She wears a pink helmet and a pink fire suit, drives a pink car and she's ranked the fastest woman in history. Racecar driver Pippa Mann described her job this way, "You're going 230 miles per hour and you're sideways... so you better be pretty good at your job."
Pippa Mann is the first female to win a pole position at the Indianapolis 500. Racing is in her soul. She's trained much of her life just to get here. "My first one was still the most special because you know it's your first Indy 500, it has to be the most special," Pippa said.
Pippa knows the power of racing around a track at 230 miles per hour. "It's a brute," she said. "It's a big car that you have to manhandle around, it doesn't have any power steering and you know you just need to be really strong with it. And at a place like this you also really have to have a lot of finesse."
Pippa began her racing career at 13 in Europe. She gradually climbed the ranks. In 2011 Pippa qualified for the Indy 500 and became the first British female to make it into the 500 mile race. Part of her rise to this level included the Indy light series. "Which is the equivalent of college football to the NFL and I am actually one of two female race winners ever in that series," Pippa said.
Female race drivers are scarce and respect for them is even scarcer. "But that didn't stop me from doing it," Pippa told us. "It was kind of the other way around. Anyone who did show you any respect, stood out like a sore thumb so that's one of reasons I really enjoy racing in the US."
She says guys in America acknowledge her skill on the track. But it was something inside that helped propel her across the finish line. "Chasing your dream it's always tough it's never easy and just be determined and don't give up, don't let anyone tell you, you can't do it."
She also surrounds herself with a supportive team. Pippa is now with Dale Coyne Racing and has partnered with Susan G. Komen race for a cure for breast cancer. In the beginning she admits pink was not her favorite color.
"It didn't signify having hard edges and sharp elbows and those are all things you need in a racecar," Pippa explained. But she knows it's a color of toughness, determination and a color for fighters.
Pippa says the biggest challenge she has experienced is going out and raising money to continue racing. She says she will continue to race, as long as she has the help of sponsors.