What’s happening during my offseason?

I’m really happy to continue racing also this year in STCC in cooperation with PWR Racing Team. We had a good season with ups and downs. I’m absolutely sure we will do fantastic results this year and I hope to get my first win in the series! It wasn’t the easiest part to come back after four years because even though the talent still existed, the body wasn’t quite there yet. Trust in the car and myself was sometimes missing. Of course it was a totally new situation for me because I had been driving only formula cars before and the racing is cleaner there but I learned A LOT last year. About everything, mostly about myself and the car. Now I’m prepared for the season and thousands times better than I was last year!

A lot has happened during the offseason as well. I’ve been working as a safety and eco driving coach and wrote a book (which came out of the book printing house today btw and will be published for the Finnish media next week!!) for women about owning and taking care of a car as well as driving it. It’s called a Woman’s driving guide (Naisen autoiluopas) and maybe we’ll translate it to Swedish as well. Time will show. In addition I became a radio show host for the biggest commercial radio channel in Finland, Radio Nova. I’m doing a four hour show, three days of the week. And that’s not all of it. I became a Formula 1 commentator as well for Finnish F1 TV-team for MTV. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m also taking part to the Finnish Masterchef VIP tv-program and showing my knowhow in kitchen. Will see if I become the first Finnish celebrity Masterchef… One stage down, more to come because I won my own heat 😉 Masterchef VIP airs on Finnish Nelonen on tuesdays at 8pm.

But I’m most exited about the upcoming racing season. I’m training physically hard 5 times a week to be fittest I can for the season. Doing a lot on the mental site as well.

What else, well I’m really happy. My daughter is going to be 2 years old soon and she is absolutely great! And my husband is lovely as always. Life is gooooooood!

x Emma

 

End of a dramatic season!

What a first season in the STCC series!

I hit the headlines big time after I crashed with the prince, Carl Philip in the first race. It continued with a huge crash in Göteborg, not my fault, where my Saab was badly damaged.

After my second place in Falkenberg I thought I could turn around the season, but again, technical problems and minor crashes made it impossible to step up to the level I would have wanted to reach this season.

Of course, I have to be realistic. Four years absent from racing and no testing have made it very difficult, to be honest impossible, to challenge the top drivers. I have the speed, and when we get everything right with the team, we are able to drive for the podiums.

I was really looking forward to the season finale at Mantorp. On Friday it all started to go wrong. I could not take part in the test sessions because of a electricity problem in the engine. The team worked like crazy and got the car ready for qualifying, but without any testing the setup was far from optimal. Also the fact that I had been at Mantorp 7 years ago, made the qualifying quite interesting without any testing. I managed to set the 11th fastest time, something I can’t be pleased with.

In the races I finished 10th and 9th. I took the car home in one peace in both races and we managed to find a better setup for the second race, that I’m happy about because we have again learned something new. But unfortunately there is not so much to do from the 11th place.

My goal for the weekend was to have a big smile on my face. I admit, I did not fully succeed with that, but when I crossed the finish line in the race two and the car had been good, I felt that I want to come back as soon as possible. Get some more time in the STCC car, learn more about the setup, work with the boys in the team and set some good results.

It has been an challenging but fascinating season. I want to thank Daniel, Poker and the PWR Racing Team for believing in me. I am disappointed I could not deliver the results I had hoped for. But this has been a learning and build up season, both for me and the team. We managed to get the second car on the grid and that is a huge step forward. I really hope I can be part of the PWR Racing 2015 assault because we are really stepping up to a whole new level, that’s for sure!

 

Let’s put up a great show at Mantorp!

I have to admit that I had high hopes for the Solvalla STCC-weekend in Stockholm. When I saw the track for the first time on Thursday I realized that the racing could be tricky. STCC had done a huge job getting everything ready in just one week, but new asphalt and a lot of dirt is always a challenge for racing cars. And it was.

If STCC had done a huge job, the PWR Racing Team had done an amazing job getting a second car ready for Solvalla. Daniel Haglöf, my team boss, took the wheel for the first time this season and it was a historical moment lining up two PWR Racing Saabs.  Because of the second car I got a new engineer for Solvalla. I love working with him. Solvalla was the first race this season when we really thought outside the box and tried different setup options, and I learned a lot about the car.

