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Indy Lights Driver Reveals Her 4-Year Hiatus was Due to Contract Request for Topless Photoshoot


Yes, in all capitals, too.

We hear about some pretty crazy things happening in racing. However, there are very few that make us as sick as the details that female racer, Emma Kimiläinen, recently unveiled about a deal gone incredibly wrong back in 2010.

At the time, Kimiläinen was a rising stock in the racing world. After earning her stripes in Finnish Formula Ford and Swedish Radical championships, The Drive relays that she was awarded a factory Audi team DTM test seat and continued in ADAC Formel Masters and Formula Palmer Audi. Long story short, she was well on her way to the big leagues and checking off all of the necessary boxes on the way there.

Surprisingly, it was at this point that she decided to drop it all and walk away.

It’s no secret that racing is an expensive endeavor and in order to compete at a high level, sponsors are the lifeblood of the sport. There is no race without the big money to back it all up. Therefore, not many would question the move when Kimiläinen blamed the departure on a lack of funding.

Here’s what really happened.

In 2010, as Kimiläinen was pushing for Formula 1, the idea was to negotiate a ride with an Indy Lights team that operated in the United States. While it wasn’t quite the big leagues, the developmental league is widely regarded as one of the last steps before someone lands themselves a ride in Formula 1.

It was only recently on the Shikaani Formula 1 Podcast that Kimiläinen revealed why the whole thing really fell apart.

In order to secure this ride, Kimiläinen says that she was pretty much told to bring her talent and that the sponsorship was taken care of – the details of the deal that might’ve seemed like a dream would quickly turn into a nightmare.

The team, likely on purpose, didn’t exactly dive into too many specifics. Eventually, the sponsor that was described as a “High end men’s magazine” would come with some strings attached. The point that really blew the deal apart was when the team revealed to Kimiläinen that the signing would come with the understanding that she would pose topless for the magazine.

On the list of the best ways to offend a potential driver, this is probably number one. It doesn’t get much more sexist than that.

Kimiläinen, with every right to be irate, decided to blow the contract up and walk away entirely. When responding to an account of the event on Twitter, she said that she “Never really talked about it publicly [before] as I don’t like drama.”

We say better late than never as it’s important to be aware that situations like this exist and are not to be taken lightly.

The event would have Kimiläinen sit on the sidelines for four years, an eternity to be out of the driver’s seat. However, she has since returned to competition with Formula One’s all-female partner in the “W series.”