This article originally appeared at http://chicmoto.com/interview-cindi-lux/
Finding successful women to participate in our Influencer Interview Series has been such a fun adventure. Almost every week we have someone new for you to learn from! Whether the advice they give is on handling cars, racing cars, starting your career in the automotive industry, or creating a unique business, our female influencers will help boost your confidence behind the wheel!
Today, we invite yet another inspiring woman into our interview series: Cindi Lux! Racer and business owner, Cindi Lux has lived and breathed cars her whole life!
Can I get a “heck yeah”?! How amazing is that!?!
Her 12 road racing titles came from the American Le Mans Series Women’s Global GT Series and the SCCA NorPac T1 Class Champion, according to her website CindiLux.com. And if you thought that wasn’t enough, Cindi has had numerous Driver of the Year awards, was a team driver for Dodge Motorsports, and was a factory driver for Mopar. Not to mention she was part of the Ford Performance Racing School from 2006-2015 and raced in the Trans Am series for the past two years; having won 1 win and 4 second place finishes with several pole positions racing a Dodge Viper ACRX.
Just to put a cherry on top of all those amazing achievements, Cindi Lux created her own company back in 1994 called Lux Performance. Cindi created Lux Performance, with the help of her husband, as a “one-stop-shop for all things automotive.” From race services, club level and professional series driver contacts, plus car construction, Lux Performance perfectly combines Cindi’s experience, passion, and determination of helping others within the automotive industry.
I seriously doubt you could ever get this gal out of the racing world!
Which is why we are so excited to share with you our interview with Cindi Lux! ChicMoto is honored to have interviewed Cindi. Not only is she a pro in the racing industry, but she gave us great car advice that will help you Motor With Confidence.
Welcome to the ChicMoto family Cindi!
CL: My first car was 1972 Plymouth Duster when I turned 16 yrs. old. It was a gem! Custom white paint job and new interior. But my Dad, however, left in the gutless, 6-cylinder motor so I wouldn’t get into trouble. And I am glad he did. I grew up riding dirt bikes on our ranch with my 2 older brothers. And driving our old 1952 Ford Ferguson Tractor to help collect hay during the summer months. So I was behind the wheel at an early age but just not for racing.
CM: What has been your most enjoyable experience in racing?
CL: Boy, there are so many fantastic experiences that it’s truly hard to just pinpoint one. Being in motorsports for the past 25 years, I have the luxury to experience so many things either behind the wheel myself and/or my coaching well over 100 students. Nothing brings me more happiness than when a student “really gets” it and makes me push myself hard to keep up on track.
CM: What was your proudest victory? And what did you gain from it?
CL: That is a really hard one to answer. Winning the June Sprints at Road America twice stands up there. However probably the proudest moment wasn’t a race win. It’s back in 2000 at Road Atlanta racing in Petit Le Mans Race. Racing a Porsche GT3RS with Divina Galica and Belinda Endress in the super competitive GT class in ALMS. There were 23 cars in the class and we finished 5th. Regardless if I won a race or not, I always tried to learn what I could better. Just when you think you have seen it all in racing, wham, something new happens. So rising up to the challenge and keeping a calm head will produce the best results possible.
CM: When you first started off in racing, what was the turning point for you where you knew you were “in,” as they say?
CL: Probably when I was hired by Mopar back 2008 to be a factory driver in the World Challenge Series. Truly understanding how important it was to have a manufacturer behind you was something I didn’t understand until this. And it’s not just the $$ support either. I met some of the most passionate, highly driven people at Chrysler within the SRT department. These people pushed me hard but I knew I was “in” as I felt for the first time this group of professionals truly believed in my ability behind the wheel. And this just inspired me more to do an even better job.
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?
CL: I think things are certainly getting better. But to be honest, I never really thought there was too much of a gender card. Yes, this sport is typically a man dominated sport however anybody can “play ball”. The biggest obstacle any racer experiences is finances or funding. There are so many good drivers, both male or female that had to leave the sports due to lack of money. The bottom line is the driver needs to perform on the track. But the coolest thing I am seeing the last few years is so many non-driver positions being filled with females. This includes engineering on a professional team, team principal/owner, mechanic, truck driver and even in the OE automotive world.
CM: If you were talking to your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
CL: Never, never, never give up. Find people to surround yourself with, who are positive and have the same goals.
CM: Have you been supported by a mentor during your career? Who were/are they? And what value have they brought to your career?
CL: I never really had a true mentor in terms of driving. I tried to learn from everybody as much as I could. However, the one person who taught me a tremendous amount about motorsports as a business in terms of PR, branding and being professional at all time was Gill Campbell. She is now the CEO/General Manager at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I met Gill when she lived in Portland and was a race promoter with her own company. When I participated in my first professional race at Road Atlanta back in 1999, I was so over my head and scared. But she was there the entire time helping me behind the scenes. But after this race, I was fortunate to be on the podium and when we looked at the photos afterward, she smiled and suggested it was time to maybe invest in some real driving shoes vs. tennis shoes. It’s the small things we remember. And from that shoe embarrassment, it then got me hooked up with Nike as a partner here in Portland for the next 10 years on my career. So good things do come from silly mistakes.
CM: What was your biggest challenge or milestone in your racing career?
CL: I started out racing when I lived in LA when I was working for Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance California. I lived an apartment with no garage! I bought a very used up, thrashed, piece of crap race car. It was all I could afford. But I knew I wanted to race. So I made friends with some guys who worked in the technical research and development department at Toyota and they found a space outside in the way back I could put my Dodge Shelby Charger. We hide it there for 3 years with the car cover on it. Late at night, the boys who were helping me (mostly out of pity) would uncover it and bring it in the main R&D center to prep it for my next race. I remember seeing my car on the lift right next to all the Toyota prototype cars there were secretly building for future production. Pretty funny now. But all I knew, is that I had the desire to race and whatever it took to get it done! But there are many challenges in racing and some that I probably have blocked out from remembering them now!
CM: If you were talking to women who wanted to start their careers in the automotive industry, knowing what you now know, what advice would you give them?
CL: It’s the best career ever. I am so blessed to be able to make a living in the automotive/motorsports world. It has allowed me to meet the love of my life, my husband Fred Lux. So blessed. Yes, there will be hard times but never give up. Be honest with yourself and others. Never step on anybody else just to advance your career. It will always come back to haunt you. Never burn any bridges and just to the right thing. Being female doesn’t open any more doors than men. But when door does open up for you, you need to be ready to make the most out of it. Like I tell many people, “keep swinging the bat. Sometimes you will get a hit and maybe even a home run”. But if you just stand there expecting others to do the work for you, if so, you will watch a lot from the sidelines.
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 what is something every girl (or guy!) should know about their car?
CL: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Plus, get ready to get your hands dirty. Knowing things about your car is so important. And this doesn’t mean to take apart an engine! Learn the basics on tire pressures, oil changes, keep your car clean inside and out. But also understand the type of car you’re driving, like front wheel drive, ABS, stability control, traction control, etc.
Never give up, learn as much as you can, work hard, and don’t expect anything to come easy! Thank you for the amazing interview and advice Cindi!! We all hope to see you at the track soon!