Northwest Lexus and Policaro Motorsport are proud to sponsor Jen Gray, a skilled ice racing driver and recent champion of the 2022 SS1 Ice Racing Championship season. Jen competed in the SS1 class, tackling the ever-demanding track behind the wheel of her custom-painted Lexus IS 300.

We sat down with Jen, who turned 23 earlier this year,  just before her championship win to discuss early racing influences, her passion for imbuing personality into the vehicles she drives, and of course, her love for the ice racing track.

What sparked your interest in racing?

I became interested in cars a little later in life than most people. When I was growing up, my dad would always be watching NASCAR and IndyCar, so I kind of understood racing. I enjoyed watching it with him. Before I started driving, I would go to races with him. My dad and I were at a race at Mosport and we saw the karting track, walked over and that’s kind of where it started. As soon as I started driving, I realized I really enjoyed it and liked to go fast, so instead of being stupid and going fast on the street, I thought maybe I could start racing.

What led you to the ice racing track?

I actually think I found out about it through a mutual friend I used to race cars with in my first year. Through them, I spoke with a man named Russ Bond. He was running the Lexus Sport Cup Series for the first year up in Minden, which was also my first year [competing]. I had no clue what it was going to be like.

At first, it’s obviously a big learning curve. I was still only a couple of years into driving in general. I’d never slid a car or [driven on] anything slippery or done any big winter performance driving. The first two years, we were allowed to have passengers, so I was lucky enough to have some ice racing veterans come with me as passengers. I got some tips from them and continued to learn and now it’s just like second nature. My parents love it because they trust me to drive in the winter now.



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What’s been your perspective as a young woman in the profession?

It’s interesting. Going into it, I thought that it would be worse than it actually was, to be honest. I’ve obviously had the odd comment here and there but typically, people are pretty respectful. The only downfall to it is if I make any type of mistake through the race, it’s noticed more, “the girl makes the mistake,” you know? I just disregard any negative comments and I’m happy to continue proving myself in the sport.

What’s something a fairweather motorsport driver wouldnt expect going into ice racing?

Probably the fact that it’s a lot more unpredictable than a road racing track. Our track conditions are changing legitimately every lap or even every half-lap. The line is different…you’re not doing the common turn in, apex, middle of the corner, go to the outside on the exit. It’s very dependent on how you can find grip. Sometimes you’re riding on the complete outside of the track, sometimes it’s around the inside—you have to feel which is the fastest way to go around the track.


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You’ve posted a few wrecked front-ends on your Instagram. Do you have any stories from seasons past?

That crash was from my first year, yeah. We were racing and it was a raging blizzard. Every time I came on to the straight, I couldn’t see anything. It was completely whiteout conditions. I was still obviously racing hard, had it to the floor, and every time I came around the corner and went on the straight, I was thinking, “If someone in front of me crashes, I won’t see them.” I swear to god, the next lap, I come around and there’s a five-car pile up, right at the middle-end of the straight. I tried to steer out of it, but crashed. I luckily had the least amount of damage… three or four cars were written off that day. No one could see the red or yellow flags waving.

That’s where the bright colour cars come in, right? Hides the damage a bit better.

Exactly! My car has had a few [bumps and scratches] this year but it’s harder to tell.

My dad and I share the same opinion that I like to have well-presented cars. Obviously ice racing is tough because the cars get a bit damaged through the season, but I like to start off at least with a presentable car.

Can you talk about that design process a bit?

It’s probably one of my favourite parts of getting a car ready. In terms of performance, neither my dad or I are mechanics by any means. We’re both mechanically inclined and continue to learn, him definitely more than me. But in terms of aesthetics, I always like to have a car that is completely different from everyone else…a car that people look at twice.

My car last year was pink and now it’s purple and green. I love it, especially when kids come over and look at it. It’s so fun to see their reactions. My dad and I paint everything ourselves and I make the stickers as well. I just like to keep it presentable, different and unique. I’ll probably continue doing that with all my cars in the future.



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