First off let's tell our readers which series you drive in?
United States Rally Championship (USRC) and I also participated in Rally America events and look forward to the coming season where I am hoping to have the opportunity to start racing in Canada.
How did you get your start into cars and racing?
My racing story began in 2008 when I went to watch my first rally. I fell in love with the sport immediately- feeling interested in racing a seemingly street car on back roads was an attainable “ah ha” that changed my life. With a little research I realized I needed help to get started so I got in touch with Tim O’Neil, who gave me the chance to attend the Team O’Neil Rally School. Just a few months after my course training, I raced in my first performance rally.
|Spins “Strikes Against Cancer Bowl-A-Thon” November 2011. At sponsor Grand Prix NY charitable event to benefit women’s cancer organization.|
What is your racing series of choice to drive in?
I race the United States Rally Championship. Luckily my home rally (Rally New York) hosts 3 events per season. These rallies are a couple hours from where I live and the organizing committee is almost like a second family to me. They saw my rookie season where I was placed last on the road up to my championship win as the first woman to have the title. It is an affordable series that races separately on the east and west coast and then has an end of year championship shootout event where the top teams from both coasts battle for the overall championship.
Who are your current sponsors?
Keep A Breast, Rally Armor, Exedy Racing Clutch, Big Boulder Park.
Keep A Breast is a non profit organization that raises awareness about the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. I donate space on my car at every race to help the cause of preventing cancer. I recently was casted as part of the organizations Treasured Chest Program where the cast of my chest was painted and included in art programs or auctioned at one of their events.
|Erika’s cast displayed for the first time at the KAB tent where she volunteered for the day educating people about prevention and breast cancer early detection techniques.|
Who was your first sponsor and how did they help you?
Rally Armor was my first sponsor. They provided me a skid plate to protect my oil pan when I got started- I still use the original plate they gave me which is certainly testament to their product. Rally Armor has also teamed up with KAB donating $ from the sales of their Pink mudflaps for the October- Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
What advice would you give to someone or a team wanting to get into Racing?
Go to school and learn how to drive as best you can. But don’t think the learning ever ends. Every time I race I feel like I completed 2 years of college by how much more I know about the car and surface. Just start and try not to worry about what others think. At my first rally I had in my head that I just didn’t want to finish last. And if I did, I thought I would not choose to pursue racing. Interestingly, I did finish last, but not without the up and down which really got me hooked on the sport. The car caught fire causing me to lose my computer and my pace notes making the battle to the finish feel like a win.
|Keep A Breast photoshoot & breast cast day.|
What series would you like to progress to?
CRC (Canadian Rally Championship) My interest in crossing the border has grown with every story I have heard from my friends who race up there. The professionalism of the organizers and competitors as well as the amazing terrain has me shooting for at least one event this season up there.
|At the Zumiez Couch Tour, NJ. Displaying her freshly painted breast cast. Erika says “Thank you to Gina Schiappacasse for painting my cast!”|