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Reema’s View: 24H Dubai Review

January 18, 2022
2022 Season

After a memorable endurance racing debut at the 24H Dubai, Reema looks back on the weekend and her second-place finish.

You’ve just completed your first endurance race and taken a podium! How does it feel?

I’m ecstatic about the result. It went beyond any expectations I had. Coming into this race, I had deliberately set the bar at a realistic level and, for me, that was finishing. But then, when we got to qualifying and saw the potential, at that point we knew that if we could stay out of trouble and finish every lap we could get on the podium.

How does endurance racing differ from other categories you’ve competed in?

Endurance racing is a true team sport. I'm obviously not in the car for the entire 24 hours race. I have three teammates, so we each take turns and essentially split up the time in the car so that we each have a total of six hours driving time, but not in one go.

We're probably in for a maximum of two hours per stint before we have to add fuel. In an endurance race, it’s not just about getting to the finish line the quickest each lap. It's about being the smartest and the safest so that you don’t damage your car. That’s what makes an endurance race really cool.

How was your first stint in the car?

After waiting four hours to do my first run, I was very excited. Then, when I had warmed up and got into the car, it was like being a deer in headlights. It's dark and you’re in the car for quite a long time, so you need to find your feet quickly.

There was quite a lot happening on the track, so I was trying to stay as sharp as possible and a few times I got caught out. At one point I was trying to get ahead of a car and they didn't see me, so I had to get on the brakes very quickly to avoid an incident, but I managed to do to keep it clean, which was a feat in itself.

How did you prepare for the demands on both your mind and body?

Physically, we did a lot of endurance and strength training like cycling and running so that I was able to get used to being in the car for such a long time. In terms of mental preparation, I had to prepare for having to perform at the highest level under high stress for extended periods of time on minimal sleep.

It was about making sure I always had time to recover and was able to give my full attention to the race overall, adapting to whatever was going on around me whether I was in the car or no. I had a lot of support from my engineer, who acted like my coach and told me what was required from me as well as what else was happening on track.

The team were fantastic. I’ve never done this before and they guided me on all the things you don’t necessarily account for going into the race. They’re so experienced that they can manage the drivers in such a way that we’re always ready and anticipating what’s coming next.

What are your plans moving forward from here?

The biggest thing for me now is getting into regular GT racing, so that's the plan. I'm still transitioning from single seaters, so finding the right team and the right environment to learn and grow my experience is really important.

During my time in single seaters, I put myself against the best of the young rising stars to learn as quickly as possible and learn the hard way with some tough racing. I wanted to do that because I knew there would be a greater reward in the long run. For me, this race is testament to that, and I feel I’m in the right place now to take steps towards my dream of racing in Le Mans 24 Hours.

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