In this series I am looking into women’s role in a highly male-dominated field of interest - motoring and motorsports - asking females involved. Part V. - The Race Driver and Playmate from Germany

Following a global trip from Europe through Australia to America, we are now returning to the Old Continent - trying to find as diverse answers to the question whether women will ever have the same influence in the spotlight of motoring and motorsports as men. Probably no ladies get more attention - for all the obvious reasons - in the sport/industry than professional models who may also be willing to undress from time to time and occupy a racing seat as well. For this reason, I was curious how somebody in those shoes would feel about her position - being completely exposed in front of the cameras when not locked into a very quick metal and carbon box. Meet racing driver, animal welfare activist and Germany’s Playmate of the Year of 2008, Doreen Seidel.

My name is Doreen, I am a German racing driver, have been one for six years now. I was a Playboy Playmate [in May, 2008] and after that the readers voted me as the Playmate of the Year.

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My addiction for speed has always been in me. I grew up near the Sachsenring, so when I was younger, I was fascinated with motorbikes. When I turned 18, finally, I bought my first bike. It was a Yamaha R6. Still the most beautiful bike to me. It’s nothing better than riding a motorcycle on a racetrack. Unfortunately, this is even more dangerous [than driving] and my mum would go crazy [if I continued to do it]. It’s even hard enough for her to handle the car racing.

The love for modeling just started with Playboy. I never thought that I could do something like this until a photographer asked me at a party if I would like to do Penthouse magazine. I was thinking if I got naked, then only for the best magazine: Playboy [NSFW]. So I applied for it and one week later I was already on a plane to Vienna for my photo shoot.

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When I started racing, I just wanted to see how it is. I had absolutely no clue how this business was working and I had to learn a lot. I started in endurance racing in a very slow car. That was the best way to start. I had a lot of time in the car, it was less about pure overtaking but more about finishing the race. Also, the car was not too expensive, which was good, because unfortunately I crashed a couple of times.

After two years, I switched to sprint races. I started in the MINI Trophy. That year my first dream came true - before I started racing, it was my daydream to race in the MINI Challenge. I purely loved the car.

It was a great year but during that season, I could already feel that this was not the end. I was hungry, I wanted more - faster cars, more racing and I wanted to improve my driving. So I switched to the Scirocco R Cup the year after. That season was so important to me: the VW taught me to excellency. I made the biggest step regarding my driving skills that year. The coaches, the data analysis, the other driver, everything was very very professional -and in addition, I had so much fun! So one the best years I’ve had.

After 2014, I fulfilled another dream. The Audi TT road car has been my favorite car since I became a car enthusiast. And to drive this one as a race car was purely amazing. I had tears in my eyes when I saw my Playboy Audi TT the first time. For me, it was the most beautiful race car I could asked for and I loved every lap I did in this wonderful car.

If I look back to he first year, I never even dreamed about where I am now. I started as a lucky charm Playboy bunny for the DTM driver Markus Winkelhock and now I have my own lucky charm Playboy bunny in front of my car. I am purely living the dream. And in addition, Markus was my driving coach at the TT cup last year.

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[To prepare for race driving] I love to go running and I do some workout at home or in the hotel room. I am almost never home so I don’t like to be stuck at a gym. I love to workout outside and combine it with fun sports like snowboarding. For mental strength I try to simulate qualifying in my racer simulator at home. But not very successfully. I am such a bad qualifier.

Modelling helps me to generate PR more easily but that’s just one small part of racing. It doesn’t give me a free seat or make me faster. My association with PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal] came first because of Playboy. Every Playmate of the Year does a campaign for PETA. I was really happy about it because I love animals and I supported PETA even before Playboy. PETA noticed that I would have been really happy to work with them and we did several more campaigns and events together.

The best in racing is definitely the feeling you have after a good race. This mixture of happiness and adrenaline is unique and I am totally addicted to it. The most difficult part is to get the budget for a seat. Unfortunately this business is all about money.

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The best part of modelling is that I met so many nice girls who are my best friends now and I also like the results. Sometimes a good picture is so much work - hours spent on the hair and by make up artist -, it is hard work for me as a model and also for the photographer but it’s so nice to see the result.

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The most difficult thing in modelling is definitely the pressure. You see all the other beautiful, skinny, young girls and then you see your own face on a monitor, with 10 times zoom where you see every little mistake. It’s really hard to stay self-confident in this business. So I am super happy that I am not a full-time model. Although I am a way to small to do it as a full-time job. It’s great to do it once in a while but it’s also relieving to escape into the racing business.

It’s definitely harder to get accepted as a girl in racing. No men wants to be beaten, and for sure not by a girl. So if they see a girl in the mirror, they push even more. I think it’s super hard for everybody to drive in F1, NASCAR or other high level series. So from a thousand guys who start with go-karts, maybe one will make it to the top. But there are only 50 girls who start. So the chance that one of them will make it up to - say - F1 is very low. We need a way more girls who would like to start racing.

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In racing I have to search for new goals all the time cause (luckily), I achieved all of them. At the moment, my goal in racing is to drive a GT3 car. Not necessarily in a race. A test would make me so happy, too. I don’t know for sure what I will drive in 2016, so I try to work towards this. For sure, I will not drive a GT3 this year but I am trying to find something in between a front wheel drive cup car and a GT3.

In modelling I don’t have any goals. I am not ambitious in that field. I want to focus more on my moderation and TV jobs now. I launched a new TV show called DreamCars this year. It would be nice to make it a success.

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I am totally happy how everything turned out. If I really had to change something [in my career from the start], I would start way earlier with racing. It’s the best fun in the world, I feel I only wasted the years before.

All images used with permission

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For earlier episodes, click on the link below: