CHEK Upside: Comox Valley Kart Racer Has Her Eyes Set On Formula One

June 29, 2021 – Cole Sorenson / CHEK News

Nicole Havrda has always had the will to win.

The 15-year-old spent six years as a competitive swimmer, but one family vacation changed her life’s ambition. Havrda’s dad brought her to the 2018 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix, and the hook was set.

“I was just standing there and I heard the cars go by and my dad will always remember this, I asked my dad ‘how can I get there, I’d love to be there,’” says Havrda.

“I right away told my mom I’m quitting swimming right now,” smiles Havrda.

Havrda climbed into a racing kart for the first time in 2019 and after spending some time at the back of the pack quickly started moving through the field. In 2020 she nearly won the Western Canadian Finals.

“If you win that race you go to the world finals,” says Havrda.

“So I got third in that race, I could’ve won but the first guy pushed me out…but it’s good just seeing where we are and just making the move forwards,” says Havrda.

Her 2021 season started with two wins at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack and there are big plans for the rest of the year.

“We are planning right now mid-July to go east [and] do all the races along Canada, all of Alberta then Montreal and Quebec,” says Havrda.

The karts that Havrda races are purpose-built machines that achieve highway speeds, with physical and mental fitness being key elements of success.

“It’s so physically tiring, your neck, your arms and your abs, practically everything hurts,” says Havrda.

“So you have to be prepared mentally as well, like your brain it just dies at the end of the weekend,” laughs Havrda.

As for how the boys take losing to a girl?

“I beat one guy and then the next week he just quit,” laughs Havrda. “I mean I would give up too if I was a guy and a girl beat me.”

To keep track of Havrda’s on track progress, visit her website.