Agata ‘Agi' Smolka talks to us about Ferrari racing at Mugello's Finali Mondiali
One of the most recognisable faces in Ferrari Challenge racing is that of Agata ‘Agi’ Smolka. Friendly, approachable and highly popular with fans, the Polish driver is also one of the fiercest on-track competitors. She started racing relatively recently. In fact, her first experience of a Ferrari race car was in the non-competitive Ferrari Club Challenge.
Bitten by the bug, she got her racing licence and started racing a Ferrari 488 Challenge car in the Challenge Europe series in 2018. She has just completed her second season of racing with the Rossocorsa team.
Agi is clearly a born racer. Having come home fifth in the very first race of her career, she has since secured three wins in her first two seasons, and her stats show she is one of the leading racers in her class. Indeed, she arrived at the 2019 Finali Mondiali at Mugello topping the standings in the Ferrari Challenge Europe Coppa Shell Am class, in prime position to clinch the title.
2019 has been a fantastic season for her, with three victories (in Bahrain, Spielberg and Imola) and two runner-up finishes (Valencia and Nürburgring), as well as several pole positions and fastest race laps.
Mugello clearly holds good memories for Agi – she secured her first ever win here – and she says she loves the track’s “unique” layout and atmosphere. She held on to her lead in the 2019 championship title race after Race 1 at Mugello, but sadly a crash in Race 2 crushed her title hopes. She ended the weekend collecting the second place trophy in Coppa Shell Am. When we caught up with her, she was celebrating not only this second position but also a podium in Sunday’s Finali Mondiali race, which pits drivers from all world series against each other.
Agi told us: “I’m super-happy able to get on the podium. It’s been a really good year for me, much better than last year. The beginning of the week was difficult for me, I couldn’t get my pace or my lap times and I had a crash. But today I came third, so I’ve gone from super-sad to super-happy.” Her social media hashtag is ‘Agi_ChasingMyLimits’ and it’s clear that she really wants to push herself to achieve her full potential. “For me racing is something super,” she told us. “I learn something new from race to race.”
Yet when asked about the significance of her being a woman driver on the grid, it’s clear she sees herself as a racer first and foremost, rather than a female racer. “I’m glad that we can compete,” she says, “but I don’t care who’s sitting in the car in front of me or behind, it doesn’t matter.
All I want is a competition, that’s what I’m here for.” And what about the experience of being swamped by crowds at race meetings? “I’m still a little bit shy, it’s not natural for me, but I enjoy it and I’m really grateful that people can see happiness in this… and I’m happy to share in it.”