Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Samín Gomez


Samín Gomez is a Venezuelan driver, who until recently raced in GP3.

She was born in 1992, in Maracay. When she was seven, she started karting. After ten years of junior kart competition, she made the switch to cars in 2008, at sixteen. As a junior, she mainly raced in South America, but her first steps in single-seater racing were made in Asia.

She was supported for much of her career by the state-owned oil company of Venezuela, PDVSA, who were investing in motorsport quite heavily, most visibly for Pastor Maldonado.

Her 2008 season started with two guest spots in Formula Renault Asia Challenge, driving for the March3 team at Shanghai. She was twelfth and thirteenth in her two races. After a short gap, she reappeared in the Formula Asia 2.0 series, another Formula Renault championship. March3 entered her into the first five rounds, all held at Sepang. Although she was off the pace set by her team-mate, Felix Rosenqvist, who was the eventual winner, she did manage to get into the top ten twice, in ninth and tenth place. She was thirteenth in the championship.

An expanded season in Asian Formula Reanult followed in 2009, still driving for March3. Samín was in the top ten from the start, with a tenth and eighth place at Shanghai. By the end of the season, she had secured her first top five finish, a fifth at Zhuhai. She was ninth in the championship.

Driving for a different team, she also made a couple of appearances in Ford Formula Campus in China. She was driving for the “Perfect Beauty” team, and managed one third place, and a DNF.

Her third and final season in AFR was a very positive one. She drove for Top Speed Racing, and started off her campaign with a fifth place, at Zhuhai. Towards the end of the season, she had a run of three podium finishes, also at Zhuhai: a second and two thirds. She was third in the championship, her best-ever result.

It was time for a move into the higher-profile world of European racing. 2011 was a transitional year for Samín, who spent time competing in both Asia and Western Europe. On the European front, she signed up with EuroInternational for Formula Abarth, based in Italy. She was registered for both the European and the Italian championships, with her main focus being the European series. This was a rather mixed experience for her, starting with a tenth place at Valencia, with a highlight of one seventh place, at Monza, plus another tenth at the Red Bull Ring. She was 17th overall. In the Italian series, she was one place better, in sixteenth.

In Asia, she drove for the Jenzer team in Formula Pilota China. This was the beginning of a longer-term partnership between driver and team. Formula Pilota used very similar cars to Formula Abarth. 2011 was the first year it ran. Samín took over from Romanian driver, Robert Visoiu, half-way through the season. Her best finish was third, at Sepang, and she was tenth in the championship.

She continued with Formula Abarth in 2012, moving to the Jenzer team full-time. With a best finish of third, achieved at Imola and Valencia, she was sixth overall, just behind one team-mate, and ahead of another. Her performances were not completely consistent, but she showed improvement, and was normally in the top five.

After a solid, if unspectacular performance in tests at the end of 2012, Jenzer entered her into GP3 for 2013. This was a big step up and somewhat of a baptism of fire, and her best result was thirteenth, at Catalunya. The lowest point was probably her crash with Adderly Fong at Monza, although she was classified as a finisher. Fong ran over her wheel trying to overtake, causing his car to become airborne. Neither driver was hurt. She was unplaced in the championship, having not managed the necessary top-ten finishes.

In 2014, she made two appearances in Auto GP, at Monza. She finished one race in ninth place, driving for the Swiss Zele Racing team. Her second race was ended by a crash, when she was sent into the gravel by another car.

The following year, she had another try at GP3, racing for a part-season with the Campos team as their third driver. Unfortunately, she only managed a 16th place in Austria as her best position. There was additional unwelcome drama at the Red Bull Ring in June; Samín got caught up in a starting grid incident and sprained her wrist. In the second race, she received a penalty for speeding in the pitlane. These goings-on were only two of several incidents that year, which attracted criticism of driver discipline in the series. She was 30th in the championship.

After her 2015 run in GP3, she has not raced competitively. The sponsorship from state-owned Venezuelan oil company that she relied upon dried up, due to the worldwide economic downturn.

(Image from http://hoyvenezuela.info/)

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