“I came out of this great adventure stronger”
Since its creation, the FIA Karting Academy Trophy has showcased many young drivers, girls and boys alike. In 2021, thanks to the “Women in Motorsport” commission, South African Tyler Robinson (13 years of age) was able to test herself in this formative and extremely competitive series.
How did you get to the FIA Karting Academy Trophy?
Like many drivers, I discovered karting through a rental circuit near my home in Johannesburg. The will to compete quickly became obvious to me. My father likes motorsports, he is a former motorbike racer. My mother was not in favour of me racing on two wheels, she thought it was too dangerous. But she agreed for me to go karting and I was able to make my debut at the age of nine. When I managed to win a Championship in my home country, which gave us the desire to move up the ladder and go from Mini to Junior in 2020, the year in which I took part in my first international event in Europe.
Karting is one of the few sports in which a woman can compete against a man. What do you think about it?
I don’t mind and it gives me extra motivation. If I want to succeed, I know that I have to beat all the other drivers, boys and girls. I have to be a warrior! In karting, we start with equal chances. Even if I don’t achieve my goals in a race, I don’t have to give the excuse that I am a girl.
At the end of 2020, you took part in the “Girls on Track – Rising Stars” initiative. What did you think of it?
I was delighted to be selected! This time all my opponents were girls. I was the youngest driver there. I was still only 12 years old and lacked experience against the other candidates who were mostly 14, 15 or even 16 years old. However, it was a wonderful experience, which enabled me to get noticed and to achieve the seat offered by the “Women in Motorsport” commission to participate in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy in 2021. It was a great source of pride for me!
What do you remember about your participation?
I managed to take part in a few international events at the beginning of the season to prepare for the Trophy, but I still had a lot to learn. The formula is excellent and educational, because we all have the same equipment and we have to strive to get the best result. The differences between the competitors are very small. Some were racing in OK-Junior in parallel and progressed faster, it was never easy. I am of course a bit disappointed not to have been able to score any points, but I came out of this great adventure stronger and had a lot of fun.
Did the Covid-19 affect your season?
Compared to the previous year, I had fewer problems in 2021. I was able to go back to my country after each event of the Academy Trophy. South Africa is in the same time zone as the main European countries, which is an advantage for traveling. I hope that the situation will continue to improve and that I will find the best possible solution for my future. In the meantime, I will continue my physical and sporting preparation.
2021 FIA Karting Best-of / Photo © KSP