Pole position in race one. I felt I had a good lead turning in to the first corner, but there was no room, a Kia was squeezed between the wall and my Saab. To avoid a crash I had to leave room. A couple of laps later I was hit again, dropping a few places down. I continued racing but two corners after, at the same lap, I was hit again, this time forcing me to retire from the race.

I had to retire from race two also, when my engine blew up and caught fire. But before that I did some really good lap times and my pace was really encouraging.  We are racing drivers ready to put up a good show every race.  The racing has been very though this season. It’s a shame when drivers have to retire from races. Close racing is one thing, but wrecking cars is another. I have been quite often the one getting hit this season, but it is part of the game, obviously.

Solvalla was from the racing perspective a though weekend. We put up a good show for about 20.000 spectators. The team had over 100 guests and they all had a really good time. I want to return to Solvalla, I absolutely love the venue.  My focus is now on the Season Finale at Mantorp Park. I want to finish the season with a big smile on my face.

I hope the racing at Mantorp will be fair. So boys, let’s put up a good show and finish the season on a high, at east I will!

 

The car is in one piece, and I got some points

What a dramatic race weekend again. There was a lot going on in both races, but for once I wasn’t fully involved. I did not wreck the car, it is in one peace. I also got some points, for finishing sixth in race one and seventh in race two.  So in overall, the race weekend at Ring Knutstorp was OK.I started fourth in race one but I missed the start, my mistake, and fell down to eight. I had a good pace and the car felt really good. Then it started to happen. Linus Ohlsson tried a “mission impossible” move on Richard Göransson. Suddenly there was cars all over the place. I was hit from behind by Mattias Lindberg, I spun and ended up on the grass. The car was ok, I started the engine again and continued driving, but I dropped to last.

The Safety Car came out and we did quite many laps behind it. I had a good restart and pushed hard to overtake Carl Philip. It’s very difficult to overtake at Ring Knutstorp and he did a good job, but I passed him and finished sixth.

In the race two I was fourth coming in to the first corner. I chased Thed Björk, Fredrik Larsson and Philip Forsman. I dived in on Forsman and tried to overtake him on lap five. The track was very slippery and I had to put my right front wheel on the gravel, I locked it and slid to the side of Forsman’s car. It was not a hard, but enough to push Forsman off track. I was penalized with a drive trough and I think I deserved it. After that I found myself in seventh place back on track, behind Carl Philip.

The reminding laps I tried my best to overtake Carl Philip. I did not succeed, I tried on the inside and outside, but he closed every door effectively. All credit to Carl Philip, he deserved sixth place. I can’t be too disappointed, but without the incidents I could have finished higher, at least in race two. We fought well again and learned some more about the car.

I can’t wait for the Solvalla race, it is a narrow track, so everything is possible again. I will do my best to put up a great show for all the fans, and hopefully get a new podium and THE FIRST WIN!I hope to see many fans at Solvalla,
Stockholm because it’s going to be a
special event!

 

First podium in STCC – but not the last!

After the huge crash in Gothenburg city race, my team PWR Racing worked very hard to get a completely new car ready for the Falkenberg race weekend. They finished working on Wednesday evening. So we came here with no testing and just hoping that the car will stay in one piece and that we will find some good setup for the new stiff chassis.

On Friday we had some technical issues and the car felt difficult to drive. I managed to get the 10th fastest time in qualifying, a position that I wasn’t very pleased with, but I felt that I was just happy to be in Falkenberg and to have a car to race with. Thanks to the reversed grid I started in pole position for the first race. I learned that it was a historical pole position as I was the first female driver to get a pole position in STCC.

This time I really nailed the start, it was almost perfect. After two laps I looked in the mirrors and I must say that I was surprised how big the gap was, because I couldn’t see anyone behind me. But the lead disappeared when the safety car came out. Again it was Richard Göransson involved in a crash. This time with Fredrik Ekblom. I had a pretty good restart but I lost the grip in a very fast right-handed corner because of the cold tires and the car slid from side to side a couple of times. I drove through the gravel with full throttle as a best choice to survive, and I handled the car like a Finnish driver should do and lost only the lead to Philip Forsman.

I am very happy to finally get a good result. A second place was more than expected baring in mind that we came to Falkenberg with a new car, no testing and no expectations. I am also happy that I managed to defend my position under pressure from Thed Björk, who came in third. The second race of the day ended with a rear tyre puncture just a few laps before the end. It would have been great to take the car to the checkers flag and get some more points, as I was in the seventh place after some tough racing and had started tenth.

But I can’t be disappointed. We proved something this weekend. We have the speed and on a good day we win races. I’m so happy that we got the car to work well for the races and I even drove 0,20 sec faster lap-time in the race 2 than I did in the qualification, with damn old tyres! And I had the 3rd best lap-time in both races. So we really do have the pace!

The coming three races are on tracks, Ring Knutstorp, Solvalla and Mantorp, that should suit us well. Now when we have figured out how the new car and chassis behave, we should be able to find a fast setup. So I can’t wait for the next races.

My first podium in STCC feels great, but I want more.

I want WINS, and I’m sure we will get some!

 

Fifth in Super Pole and good pace in the race

It was the crash with the Swedish prince Carl Philip Bernadotte that caused the headlines after the first race in the STCC-series, but for me personally the strong race and qualifying pace was the most important confirmation. We have the speed and pace to fight for podiums and even wins!

Going in to the Friday qualifying session at the Ring Knutstorp track in southern Sweden I didn’t really know what to expect. The 3 day test a few weeks earlier confirmed that I am not far from the pace, but still, testing is testing. Sixth fastest in the first qualifying session and fifth in Super Pole was I guess a big surprise, but not for me. I feel very comfortable in the STCC-car, it is very similar to a formula car.  My driving style suits the 460 hp Saab well.

I haven’t raced for almost four years and never driven an STCC-car in a race, so it was very exciting lining up the car for the first race on Saturday. I need to practice starts, because I missed the start and fell back to ninth in the first corner. But it was the incident on lap nine that caused big headlines in Sweden and Finland.

I followed Thed Björk when he dived on the inside to overtake Carl Philip Bernadotte. I was suddenly hit hard from behind by Richard Göransson. There was nothing to do, I was crushed between the two cars and the race was over.

With only one hour between the races I thought my race weekend was over. But the PWR boys did an amazing job. It was mission impossible but they did it. I am so impressed with the PWR Racing Team. They are so professional! I love them!

I missed the start again in race two. And again I was hit from behind, this time by Carl Philip. We talked about it after the race and he could not shift down, so he missed the braking point. I spun and thought that was it.  The car fired up and I started the chase again. I caught Philip Forsman and Mattias Lindberg, the top two in race one, but overtaking was very difficult. I settled for ninth and some points. Even though the car was difficult to drive, the steering wheel was not in the right place and turning left was almost impossible, I set the sixth fastest lap time in the race.

It was an exciting and dramatic first race weekend in the STCC series. I learned a lot, especially that STCC is a full contact sport, not like driving an open wheel formula car. I also learned that PWR Racing is a fantastic, amazing and professional racing team. We have the pace and we can fight for podiums.

I really look forward to the next race in Gothenburg
6-7 of June. It is a new  track, so that will cause 
some adaptation.

But the STCC-boys need to watch out.

Super Emma is on the loose!

 

Emma Kimiläinen to Scandinavian STCC

Almost four years of waiting is over, Finnish racing driver Emma Kimiläinen returns to international racing. She does it with PWR Racing, a Swedish touring car team. The series is STCC, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, one of the toughest touring car series in the world.

– It has been a long wait, but now it’s over and I’m so happy. This is a dream come true. I’m very grateful to PWR Racing that they gave me this opportunity in cooperation with SAAB Cars, also as known as Nevs.

– STCC is a very competitive series. Most of the tracks are familiar to me, but there is also a race in Stockholm Solvalla and one city race in Gothenburg that are new to me. There are a lot of STCC-fans and the races are televised, so it makes the driving even more exciting and fun.

Emma Kimiläinen is the first female racer in the STCC-series in 15 years. No Finn has ever driven the series either.

– I guess the fans love to see this blonde chick race head to head with the guys on track, and that is what I am going to do, she smiles.

Experienced champions Fredrik Ekblom, Thed Björk and Richard Göransson, but also the prince of Sweden Carl Philip Bernadotte, is among the drivers in STCC.

Emma Kimiläinen, 25, is a proud mom to a daughter Fanni.

– I think I am a better driver today because I’ve gained a lot of calmness throughout these years. After the first tests that were held on 22 – 24th of April, I really look forward to race again because everything went great and I proved to myself and everybody else that talent doesn’t disappear. Remember to watch the first race live on SVT Play on 9.-10 of May!