Sitting in my hotel lobby in Munich waiting to meet racecar driver Laura-Marie Geissler for breakfast, I hear Geissler arrive before seeing her. Geissler's daily driver is a G-body 911 SC, fully caged and stripped, in Rothman’s Porsche Dakar livery.
The 24-year-old's car sports a “Show Me Your TTs” decal on the rear side windows which, of course, refers to “twin-turbos.” It's an obvious automotive-inspired middle finger to the stereotypes that women in any traditionally male-dominated space are frequently forced to push past.
But what I quickly learned about Geissler over breakfast is that she really “doesn’t give a shit” (her words) what anyone thinks about her beyond her driving. The confidence she has in her ability as a driver is clear, but measured: she clearly believes in herself but understands that her journey is just beginning.
Geissler, like most racecar drivers, started in karting, which evolved into a job as an instructor for experiences offered by brands like Lamborghini and Bentley. In 2021, she was offered a seat in the Porsche Sprint Challenge, her first professional racing entry, where she achieved first and third place finishes, setting the tone for her future racing career.
Unfortunately, being a talented driver isn’t always enough to make it in racing.
If you’ve ever watched motor racing and you read the team names, you might be confused. And that would be understandable.
You’ll likely see multi-hyphenate names composed of familiar beverages or software companies with the actual car manufacturer somewhere in the middle. Those are the sponsors and, when their money is involved, there’s politics.
Going racing costs a lot of money. This means that navigating the necessary politics can get pretty expensive; if it doesn't cost dollars and cents, then it'll be a driver's dignity as they're forced to wear the name of a corporation or potentially questionable person across their chest just so they can drive competitively.
LMG GT No. 1, in collaboration with Amsterdam Berlin, aims to become the first NFT-funded racing team, utilizing a decentralized sponsorship model to eliminate the external cues that unjustly influence the racing business.
But, like that twin-turbos decal on her personal 911, it wouldn’t be Geissler without a whiff of controversy.
Specifically, the LMG GT No.1 car design takes cues from the livery of the iconic 1971 Porsche 917/20 Le Mans racer, the “Pink Pig.”
Instead of swiping the iconic butcher map, however, Geissler’s car bears the dotted lines that cosmetic surgeons use to map out an operation.
Here, they mark the functional dynamic shapes of the car, such as wider fenders and slimmer central body. The car is thus anthropomorphized and objectified, a twist on the male gaze all too frequently levied at female athletes.
LMG GT No. 1's NFT auction includes non-fungible tokens of a 360-degree render of the livery and top shots of the design, plus the buyer's name on Geissler’s real LMG GT No.1 race car, and a signed Arai GP-6 helmet.
In addition to the car design itself, a series of 1001 digital helmets and 100 digital race suits that come in different iterations will follow, following the branding and sponsor-free theme, not including the LMG GT No. 1 logo that'll be sold at a fixed price.
Additionally, a capsule collection consisting of two long-sleeved T-shirt designs will be available prior to Geissler’s first race in April.
Sports in its purest form is an inspirational exhibition of talent at the highest level but reality too often gets in the way, especially in motor racing where money, politics, and marketing supersede the sanctity of competition.
But with new technologies come new strategies.
Consider the purchase of an LMG GT No. 1 NFT as less of a simple investment and more like a vote for better, more equitable racing, a model that may allow for a fairer future.