Girl power for Red Bull
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Red Bull Racing Australia's expansion continues this weekend at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint, with former DTM performance engineer Romy Mayer running her first event with the team.
Mayer, 30, observed the team at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in October and commences as data and performance engineer on Jamie Whincup's car this weekend, alongside David Cauchi.
While Red Bull has traditionally run with one central data engineer between two cars, the team has moved to running two with John 'Irish' McGregor now dedicated to #888 with Grant McPherson.
With Triple Eight expanding to three cars for 2016 to welcome Shane van Gisbergen in to the fold, the team has needed to recruit staff. Team boss Roland Dane wouldn't give anything away speaking to v8supercars.com.au about next season, but said: "Most of the elements are in place - even if they're not working for us yet, they know they will be".
He was pleased to recruit German engineer Mayer, who has been in Australia just under two months.
Mayer has settled in with the team quickly, is loving life in Queensland and is excited to go racing with Red Bull, working on Whincup's car for the remainder of the season after Cauchi was shifted back up to race engineer from Auckland.
"I studied mechanical engineering in Germany and after my studies I was working with the DTM team of Mercedes, similarly to what I'm doing now - data and performance engineer," Mayer told v8supercars.com.au.
"I did this for the last five years, but thought I wanted a bit of change, but still working on high level of motorsport ... I got an opportunity here and I'm really happy I got the opportunity."
Observing for the last two events has been valuable, preparing Mayer for her gig this weekend.
"Bathurst was the first race, I just watched and got to know everything and see how everything works, the procedures.
"The work itself is kind of similar but it's a different car and the team setup is a bit different, and you need to get to know everything, which comes around.
"Bathurst is special as well, it's a lot more practice sessions and everything is different."
A part-time follower of V8 Supercars overseas, Mayer was given the tip from HWA colleagues who had first-hand experience helping Erebus early on.
She became interested in motorsport during her studies, and was encouraged by her father to take on a technical role.
"We had a formula student team, which a lot of the universities have, small race cars competing against each other," she said.
"That first got me into motorsport - and I watch Formula One and thought, 'I want to have the job the guys do there!' It came slowly but it has worked out."
Mayer is currently the only female engineer in pit lane, and was surprised not to see more women wearing headsets.
"There's not that many here - in DTM there were only a few [female engineers]. But here there's not too many, I think I am the only one!
"I don't feel the difference, if I'm a guy or a girl. Of course you always need to prove you can do the job - you need to be on a good level and you get the respect.
"Some people question, 'what is she doing here' but when you are with the team they know you're doing the job the same way as the guy next to you, so it's fine. "I hope there will be more females!"