“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is the motto of racer and ambassador for the new sports car brand CUPRA, Laia Sanz, a premise of courage and effort she follows to the letter both while training and competing. With eighteen world championship titles in trial and enduro, the seven-time winner of the Dakar Rally in the women’s category describes herself as a true rev head.
The racer Laia Sanz is training for her participation in the 24 Hours of Barcelona race with the CUPRA TCR.
As the new ambassador of the CUPRA new sports car brand, Sanz is getting ready for her next challenge – the 24 Hours of Barcelona race, which is being held at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit on 8 and 9 September.
- A modus vivendi: For Laia, her profession is much more than just a way to make a living: “Sport is a part of my daily life; everything centres on physical activity”, she says while working out at the gym she normally attends in Barcelona. Warm-ups, aerobic exercises and muscle strength training to stay in shape.
Staying hydrated and strengthening neck and lower back muscles are the keys to facing this race challenge.
“Either for motorcycle or car racing, total body conditioning is important to prevent possible injuries. A daily workout is fundamental for optimal performance”, Sanz adds. All four-wheel challenges require special attention to the neck and lower back regions, as they “are the parts of the body that suffer the most in this kind of competition”, affirms Laia.
- Mens sana in corpore sano: In addition to her workouts, this elite sportswoman also stays in shape by following a balanced diet. “I don’t have a special diet, but I do try to practice good nutrition that is consistent with my physical activity”.
Endurance races like the Dakar Rally that Laia participates in test her resistance, and she has to be at her best to compete successfully.
She combines workouts in the gym with training sessions on the track with the rest of the team.
- From the treadmill to the track: Following her gym workout, she moves on to the track. This will be Laia’s seventh time competing in this resistance race, one of the most gruelling there are, where the winning team covers the furthest distance in 24 hours of non-stop driving.
“This race is in a category of its own. We each drive an average of 3.500 kilometres or more than 700 times around the same track”, she says upon arrival at the Catalunya-Barcelona Circuit where she is preparing with the rest of the team.
- The victory is in their hands, all eight of them: ‘The Queen of the Desert’, as she is popularly known, will be participating in this challenge alongside Jordi Gené, Alba Cano and Francesc Gutiérrez.
In a relay race where the drivers switch every two hours, Laia highlights the importance of teamwork: “It’s the basis for success. In a way, this challenge reminds me of the Dakar. Coordinating with my team-mates and mechanics is fundamental in both cases”.
- 60 degrees inside the car: This is how high the temperature goes up inside a car during the 24 hour race. “Driving for so many hours in the sun is hard. Heat and dehydration are two of the main obstacles we have to face when we’re behind the wheel”, the sportswoman adds.
Despite her many years of experience, Laia admits that she always feels pressure when she’s on the track: “You want to do a good job, not only for yourself but for the rest of the team”, she adds.
- Impressions on the track: From 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. This is how she begins her training session on the circuit at the wheel of the CUPRA TCR sports car.
“This vehicle is very agile and fun to drive, and at the same time, it transmits a great feeling of safety. It’s braking capacity is second to none”, she comments as she begins to adapt to her new four-wheel companion.
- Tackling new challenges: Laia got on her first motorbike when she was four years old. “My father is a huge fan of motorsport and I got started in the world of racing thanks to him”, says the race driver. She was drawn to the action, “I was a restless little girl, so trial perfectly suited my personality”.
Ever since then, Laia’s life has revolved around motorsport, participating in motorcycle and race car events. Now she is a CUPRA ambassador: “It’s a great honour for me. This brand aims to reinvent the world of competition racing and being able to be a part of a project like this is a unique opportunity”, she concludes.