We interviewed Racingfuel Motorsport’s Alina Loibnegger to discuss and reflect back on her successful on-track performance in the 2022 EuroNASCAR season.
The 2022 season of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series was a historic one in terms of female driver participation as four female drivers took part in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship, tying the record set in 2015. One of the female drivers that left their mark in 2022 is Alina Loibnegger, who completed her sophomore season in EuroNASCAR 2 with Racingfuel Motorsport’s No. 94 Chevrolet Camaro.
While 2022 was her second year in EN2, it actually was Loibnegger’s fourth year in the series as she had competed in the regularity-based Club Challenge division in 2018 and 2019 before she moved up to EuroNASCAR’s junior division in 2021.
After a year of learning to familiarize herself with the highly intense and often unpredictable action in EN2, Loibnegger stepped up her game in 2022. Despite some off-season drama where she switched teams within hours of the season opening round at Valencia, Loibnegger racked up three top-10 finishes on her way to finish second in the Lady Trophy and 17th in the overall standings.
With Loibnegger currently working to secure a seat for the 2023 season, we interviewed the 27-year old Austrian on her performance in 2022 as she reflects back on her successful season and the off-season drama that she had to experience.
How would you rate your performance in 2022? What moment would you pick as your highlight of the year?
“I am very happy about my development compared to 2021. Together with my team Racingfuel Motorsport I was able to develop and grow in the 2022 season. My highlight was in Most again this year. I got my first top 10 result there and I love this track!”
From our point of view, we have seen an improved Alina Loibnegger in 2022 as your performance on-track has stepped up from your debut season back in 2021. Do you feel the same way yourself?
“Yes, definitely, not only did I improve on the track, a lot has also happened mentally and I think this is an important factor.”
Despite losing the Lady Trophy to Luli del Castello, you actually scored the most top-10 overall finishes out of the four female drivers that competed in EuroNASCAR 2 last year with three top-10 finishes, which were also the first top-10’s of your EN2 career. What’s your feeling when you got your first top-10 and what do you think is the key for you to achieve the on-track successes that you had in 2022?
“Of course I would have liked to win the title, but I’m focusing on the positive development, the three top-10 results motivate me to keep working hard on my dream! I think the key, despite all the setbacks you experience on and off the track, is to focus on the good!”
“I’ve changed a lot this year in my life, situation, people… It’s not good to get away from yourself. An important factor is a good and healthy environment. I realized how important this is to focus on your success! There is a lot of strength in having good things around you. I would also like to use this to say a huge thank you to my sister, mum and my friends and I would not be able to do all this! And thanks to my sponsors who supported me this season.”
It was a tumultuous off-season for you on the build up to the 2022 season, to put it mildly. If it’s okay for you to answer this, are you worried that you weren’t able to race in 2022 at all because of the off-season situation that you had to experience?
“The most important thing, and I think that’s generally the case when you’re thrown back unexpectedly, is not to let it get you down! Of course it was difficult because I expected a smooth start to the season.”
“I was forced to look for a free car in the paddock one hour before the first qualifying of the season due to a vehicle that was not ready for action! But I also mastered that wonderfully with my sister and in retrospect it was good for me because this unfortunate situation brought me to the best team ever – Racingfuel Motorsport!”
In relation to that, in the end you were able to secure a seat at the debuting Racingfuel Motorsport for the full season. How is the experience of working together with the team?
“The team is great, really. They always give their best, I was able to learn a lot! A respectful togetherness made this 2022 season unforgettable for me! In addition to other good drivers who started in this team, it was all a positive impression. The team brought a lot of experience from other series and it was always important that the drivers had a top car at their disposal.”
We understand that you are currently in search of sponsors for 2023 and we’re wishing you the best for it, but what would be your goal should you get the funding needed to race in 2023?
“I’m working hard to get back to racing this season, I definitely want to come back to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to get the title!”
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.