Valhalla senior Isabella Busalacchi, called Bella by friends and family, is an international karting and racing
superstar. When she is not playing for United and Valhalla’s soccer teams, she is making a name for herself in international motor sports.
Ranked as the top American, and woman, in the Sodi World Karting Championships twice, Busalacchi has also won three regional titles in the 100cc division of the California State Championships and was the top female racer in the Calspeed Super Series of 2011 and 2012.
Recently, Busalacchi left the karting world and moved up the ranks into car racing. Busalacchi, humbled by her success, took the time to sit down and share her life as a racer with us.
The following are her responses to a number of questions:
Q: This seems like a hard sport to get into; how exactly did you get involved?
A: “My dad started racing and took me to a class to see if I’d like it, and I absolutely loved it. For Christmas he got me a go-kart and I started karting from 5 years old until I turned 16. When I hit 16, I start actual car racing. Specifically,
I now drive a Porsche 944. ”
Q: How would you describe what racing is like?
A: “Racing is very unique and different from other sports. Contrary to what many people believe, it’s both physically and mentally challenging because you have to sit in extremely hot cars for long periods of time. People seem to think that racing does not require any mental push but to me that is really half of the sport. The sport is challenging and competitive– not for the faint of heart.”
Q: So why do you enjoy racing?
A: “It’s a passion –an addiction– wherein I’m ‘high on life’ so to speak. I get a crazy adrenaline rush from the top speeds I reach. Another plus is all the new and exciting people I get to meet –I have so many exciting and memorable experiences because of it.”
Q: Tell us, what is training like? Is training hard?
A: “On race days, I practice all day Saturday in preparation for a race (usually on Sundays.) In fact, I often end up
racing all through the weekend, starting from Friday. The hardest part of training is balancing my schedule, though, seeing as I play soccer on the weekends as well.”
Q: Where have your travels as an international racing contender taken you?
A: “The farthest I’ve been is Paris, France, during my freshman and sophomore year. I went there for the Sodi World Series for karting. I came out of it as the top female sprint cup world champion and got 16th place overall. It was one of the coolest experiences.”
Q: Who would you say has had the most impact on you; who inspires you to strive for greatness?
A: “Michael Schumacher. He is a Formula one driver and is considered to be the best F-I driver of all time. He has also won 7 world championships. I have watched him race ever since I was a little kid and I really love how he has driven for Ferrari.”
Q: What kind of team do you race for?
A: “So there are two different kinds of teams: factory teams and non-factory teams. The difference between the teams is that factory teams have money and non-factory teams don’t; I’m on a non-factory team and that’s why I need sponsors.”
Q: Because you have been met with so much success in this sport, do you think you’ll plan to pursuing racing as a profession?
A: “I used to, but it’s really hard to reach the professional level because you need money to race. You get money from sponsors but the thing is, it’s hard to get them and without them it is even harder to race! I mean, right now I am currently talking with a professional team but like I said– I need sponsors. ”
Q: How do you go about getting these sponsorship?
A: “I personally have to go seek them out because they don’t come to you unless you’re famous. I sort of have a double-edged sword when I seek sponsors. The fact that I am a girl and pretty young for the sport is either hard to sell or a plus for me. The thing about sponsors is they want people with a lot of experience, but I’m only 18 so I don’t really have that many opportunities. ”
Busalacchi is currently a driving instructor at BMW Car Club Association in San Diego. Also, she will be attending San Diego State University next school year and will try to continue to race.
Other related links:
Co-authored by Casey Gallagher