Heavy Metal Affliction - 2016 Lamborghini LP 620-2 ST
How does a scientist who started her own biotechnology company end up racing for Lamborghini? Simple, out of a pure passion for racing. Back in 2014, Heavy Metal Affliction featured Jackie Heinricher and her accomplishments driving in the Ferrari Challenge series. Now, we take a look at her latest exploration into the world of motorsport as a driver in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series.
Breaking barriers is not something Heinricher is intentionally doing but apparently she has a knack for it. In the early 2000s, she created a process for cloning bamboo without genetically modifying it that has potential to save the American textile industry and positively impact the global climate. Her company, Booshoot, not only enabled her to help save bamboo groves around the world from overharvesting and provide the world with an alternative for pulp, paper, textile, and even ethanol products, but it allowed her to go racing.
In the Ferrari Challenge, Heinricher was the only woman in a world of gentleman’s racing. Now in the Super Trofeo she is the only woman in the North American series.
Heinricher got her start at a track day experience that led her to attend some racing schools and eventually purchase a Ferrari 458 Challenge car. The Ferrari Challenge is a program that gets amateur racers on some great tracks for truly competitive racing. It is somewhat of a hobby level of racing, and where some Challenge drivers see this as the pinnacle of their racing careers, it was a jumping off point for Heinricher.
While racing at Daytona in her Challenge car, she was involved in an accident that evolved into a turning point in her racing career. She was coming up on a slower car and expected it to maintain its lane position as she came upon it at speed entering the Bustop. Just as she was passing, the other car turned into her. “The difference in our speed obviously became a huge issue,” Heinricher said.
The resulting incident nearly destroyed the car, although it was later rebuilt and sold to another driver. The event gave Heinricher pause to consider her racing aspirations. “I really had to question what I was doing as a driver,” she said, “and what I wanted to achieve as a driver.”
“By joining Lamborghini, I stepped up to a car that is a completely different challenge than driving the Ferrari,” Heinricher said. She did testing with professional drivers and earned a seat with DAC Motorsports. Due to an injury unrelated to racing, she was unable to compete in the first half of the season, but by June she was on the track, driving the incredibly fast Lamborghini Hurácan Super Trofeo.
Driving in the Super Trofeo is a whole new level of racing from what she had previously experienced. “The cars are different,” Heinricher said, “One is a street car built to race, the other is a race car purposely built to race.” And with that comes a who new level of physicality required to be competitive. It takes muscle to pilot these cars for the 50-minute races. This summer at Virginia International Raceway, in-car temperatures were around 140 degrees. Add to that a full fire suit and a helmet and just surviving the dehydration becomes a factor.
Heinricher did more than survive. She earned six podiums out of eight races and ended up third in her class. All that despite missing the first half of the season. It’s also worth noting Heinricher got her start in racing in 2012 at much later in life than the average driver. The results she is getting make it look like she has been racing all her life.
“Aside from the thrill of going a couple hundred miles an hour, you have got to harness your brain,” Heinricher said, “It’s as much of a mental game as anything else.” So she trained with Rhys Millen for her stint in the Red Bull Global RallyCross series that contributed to her car control skills. Plus, she spent time driving Formula 3 cars to get a better understanding of downforce and high-speed cornering. It takes confidence, as well as an understanding of a car’s design, to come into a corner hot and trust that it is going to maintain grip.
To gain the physical condition driving these cars requires, Heinricher trains in a gyrotonics program to build core strength and manage muscle balance. She also moved to Sun Valley, Idaho where she rides mountain bikes and runs at altitude to further condition her cardiovascular system.
At home you won’t find Heinricher driving a Lamborghini, or a Ferrari for that matter. However, she does absolutely love her new Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost V6. When she spoke very proudly about recently purchasing it, she mentioned loving the paddle shifters that are similar to her race car. Heinricher makes the point I’m getting at best: “I have a love affair with cars, but I really have a love affair with racing.”
2017 is going to be a big year for Heinricher. If you want to follow her progress you can check out her Racer Jackie website. You can also pick up her Super Trofeo livery and tune in Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Horizon 3. Just search for her Gamertag “RACER JACKIE” in the description or creator Big Daddy 5637 and get racing.
Photo credit to Deep Spirit Photography and Jamey Price.
Forza Livery and Forza photo credit to BDI.