NAOMI SCHIFF TO START FOR REITER ENGINEERING!
In a few weeks time, Reiter Engineering will start an exciting racing year 2015 with the KTM X-BOW GT4. As to the choice of a driver, team boss Hans Reiter has been biding his time with a truly great surprise: Naomi Schiff, the highly motivated, young junior racer from Belgium, will sit at the wheel of the new race car and be certain to cause a sensation in the upcoming season.
Twenty-year old Naomi Schiff was born in Antwerp to a Rwandan mother and a Belgian father. The multilingual Belgian grew up in South Africa and was based in Johannesburg from the age of four till eighteen. Even though her father raced in his young years, he never pushed Naomi into motor sport: “That was never an issue”, she explained frankly and laughed: “At the age of eleven I was invited to the birthday party of a friend. It took place in a go-kart hall, and the highlight was a race with all the guests. I had never sat in a kart, but right off the bat I was the fastest and had a lot of fun. From then on I begged my father every day for my own kart – until I suddenly received a PCR kart at the age of 12.”
From then on, it was clear: Naomi Schiff wanted to make a career in racing. She worked towards circuit racing via the national South African Kart Championship in 2008 in which she finished only one point behind as Vice Champion, and stages such as the Rotax World Finale in which she was the first woman ever to qualify for the finale. But she also met the ugly side of sport specifically in the years 2012 and 2013. “Without any tests or preparation, I came in second in the first race of the Belgian Special Open, only days later the team owner disappeared with our entire sponsor money,” said Naomi without bitterness. “It was a hard time, but then by chance I met Hans Reiter. He invited me to a test at the Red Bull Ring where I was to try out a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3.”
For the time being nothing came from the test, because an interested party claimed the car throughout the day. And still the visit to the Red Bull Ring did pay off. “The Chinese prospective buyer asked me what I was doing there. I told him that I really should be testing the car that he had reserved for the whole day. He then invited me to China and said that I should start for him in the Clio Cup China. There I won, once in the first race weekend, and once I obtained a second place, whereupon he signed me up as a driver for 2014. And last season, I won the Clio Cup China championship!”
In addition, Naomi Schiff drove in the 24-hour race in Zolder; an IMSA Light Race in the United States by the invitation from ex-Formula 1 driver Eric van de Poele; as well as the Dutch Supercar Challenge and two Ferrari Challenge Asia races in Sepang. All valuable experiences that should now help the young driver to master the challenge of driving the new KTM X-BOW GT4 in various racing series, including the GT4 European Series: “Most of all I’m very, very happy that Hans (Reiter) has confidence in me,” says Schiff, who knows that her first full season with the KTM X-BOW GT4 will not be easy. “It’s certainly going to be a very challenging year in which I can learn a lot. Nevertheless, I believe that we have a great starting point with the KTM X-BOW GT4 and we are good for one or two surprises. In any case, I’ll do my very best, and try as much as possible to give back to the team for their trust in me!”
Reiter Engineering Team Chief Hans Reiter is from his point of view fully impressed by his new team member: “Naomi is insanely motivated and focused, her motor racing and the team come first. For her relatively young age, she is already very far. I am convinced that she will learn very quickly and give us much pleasure. Yet don’t expect any miracles – less because of Naomi, but rather because we bring a totally new car to the racetrack. It is normal at the beginning to have to fix one or the other childhood disease. For the first race, finishing is paramount so that we can collect as much data and experience as possible. Though from mid-season I should expect first positions in the front of the field. I’m looking forward to the moment when it finally gets started!”