Racing driver Laura-Marie Geissler wants to finance herself with NFTs: "Was always reduced to being a woman"

Laura-Marie Geissler wants to push her way through the male domain of racing.picture: laura-marie geissler

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09/27/2022, 11:47 am09/27/2022, 16:40

Jannik Sauer

Racing is an expensive passion. In hardly any other sport do so many young talents fail due to financial hurdles as in motorsport. Because not only a fast vehicle costs a lot of money, racing suits, entry fees and travel expenses also have to be paid for. Only very few can finance this from the household budget. Many talents are therefore dependent on the support of sponsors.

That’s how it was with Laura-Marie Geissler for a long time. The 24-year-old does not correspond to the classic image of a racing driver. She is not a man and was not born into a rich family. Nevertheless, today she drives for Porsche in the GT4 European Series. All her competitors are men – this was almost always the case during her racing career.

“I’ve always had to fight against a lot of testosterone and a lot of headwinds,” she says in an interview with watson before her performance at Inspiration Days.

She will tell the students there about her unusual path and wants to encourage them to go their own way. (You can find more information about the Inspiration Days at the end of the text.)

Laura-Marie Geissler has been racing almost exclusively against men for years.

Laura-Marie Geissler has been racing almost exclusively against men for years. picture: laura-marie geissler

“Youth promotion in racing is still mainly given to boys.”

Laura Marie Geissler

Despite her talent, Laura-Marie’s journey into the GT series has been anything but straightforward. The native of Starnberg made her first driving attempts at the age of ten in karting. Although success was not long in coming, her way into the higher classes was blocked due to the lack of money. “Youth promotion in racing is still mainly given to boys,” she says.

Via detours to the racing cockpit at Porsche

After graduating from high school, Laura-Marie worked in workshops and as an instructor driver on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. “I just wanted to be close to motorsport,” she says. Because racing was always “an outlet” for her. “I can switch off completely when I’m in the car. Once you’ve felt the adrenaline rush, it’s like an addiction. There’s nothing like it.” It was also the legendary racetrack in the Eifel that became the big stage for Laura-Marie.

Because this is where Porsche scouts caught their attention. “They lost a driver,” remembers Laura-Marie. “Then they looked around and saw: ‘Hey, there’s a blond girl, she drives quite well.'” The scouts were right: In her debut race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Laura-Marie clinched victory in the Porsche Sprint Challenge in 2021.

“No one was interested in how good I was. It was always about the fact that I was the only woman who competed.”

Because of her talent, she subsequently found reliable sponsors, but quickly realized: “Nobody was interested in how good I am. It was always about the fact that I was the only woman who competed.” She was always reduced to that, says Laura-Marie. “No matter how fast I was.”

Laura-Marie Geissler was able to win her first race for Porsche.

Laura-Marie Geissler was able to win her first race for Porsche.picture: laura-marie geissler

Donors take advantage of positions of power

The conditions under which she received financial support have become increasingly demanding. “She [die Sponsor:innen] knew I’m a young girl and I need the money to do my sport,” says Laura-Marie. “They took advantage of that. Some wanted trademark rights, others wanted to take over my management or lure me into contracts in which I couldn’t move.”

But allowing herself to be restricted in this way was out of the question for her. An alternative was needed, but which one?

“I was very young and my parents couldn’t give me the money”, she tells. So somehow she had to earn her own money – and that’s when she came up with the idea of ​​the NFTs.

NFTs: watermarks for files

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible-Token”, which means “non-exchangeable object” in German. With technology, digital content is given unique identifiers and thus assigned to clear owners. This allows, for example, digital images to be tagged and sold.

The NFTs that Laura-Marie sells through the shop on her website are pictures of her race car. One currently costs the equivalent of around 40 euros. The designs were created in collaboration with the creative agency Amsterdam Berlin, and distribution is via the blockchain-supported platform Unblocked.

Laura-Marie hopes that she will eventually be able to use the proceeds to finance her racing career and be independent of external financiers.

Laura-Marie Geissler wants to make herself independent of sponsorship money by selling digital images of her racing car.

Laura-Marie Geissler wants to make herself independent of sponsorship money by selling digital images of her racing car.picture: laura-marie geissler

Statement against the objectification of female racers

In the design of her car, Laura-Marie has processed the formative experiences she had as a young woman on her way up in motorsport. The dashed lines on the pink carriage are reminiscent of the anatomy of a fattening pig. But instead of “loin”, “filet” or “haxe”, there are terms like “wider”, “lower” or “bigger”, which are intended to remind you of cosmetic surgery.

Laura-Marie wants to draw attention to the objectification that she and other racers have experienced.

However, their business with the NFTs is still sluggish. Also because of the currently weak prices of cryptocurrencies, sales are currently “very, very difficult,” says Laura-Marie. She has not yet recovered the funding for the current season.

Despite this, she firmly believes in her business idea. “We want [damit] throw out the outdated sponsorship system and give young riders the chance to become independent,” she explains. She hopes that in the future more people will be able to do motorsport regardless of gender, origin and wealth.

Laura-Marie Geissler is a speaker at the Inspiration Days

Inspiration instead of a career plan: The two “teech” start-up founders Joel and Emanuele Monaco are rethinking career fairs. Prominent speakers such as Lena Gercke, Ralf Dümmel or Sebastian Fitzek are intended to encourage young people to find their own way, to pursue their interests and to try things out. Failure is also part of a successful life! The Inspiration Days will take place online from September 28th to 30th, you can register here. Ströer, which also owns watson, is a partner of the event.

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