The Snows of Pleasant Grove will race in the sports car team endurance race Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on Jan. 26 and 27. It will be the first time a mother and son have competed together. The Snows and three other drivers will be racing the Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing Porsche GT3 Cup No. 62. The other three drivers are from Belgium, Austria and Germany. Deseret News editor and blogger Aaron Morton interviewed them this week.
Q: What makes your family situation unique that you two will become the first mother and son to compete in the Rolex 24?
Melanie: We have done some club races in the past where my husband, Martin, is racing, I'm racing and Madison is racing, and that has been fun. But doing a 24 hour professional car race together with my son will be the highlight of my career. Madison and I wanted Martin to join us for the race, but he retired a couple years back and didn't want to get back in the car.
Madison: It is just so unusual to have a women driving, and then a 17-year-old kid. These two types of people are the last types you think about when you picture a race car driver. The relationship just comes along with it. When I was racing in the Porsches and I was only 15, people always asked my mom how she could let me do that. But she was out there on the track with me, in a different car but in the same race. It is just the norm for our family. I have to thank Miller Motorsports Park for letting me start so young. I was able to begin racing in a Miata at 14 and most places you must be 16.
Q: I know Madison probably won't remember, but what was your first experience at Daytona like?
Melanie: Madison wouldn't remember his first Daytona experience because he was 6 weeks old. I had just had Madison and Martin was racing the 24-hour race. I went along to support Martin and brought Madison with me. I think he has been hooked since that day. I had to keep big earmuffs on him for noise and stay out of the garages to be safe with a 6-week-old, and I still didn't get a warm reception. Some spectators walked by and yelled at me for bringing a child to the track. If those people only knew now that that child is racing in the big race, not just watching anymore.
Q: Your team of five is made up of different nationalities and a wide range of ages. How is the team gelling in the weeks leading up to the race?
Melanie: We have the best team. We all really get along well and have the same feel for the car. After a session we go over data and we all seem to have the same concerns; this makes it easy to set the car up. The three other drivers we have are all involved with the Porsche Motorsports factory. Sascha (Maassen) is the coach of the Porsche Junior team, Klaus (Bachler) is a Porsche Junior team driver and Marco (Seefried) is the Porsche factory test driver. They all have many, many hours in a Porsche and know everything there is about the car.
Madison: It's been very fun getting to know each other. We will all talk about the car and it's interesting to listen to some of the words they use to describe it, and then they will start talking to each other in German about the same thing while we sit there wondering what they are saying.
Q: How do you train for a 24-hour race like this?
Melanie: The best thing you can do to train for a big race is lots of seat time. We just got back from a test at Daytona where we logged 11 hours on the car. Other than that, just keeping my endurance stamina up is important. I do Crossfit, which is a unique workout, I jog and I eat healthy — especially watching what I eat now since the race is coming up quick.
Madison: You just need a lot of practice in the car so you are very comfortable with where all the buttons and switches are. You will be in there a lot so you need to be comfy and know where everything is. The other thing is exercise, the more the better. I try and run to keep me in shape. But I am pretty active anyways. I do things such as motorcycle (riding) and snowboard and snowmobile a lot, just trying to stay active all the time.
Q: What are the keys to winning this race?
Melanie: Wow, that's a tough question. There are so many factors that go into a 24-hour race like this. You need to be fast, have no problems with the car, have no incidents on the track, time the pit stops just right and have lots of luck. There are 30 cars in our class and among those 30 there are 20 teams that have a real chance at winning the race. In the past the competition wasn't as tough but with so many top level teams competing these days it makes for a real challenge. We will be on track racing wheel to wheel against Formula 1 drivers, Indy car Drivers, NASCAR drivers and some drivers that have over 20 years experience racing at Daytona. It will definitely be a hard-fought race, but I feel honored to be able to take part in this prestigious 24-hour race.
Madison: Consistency — the less problems you have, the better you will do. The cars are built so well now that if you happen to have any problem at all then it makes it so much harder to gain the time back and catch up. It's all about staying on the track and turning lap after lap.