What is your name? What region do you belong to?
Tonianne Rempel- Jawed, New York Region
Which Motorsports do you participate in?
I participate in autocross with SCCA NYR, NNJR, and MSNE
What class do you drive? What car?
1992 Mazda Miata E Street Class
When did you start? How did you start?
I started almost 4 years ago. I work at Riverhead Toyota, the mechanics and one of the advisors I work with compete in autocross and always talked about how much fun it was. I was always interested in trying it but I had a 2013 Toyota Corolla and I couldn’t drive Manual at the time so I didn’t think it was possible. So my now-husband told me to take out my Corolla and just use that car to try it. So I did, I will admit I didn’t do very well but I had too much fun and met a lot of great people.
Do you ever wrench on your own car?
Yes, I have many times. When we first got the Miata it needed a lot of work, well it still does, but it needed a lot of work for me to just drive it on the street. Working at a dealership has given me an advantage to be able to learn and work on my own car. I have replaced the rear brakes and calipers, radiator and some hoses, spark plugs, front and rear shocks, wheels, tires, bushings, control arms, steering wheel was changed from aftermarket back to factory, roll bar, and lastly the shifter knob. The car was also plasti dipped in a green color, so me and a few others removed that and now it’s red!
When you’re not racing what can you be found doing?
When I’m not racing I’m usually working, spending time at home with my husband and my dogs, or spending time with my nieces.
What is your favorite racing memory?
My favorite racing memory is my first MSNE event. I had never been to an event in New Jersey and I was definitely nervous. I drove my 2019 corolla hatchback out there to autocross, and I won 3rd place in my class. It was such a great day, a great event and just getting 3rd place gave me a lot of confidence and made me feel great in a sport that I am so new to.
What are your plans for the 2021 season?
My plans for the 2021 season are to do as many events as I can and really travel this year if it fits in with my work schedule. I have stuck to events in Long Island and Jersey but I would like to make the trip to Pennsylvania and do the Fingerlakes Champ Tour. I will also hopefully be driving both my 1992 Miata and my husband’s 2020 Honda Civic, switching cars each event to keep learning.
What are you focused on improving on the off season/next season?
I am focused on trusting my car more for next season. I know I can go faster and push it more, but I know I hold back. So every time I run I just try to push it more and more to help me learn to trust the car. I do try to take people in the car with me to help improve as well but I also want to cut back on that too so that instead of someone else telling me “you can go faster,” I want to know that I can.
Any words for newcomers or someone hesitant to try motorsport?
PRETTY MUCH JUST DO IT. I've had conversations with a few people about it that just weren’t sure and I always say "what can it hurt!" You just go out there, try to see how you do and if you like it. If you do like it, then this is something new that you can experience.
How does the Driving Forward Together Initiative align with your views?
I love the concept behind Driving Forward Together. Being a female in this sport sometimes you are a little nervous around the guys. That you aren’t doing as well as them or you don’t have enough experience. But I will say I have not had any issues with anyone that I have met in the last 4 years doing this because I was lacking knowledge. There are so many people around that want to help and want to see you get better, and that’s what Driving Forward Together is really about.
Driving Forward Together is happy to have you on board to help with media and finding stories to inspire and support our mission!
As I stated before, I really love what DFT stands for and what they want to accomplish. So I want to be a part of it to help and see it grow!