Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Lia Block on the F1 Academy, her father's advice and her future

In a way, motorsports fans have seen Lia Block grow up before their eyes. As the daughter of famous driver Ken Block, she first appeared on camera on the age of 13 (while learning to make donuts, in fact) in YouTube clip which attracted over three million views.

However, for the reason that tragic death of her father in January 2023, she has turn out to be an independent star of cross-series racing. She won the two-wheel drive class finally yr's American Rally Association championships, has competed in Extreme E and Nitrocross races world wide, and even won the Pro Stock UTV class on the Baja 1000 along with her mother, Lucy.

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“Honestly, it's been an amazing adventure – every day is something different,” says 17-year-old Block, still filled with energy despite his busy travel schedule. This yr, a totally latest sort of adventure awaits her signed a contract with Williams Racing as an entry into the F1 Academy. It's a giant change from the off-road racing she grew up with, and it hasn't been a delicate one. She had just a number of weeks to acclimate herself to open-wheel racing – let alone the Williams automobile specifically – before the F1 Academy season-opening races in Jeddah in March.

“It was a huge learning curve to get to my first race in Jeddah, but I'm having a lot of fun,” he says.

Before this weekend's F1 Academy race in Miami motor sports sat down with Block to speak about her tumultuous yr, the difficulties of open-wheel racing, and the pressures of being a young driver in a social media-obsessed world.

Has Formula 1 and open-wheel racing all the time been in your radar as something you desired to try?

I grew up watching F1. Me and my dad would sit and watch the races, but it surely was all the time unfamiliar territory for me because I grew up with rallying. [It was] all the time something I desired to do but never had the prospect. It's really great to have such a probability Really Cool. For me it's a bit like winning the lottery.

I did quite a bit within the American rally scene, winning the championship. And at the very least I do know the subsequent step myself [there], I need to try it. It's a trial yr to see if I adore it enough to stop collaborating in rallycross and rallycross – and that's an enormous and discouraging thing to go away something I do know so well behind. We'll see where this takes me.

How did he adapt to open-wheel racing?

Honestly, it was quite hard. At first I believed it might be a little bit easier than it actually was. It's a totally different motor sport and I knew nothing about it. I did some karting as a baby, but Thread to the extent of my competitors after they were younger. Challenges are what excite me essentially the most. Not being expert at something makes me want it that way more.

Each race is latest – I've never competed on any of those tracks or competed against any of those girls. This is a extremely vital yr for me, where I can learn quite a bit and get each piece of knowledge I can.

Lia Block is racing at the F1 Academy in Jeddah in March.

Lia Block is racing on the F1 Academy in Jeddah in March.

And racing in Williams means you might have a famous team behind you. Plus, I hear you'll be driving an '80s FW08 on the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed.

I’m very, Very excited to be a component of the Williams team and its history. Driving this iconic piece of history at Goodwood might be madness. I'm a little bit nervous about driving this very expensive old automobile, but to have the opportunity to say that I drove an F1 automobile on the age of 17 is certainly really exciting.

And it can be the Goodwood I actually remember! I went a number of times with my dad, but I used to be too young.

As a teenage driver within the F1 orbit, you’re amazing lively on social media. Is there plenty of pressure to keep up this online presence?

Yes, social media presence is admittedly big now. I used to be grateful to have a dad who knew a lot about marketing because he owned his own company. I experienced it from an early age and saw how different he was from his competitors. Going forward, this is certainly some of the vital parts of motorsports, and an excellent social media presence might be the difference between making and breaking a contract.

It's quite difficult. And truthfully, if I could just be a race automobile driver and never must worry about it, it might be: dream. But with the brand new generation, it can only get larger and larger and can eventually bring so many eyes to the game, as is the case Drive to survive. I feel we'll see one another too [more social media] with rallies and rallycross.

Block preparations for the ride

Block preparations for the ride

You even dipped your toe in fashion world A bit. Is this something you should proceed?

Growing up – it sounds funny – but I all the time desired to be an actor. I’m fascinated by modeling and acting. It's great that somebody like Lewis Hamilton brought the world of fashion into the world of motorsport, bringing them together. It's nice to have a personality each on and off the track. So that is something I would love to do more often.

Speaking of Lewis, there's a extremely cool video of him and your dad they race against one another of their cars on the Top Gear festival about ten years ago.

I saw it!

A whole lot of F1 guys obviously loved watching your dad. Has there been plenty of support for you and the Block name within the paddock?

Yes, I feel so. Now I'm just attempting to make my very own profession, follow a unique path and my very own way. Having his support and folks who knew him is admittedly nice. The entire world of motorsports is like one big family.

Pictures: Motorsport images

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