brand is willing to support, doesn't mean its always the best fit. We have long standing relationships with the companies who support us because they have some of the best stuff to make our cars the run fast and reliable. You'll see many of the same brands on Hi-Speed cars for this reason. 

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