The newest Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America driver is already making a splash.
Jackie Heinricher will make her debut in Rounds 5 and 6 this week at Road America as the first female to run in the North American series.
Not unlike other competitors in the series, Heinricher got a later start on her road to professional racing. But her background is one that is unique.
Heinricher, currently residing in Sun Valley, Idaho, is a scientist through graduate study with a background in biotechnology.
She founded her own business, Booshoot, in her barn, dividing plants by hand in Washington. It grew into a multi-million-dollar company, leading the world in innovative forestry and agricultural plant sciences enabling commercial production of fast growing, sustainable and highly productive food and forestry crops without genetic modification.
That background doesn’t necessarily translate to racing.
In fact, until a few years ago Heinricher had zero interest in the sport. It wasn’t until being almost forced to attend a customer appreciation program at a performance driving school that she really got the racing bug.
“Racing came in late in my life,” Heinricher said. “Towards the tail end of the sale of my company there was a customer appreciation driving program and I really didn’t want to go. I had no interest. I kind of got pushed to go.
“It was at Laguna Seca, I rolled up and it was all men, they had cars lined up and I was sick to my stomach. I had never done anything like it but I went through with it and long story short it was just really fun. I fell in love with it.”
After the first experience Heinricher, at the encouragement of the instructors, went on to do a Skip Barber racing school followed by a dip in Ferrari Challenge in 2013 and open wheel racing in the LOLA Formula 3 Race series in 2014.
And last season she ventured into Global RallyCross. All the while Lamborghini Super Trofeo kept catching her attention.
“Ultimately I went into RallyCross and I was looking to get back into sports cars,” Heinricher said. “The more I looked at the Lamborghini and the series the more it interested me.
“I’ve had a real infatuation with the car for a while. I could just not believe the how the car looked and felt and acted. When I saw some of my Ferrari competitors going to the series, it made it a no-brainer.
“At that point the team made the opportunity happen for me.”
Heinricher, who is a Global Ambassador for Manadoob, a children’s self-esteem and anti-bullying program, will drive the Manadoob-liveried Lamborghini Huracán competitively for the first time at Road America but has done some testing to get a good feel for the car that is dramatically different from what she’s used too.
Heinricher has realistic expectations for her first outing. She wants to perform well for herself and her DAC Motorsports team but knows there is a steep learning curve awaiting her.
“I love this car,” Heinricher said. “I am so proud to drive this thing. But it is probably the truest race car I’ve ever driven.
“It’s faster, more physical. People describe it as a beast and it is. But even on top of that I have to deal with pit stops, something I haven’t had to do before.
“Above everything else I want to have fun and come out of it with a race car in one piece.”
One common theme throughout her life is being achievement driven no matter what she’s doing.
As a scientist she was in a male-dominated atmosphere, something that is similar to racing. But that doesn’t stop her from wanting to achieve the highest level possible.
“Honestly I take a scientific approach to it,” Heinricher said. “Even coming in halfway through the season small gains are all I need and that still gives me the opportunity to be in the points race.
“But that’s not to say that a podium is out of reach. Coming from my background I’ve always been shattering different barriers.”
She eventually would like to see herself competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 but isn’t rushing anything.
In the meantime, she’s following the process and immersing herself in as much racing culture as she can and using the platform it provides to promote Manadoob.
“I have the dream of stepping up into the GTD competition with the GT3 car,” Heinricher said. “But I know that’s a few years away.
“Right now I’m doing as much as I can while I can. Just in the short time I’ve been racing I’ve learned more about myself than in anything I’ve done before.”