Welcome back to our Influencer Interview Series! So far, we have interviewed racers, engineers, and fashion speedster. Now we welcome you to read our latest interview with someone who has pretty much done it all in the automotive industry!
Meet Pattie Hughes Mayer. Racer, instructor, coordinator, safety driver, and basically everything you can think of when it comes to cars! Pattie has lived and breathed cars her whole life and we were fortunate enough to have interviewed her for this series. Check it out!
Who Is Pattie Hughes Mayer?
Pattie is a huge car fan with tons of experience! She’s a professional racer, drove the safety car for the PPG Pace Car Series with CART and the American Le Mans Series, currently driving the safety car for the Forsa Challenge Club Racing series, worked with Dempsey Racing, and is an instructor at the Porsche Sport Driving School in Alabama. And if you think that isn’t enough, Pattie raced for the SCCA Pro Rally Series & Pro Spec Racer Ford Series, Women’s Global GT, and much more! Talk about the need for speed! She’s a gal who knows a lot about racing and a gal who knows a lot about cars. Which is why she fits in great with ChicMoto!
Pattie is currently working with Porsche, Ferrari and BMW in various roles, but our interview reaches far beyond that. We wanted to know more about Pattie and her role as an instructor, how she got interested in cars, some advice she would give women who want to pursue a career in cars, and car care that everyone should know, male or female. And she definitely told it all!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to the interview!
Q & A With Car Racer & Beyond, Pattie Hughes Mayer
CM: What was your first car? Tell us about your first journey to four-wheels!
PHM: My first car was a VW Scirocco. It was a manual transmission sporty car that I loved. Actually took out a small bank loan to pay for it.. My first race car was a 1993 E36 BMW 325 is that I built with my dad and family friend, TC Kline. We bought it, stripped it and built an ITS car. I lovingly called it Geronimo.
CM: Could you tell us first off, a little bit more about the history of the Porsche Car Club, and what makes it unique compared to other similar clubs?
PHM: Although I do work with the Porsche Club, my roots are in the BMW car club. My parents were key members of the club and founders of BMW club racing. The thing I love about both Porsche and BMW clubs are the people. The common bond of love for cars, their history, sharing stories, networking socially, professionally and mechanically. The variety of opportunities that the clubs presented; concourse, road rallies, swap meets, racing programs, driving schools, teenage driving programs, and of course socials.
CM: Tell us a bit about your role with the club. How did you get started? What’s your role in its story?
PHM: I sorta answered that a bit above, but currently I am just a member of my local clubs. Occasionally I will support a track event, social meeting and defiantly a huge supporter of our teenage driving program called Street Survival, sponsored by the BMW foundation.
CM: What’s an interesting fact about this car club that you feel many don’t know, but should?
PHM: I think the amount of volunteer hours we put into our teenage education. We have some corporate sponsorship from the BMW foundation and Tire Rack. It costs a teenage $75 and they bring their car to the event. We provide breakfast, lunch, and instruction to not only the new driver but also their parent.
CM: As a woman leader in an industry that’s typically been male-dominated, what have you seen change over the years in regards to women and racing?
PHM: There are more and more women at the top of most small and leading companies who are making big decisions about how they spend their marketing dollars. Having said this, 99% of all car purchases involve women. Women are becoming a much more integrated part of every aspect of racing. Women are engineers, team owners, marketing directors, coaches, and drivers. I am certain you have heard the comment that the car doesn’t know the gender of its driver, and when the helmet is on “who can tell.” I believe all of that to be true.
CM: Playing off that last question, what have been your biggest challenges and successes in your racing career and now instructor career?
PHM: Sponsorship was hard for me. I am much better at selling someone else. I did much better when I was selling a team, such as my partner in the pro-rally series, Gail. That sponsorship allowed me to carry over marketing dollars to my sports car racing. A lot of my successes came from my ability to infect people with my passion for what I was doing. My love for educating people about motorsports, sharing my personal journey and having them be a part of my process. This was something that was very easy for me to share and lucky for me, people wanted to be a part of.
Instructing- My successes in this comes from my patience with the process. Walking before you run. Being able to connect with people at a level that allowed them to progress in their journey and see their successes. The challenges come with students that think they already know more than you can teach them. I have grown into a real dislike of riding in the right seat of passengers cars. I will only ride with a driver I know well and I am sure will listen to my coaching.
CM: If you were talking to your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
PHM: I wish I could tell myself that I should be confident. Trust that I know what I am doing.
CM: Have you been supported by a mentor during your career? Who were/are they? And what value have they brought to your career?
PHM: I had several mentors. Cindi Lux is one. She and I raced BMW’s together, did the Women’s Global GT series. She is one of the most talented women drivers I know. Trisha Hessinger is another. She was is an accomplished Porsche racer, professional ice skater, professional dressage rider, professional television personality, etc. She continues to be one of the most determined/driven women I know.
CM: What event or campaign has the club been involved with or created that you’re especially proud of?
PHM: This goes back to the Street Survival program where we are educating our new drivers.
CM: You have been an instructor at numerous driving schools. What is it like being a female driving instructor and what advice would you give women who are interested in starting their careers in the automotive industry?
PHM: It is important to recognize that there may still be a “boys club” mentality. I have always approached any driving program with respect for the people I am working for/with. Ego’s are fragile. I have a tendency to make sure I am giving lots of props and love for their accomplishments and let whoever I am working with know that I am not after any “driving gig,” they have. Quietly confident in my background and respectful of the fact that they may not be in the same secure spot in their motorsports continuum. I approach things with a palms up “how can I help.” The results of your work usually speak for themselves.
CM: ChicMoto is all about teaching women more about the automotive industry to help them gain more confidence in what they are driving and to help them aspire to be someone great in such a male dominant industry, just like yourself. In your opinion, what do you think women struggle most with when dealing with their car and how important is it that women know about what they are driving?
PHM: Most cars nowadays are so high tech that it is hard to be confident with much more than tire pressure. I have given many “car care clinics” to dealerships, girl scout troops, etc about basic car care, what fluids look like, how to change a tire, what things mean, etc. I believe strongly in education. Understanding the basics is critical. I think it is also key for us to understand all of the newly emerging items affecting our industry i.e. alternative fuels, energy transfer, efficiency.
Bottom line- Education is ammunition. The opportunities are endless. I have gone from teaching racing, educating dealer principals about new cars and the competition, mystery shopping, video education production, pre-production automobile testing, tire testing, marketing, social media, kinesiotaping application and physical medicine in motorsports (this is what I went to college for), teenage education, senior education and ultimately just sharing my passion with people all over the world.
And that’s a wrap!
“Bottom line- Education is ammunition.” That quote says it all! Education, persistence, networking, and passion. Four ingredients you need to have in the auto world if you want to succeed. Like all of our interviewers mentioned, work hard & good things will come! And if you have any other questions for Pattie, you can usually find her hanging out at a track! Thanks for the Interview Pattie and good luck!