Nika Rolczewski has been having a love affair with all things auto
since her childhood. Nika’s love of racing however, did not
automatically take her down the racing path. For 13 years, she was in
Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Nika left her position
as Manager of Investor Relations for a mid-cap company, based in
Toronto, Canada in 2002 to fully focus on the motorsports/automotive
Currently she does media/PR contract work for race teams and automotive companies, as well as writes a regular column in the automotive section of a the Toronto Star.
A frequent guest on radio shows and at charity events she has become an authority on Women in Racing and one of the most adventurous automotive writers in the country. She is a freelance journalist and started the website RacerChicks.com. Although her need for speed often keeps from working on the site as much as she would like.
“I hate the fact I can’t devote more time to the site but I need to eat and focus on paying work,” Nika explained. “To be a racerchick costs nothing – and we do not give out personal information – the integrity of the website is very important to me. Anyone can submit content to the site.”
How did RacerChicks come to be?
I started the website in 2000. I felt there was a need for a site dedicated to women in motorsport and female speed/automotive enthusiasts.
At the time I was working as an Investor Relations Manager in the mining industry and just a car/racing hobbyist. I would spend my evenings and weekends learning how to run a website from scratch. Since then it has grown to be not just a labor of love but a great forum for women racers like me.
How did you hook up with them?
Someone called me a racerchick at the track and I just thought it was so true – hence the name. I guess the site and I hooked up together!
What are you racing these days?
Anything I can. To race one needs a big budget, determination and talent – I unfortunately am missing one or two of those aspects.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in racing?
Competing in the grueling Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in Morocco this year was by far the most challenging event for me. Being away from family for three weeks was hard, but rallying in one of the most remote, poverty stricken parts of the world was an adventure and it was a personal triumph that I survived! While we finished mid pack because of getting stuck and lost in the sand dunes one day – my navigator and I still finished! Just please don’t wake me at 4am in the morning okay? Those wake up calls were hard!
For you, what is more gratifying: racing or writing?
Both are gratifying, but my writing approaches and affects more people – hopefully positively. I want readers to know if I can do it so can they. It was that thought that helped ME through a tough stunt driving course where I was ready to give up. I just knew I could not do that for my racerchick’s sake.
Are you planning on any races in 2008?
I am hoping Mazda returns with the fabulous Mazdaspeed3 to the Targa Newfoundland Rally in Newfoundland , Canada . My navigator and I finished 5th even with a broken rally computer but most of all we had fun. Our car was voted the sponsoring charity’s children’s favorite. ( Easter Seals is the charity name). Being the only all female team were know as “Girl Power”.
What are your goals for 2008?
To still have the time and money to keep the website going. Our merchandise sales barely cover server costs so many times I need to focus on my paying work as an automotive journalist for a major newspaper. Many people ask how much money the site makes and are surprised to hear I run it from my pocket. I validate the expense by the amount of money I have personally saved on Prozac by having this website instead!
Who is your hero/racing idol?
My mother is my hero. While she never had a driver’s license she was supportive of my love of cars and racing. She stressed that I could accomplish anything I want to if I focused on it – even if it was a male dominated sport. I do credit my love of speed to her racing the luge in Europe. I don’t have the nerve to shoot down and ice path at Mach 1 in a sled – sheesh!
My racing idols are all the racerchicks on the site. They are the ones up early every weekend – at the track, working hard to fulfill their dream. Many have tight budgets and juggle career and family at the same time. I look up to them. I thank the website for making many of them friends.
Are you living the life you'd thought you'd live?
Well, I’m not sitting here with George Clooney at his villa in Italy but I still think so. I have a great “new” husband that allowed me to postpone our honeymoon to go racing – A job I love, that lets me drive some of the best cars all over the world; for example testing the Hummer H3 in the Rubicon trail made me fall in love with rock crawling – it’s not all about the speed! Lastly, I have a website that is my positive focus for me and my racerchicks in sometimes, a negative world.
Visit Nika or contribute to RacerChicks by visiting here.
by Linda Przygodski