Racing in her first autocross 14 years ago, Megan Solinsky has been into cars ever since she was a teenager. One of her close friends organized the local autocross events and after entering that first race, she was hooked and has been racing ever since! For the last 7 or so years, her focus has moved to more competitive fields and events, and she continues to add more events every year as well as trying new tracks. Megan and her boyfriend of over 6 years, Eric, met while racing and they both feel that connection makes their love for the sport even stronger. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to Megan about her racing career, her passions and experiences!
"I remember my first run at an autocross event in my 1990 Eclipse GSX. After I tried it, I told myself that I had to do more! I don't remember how I did at my first full event, I'm sure it wasn't amazing, but I was definitely addicted! It was very different from the bit of drag racing that I had done previously. I also really liked that you could tell that you were improving by seeing your times going down. As they say, autocross is a gateway drug in racing. I started getting my feet wet on road courses and from there, my participation in Grassroots Motorsports only increased."
What different series have you competed in? Do you have any favorites?
"I have participated in a lot of different series over the years; SCCA Autocross and High Speed Autocross, Gridlife Time Attack and Chumpcar Endurance Racing. My first love is autocross and SCCA has great competition. Probably some of the best memories that I have from racing so far are from the Chumpcar Endurance Races. My boyfriend and two other friends raced a 1987 BMW 325i in several 7 hour races. The strategy and teamwork involved with pit stops and race pace were very exciting! In six 7-hour races in our first year, we never placed out of the top 10 in some pretty large fields. We took 4th and 6th at a Road America weekend in a field of 90 cars!"
What has your experience been like being a woman in this male dominated sport?
"Well, first of all I think it's very cool to see the increase in female participation in motorsports over the last 14 years. I used to be the only girl at most of the events that I would attend, and now I see quite a few. I would say for the most part, my experience has been pretty positive. There has been a few times where men have been poor sports if they get beat by a woman or they seemed to feel that racing events were not a place for a woman. I just go out there and do my thing because racing makes me happy! I have been blessed to have had a great group of racing friends around me that have always been very accepting and helpful and have just viewed me as another racer. Behind the wheel with a helmet and safety equipment on, it's hard to tell who is a man and who is a woman out there!"
Do you do multiple types of events and if so, do you think there's any crossover What other hobbies are you involved in?
"I definitely think there is cross over between different events. I started with drag racing and then moved to autocross. From there, I tried HPDE events on big road courses and then started with Time Attack and endurance racing. Because I'm from Central Wisconsin, we only have about 6 months of tarmac racing season and we need to keep ourselves busy, so...we ice race!! It's basically an autocross on a frozen lake and it's a BLAST!! It is a great way to work on car control and getting comfortable sliding a car around. Racers use snow tires, all season tires and home-made studded tires to make their way around the track. My boyfriend and I ice race a rusty 99 Miata (affectionately known as Krusty) with the top down of course! It can be a bit brisk with temperatures ranging between -10 to 25 degrees above zero. The experience that I have gained from ice racing has been invaluable when racing in the rain. If you are comfortable sliding a car around in the ice and snow, you are more prepared for wet conditions during autocross and road racing. It's a unique racing experience that only a small part of the country gets the opportunity to do!"
Megan and her boyfriend are also part of a racing family called 365Racing. The group prides themselves on getting out there and driving 365 days a year and focus on constant driver development, improvement, training, and enjoyment. A self-proclaimed 'Turbo Chick' for more than 13 years, Megan has driven a wide range of vehicles, some of her favorite being:
For her future plans, she tells us,
"Every year I try to do as many racing events as I can fit in. Last year (2017) I spent 42 days racing behind the wheel and I hope to do more in 2018. On the calendar so far is #Gridlife at Mid Ohio Raceway and possibly Motorsports Park Hastings for the Street Tire Shootout. I will be returning to one of my favorite tracks Autobahn Country Club with #Gridlife and hopefully the SCCA Solo National Championships in Lincoln, NE.
Are there any sponsors or others you would like to acknowledge for their assistance in getting your driving to what it is today?
"Many thanks to those that have helped make my cars what they were/are today!
Of course, my boyfriend and eternal mechanic Eric Koehler
- RS Motors
- Stance Suspension
- Touge Factory
- Boosted Films
- Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies
And THANK YOU to Racechick for this awesome opportunity!"
We wish Megan luck and continued success throughout the 2018 season and beyond!!