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Zenith  - Christine GZ

Zenith Christine GZ

The rally driver from the Canary Islands who will do everything it takes to get behind the wheel

I had been put in contact with Christine GZ through Zenith who had just signed her as one of their new female ambassadors. The watch brand met her on the Extreme E circuit, which they also sponsor, and instantly fell under her charm.

GZ, which stands for Giampaoli Zonca, joins our Zoom call 15 minutes late from her car, after having driven frantically around the Spanish countryside trying to get a cell phone signal. She is immediately forgiven, as the moment she starts talking, her energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

She starts her story at the very beginning, playing with toy cars as a child and chasing down a rally car in the street. “One day I saw this rally car pass by and waited every day for it to come back,” she explained. “When the car did return, I jumped into the road to stop it. The driver was like ‘Are you crazy?’ I asked if I could get in the car and he took me 100 metres down the road, pulled the handbrake, and the car turned and drifted, and I was like, I don’t know what this is, but it is my life.”

Becoming a rally driver wasn’t easy for the 28-year-old who was born in India and grew up in Italy and the Canary Islands. She didn’t have the funds that most racing drivers have to get started so she had to work her way up, first learning to work on cars with her neighbor and then buying an old 1989 Corolla that she tinkered on for two years to get it race worthy. From there she would do anything to race, even sleeping in the garage and doing the cleaning to be allowed a place on the starting line. Self-taught, she has driven all kinds of rally cars all over the world. Her entry into Extreme E didn’t come easy as she didn’t come with pockets full of cash, but a promise to work harder than any other driver on the circuit secured her a place on the Hispano Suiza Xite Energy Team alongside teammate Oliver Bennett. Extreme E is different from any other rally championship as not only do all the drivers race the same car – the electric Odyssey 21 – but each team is also made up of both a male and a female driver who switch seats half way through the race. “When I first heard about the championship, I thought it was so cool and then when I saw all the legends that are racing, I was like wow! But it is also taking action for the planet and there is gender equality, which is really awesome.”

Christine GZ

Extreme E © Zenith

All the races take place in parts of the globe that are suffering from climate change or environmental degradation. Extreme E’s mission is to raise awareness about these places and to leave them in a better state after the race than they were before thanks to innovative ecological programs that take place during the race. GZ is loving every moment of the Extreme E experience, especially being able to wear a Zenith Defy Midnight. “It is just perfect for every occasion and I have all these bracelets that I can just change in a second, so I like putting on different ones every day, it is super cool,” she shares.

GZ isn’t only looking the part with her new Zenith timepiece she is also proving her worth behind the wheel. She is currently the only female driver who is clocking faster times than her male teammate. I wonder if it has anything to do with the watch…

As a World Tempus reader, we are delighted to offer you the latest digital version of this GMT magazine that you can download here. Happy reading!

GMT Lady

© GMT Magazine

 

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