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FEATURE

Naomi Schiff

KTM’s Global Race Girl

 

By Adam Riley

 

A pack of GT4 racecars are warming up their tires on the first spotting lap.  As the pace car leads the grid, the colorful icons of Porsche, McLaren, BMW, Ford and Lotus gleam under the Austrian sunshine, while the fans wait patiently scattered between the rolling hills and winding corners of the Red Bull Ring.  But, there’s an unfamiliar sight on the field.  It’s the sharp colors of orange paint and black carbon gleaming from the recently developed KTM, X-Bow, an all-wheel drive GT4 series rogue, built by Reiter Engineering; and piloting behind the wheel is 23-year old racer Naomi Schiff.

 

Gripping the alcantara wheel of the carbon fiber X-Bow is a far contrast from where Naomi began.  Growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The first racing wheel she ever held onto was during a karting birthday party.  Although she was only eleven years old, she knew it was her ambition to drive. “I ended up having so much more fun than anticipated and when I heard it was time to leave, I was in quite a state!” She says.  “From that day on I pretty much annoyed my dad every day until he finally agreed to go back.”

 

Being that her father was a petrol head, it wasn’t hard convincing him to take Naomi to several karting events, and he eventually purchased her a PCR Rotax Mini-max kart to begin competing.  “We started hitting both the outdoor and indoor race circuits.  About a year later I was entered into my first race.” She said.  From that point, karting racing became the focus point of her life, competing and racing in the Karting World Championship from 2008-2011.

 

 

At the age of sixteen, Naomi was ready to move onto road racing beginning with a formula series, open wheel VW for team Moss Racing.  Then she ventured off and spent a year and half throughout Asia, chasing the Clio Cup China Series in an EVO III, where she eventually took the 2014 championship win. “I have to say, the time I spent in Asia when I won the Clio Cup China Series was really life impacting.” She says. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to do something that amazing again, but I have great memories to look back on with great people at an interesting stage in my career. After a rough year of searching for any opportunity to drive with no prevail, it was the greatest silver-lining that I’ve experienced, for someone to take that leap of faith on my potential and have it work out in everyone’s favor, that was a blessing!”

 

But chasing her dreams didn’t stop in Asia.  Switching her focus, Naomi decided to move back to her birthplace city of Belgium, Europe and further her racing career.  Although after arriving, her daily driver was a 2011 Polo, provided by her grandmother.  Not exactly the performance she was looking for, but it wasn’t long before things began to change.

 

That day finally came when she signed a contract with Reiter Engineering as driver for the development team that produces the custom prototype KTM X-Bow GT4; her main task, competing in the European GT4 racing series, along with other International events.  “We try to be involved in several different championships to show the potential that the car has. So currently I’m driving in the European GT4 Series, the 24-hour Creventic Series, as well as X-Bow Battle.”

 

 

At the age of 23, Naomi is proving herself to be far more than just a driver; she’s also working collaboratively as marketing & sales associate and with the race development team at Reiter.  “I’m in the office every day when we’re not on the track racing. Having said that though, I do get to handle the majority of new car rollouts along with acting as a team manager at some customer racing events and such. So I get to spend a lot of time on the road at racing circuits.”

 

But when race day arrives, you’ll catch Naomi whipping the turbocharged 2.0 liter X-Bow around the corners of international raceways and so far, she’s grabbed several podiums and championship race wins.  She says, “Overall, I’m taking in as much as I can, learning more and more about the field that I love and seeing in which direction it will take me!”

 

 

 

Keep up with Naomi and her racing career via Facebook, (Naomi Schiff Racing) or on Instagram @naomischiff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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