Who is Luy Galan?
You’ve seen her name, you’ve seen her jet black hair, now its time you read about who she is. Luy Galan is a Spanish co-driver for Team Dynamic Racing. Her job is being a navigator for her partner in speed, Christine GZ. It’s time you got to know the second half of #962.
Co-Driving is More Than just Pacenotes
The job of a Co-driver is to navigate and inform the driver. They are also required to do vehicle maintenance during a race like changing a flat. Sometimes, however, unusual circumstances occur where a co-driver must go above and beyond in order to finish the race.
One of best examples happened at a rally in Argentina back in 2013. Co-driver Mauricio Sainz rode on the hood of the rally car and used his hand to manually work the throttle after the cable snapped for driver Sebastian Llamosas. The car reached speeds of 100 kph as Sainz sat over the engine with the hood up.
Co-drivers can trace their heritage through history to a time before the automobile. When stagecoach drivers required having a partner sitting next to them holding a shotgun to defend against hostiles. This coined the phrase, “riding shotgun”.
Racing, a Galan Family Tradition
Luy Galan’s career as a co-driver started in 2014 at the age of 19. Her first time in the passenger seat of a race car was co-driving for her older brother, Crisanto Galan. One race was all it took, as in most cases involving passion, for her to dive head first into the unconventional life of motorsport.
Even with a family legacy in racing she never felt pressured to get involved in motorsport. Being the youngest meant her parents were more comfortable if she didn’t race. But once she strapped on a helmet they supported her 100%. Her older brothers Crisanto and Rafael Galan are both involved in the world of rally racing.
They were the ones who inspired Luy to get into a race car. Since the beginning they have mentored, coached, and been part of her team in every definition of the word. Crisanto studied Environmental Science and is currently training to be an aircraft pilot, and Rafa is studying Mechanical Engineering. Of the three, Crisanto is the driver, Rafe favors engines slightly more than driving, and Luy loves Co-driving. Together they could form their own race team if the opportunity rises.
Luy Galan, the Woman under the Helmet
Even though Luy doesn’t consider herself an expert auto-enthusiast she has the qualities of one. A passion for speed, a desire to learn more, and a natural immunity to motion sickness. “Having a passion for racing is different from having a passion for automobiles. They are similar but not the same.” Said Luy.
She loves cars, motorcycles and anything with an engine, but is the first to admit that she is not an expert. She trains hard to master the skills required of her as a co-driver during a race. However, she doesn’t call herself a mechanic or claims to know the history of a particular vehicle. She considers herself more of a car-fan than a car enthusiast.
Nevertheless, Luy is obsessed with racing. She takes pride in her work ethic that has allowed her to race in some of the world’s most difficult off-roading events. Co-driving is her passion, her dream, her muse for ambition. As she puts it, “All my dreams involve gasoline.”
Luy’s other dream pursuits involve learning to play an instrument like the piano or violin and travel as often as possible. Racing helps with one of those goals. If she wasn’t racing Luy says she would probably be driving a tractor. Something low speed since she thinks of herself as a “dangerous driver” when compared to her professional friends. Christine GZ says Luy would probably make it as a singer, but Luy’s modesty would disagree.
When asked if Luy has ever thought about switching seats and being a driver she is very open to the idea, “Yes, although I would first have to learn to go fast.”
What it’s Like Riding Shotgun with Christine GZ
I asked Luy to be honest in what it’s like being Christine’s co-driver and the first thing she said was, “Funny! Even her page notes are funny.”
“Christine is demanding. She is a person who works hard, believes in what she does, and expects the person next to her to do the same. She trusts me inside the car, or at least I think.” Luy said with a chuckle when talking about what kind of driver Christine is to work with.
Luy considers co-drivers to not only be navigators but in many ways psychologists. But unlike a traditional psychologist, co-drivers only have one patient and sessions take place surrounded by a roll cage while flying through the air at highway speeds. Trust inside the racecar is key, which is why Luy and Christine’s relationship borders on sisterhood.
Luy admires that Christine has the ability to learn as she works. However, being passionate about what you do can be a double edged sword when things don’t go as planned. The stress and pressure of what they do can sometimes create problems, or mistakes, which leads to negativity and that often leads to a negative attitude.
Luy has since understood that it’s not a sincere reaction but stress slipping out of control momentarily. That is the only bad thing she had to say about working with Christine, which is pretty common in a high-stress environment. It can be hard to keep your cool when the heat is on.
The Hardest Thing about Racing
Towards the end I asked Luy what the hardest thing about racing is based on her experience.
“This sport offers few opportunities, it’s very expensive, and difficult to live on financially. This means your dedication, time, and work ethic have to be greater than average. It means leaving behind family, friends, and a whole life in order to dedicate 100% of your time to racing.”
It’s easy to day dream about living the life of a racer without thinking of what it takes to make it a reality. Granted, it’s easier when you have fortune 500 companies sponsoring your team. But we never think about teams who are self-funded or working with sponsors who don’t have a corporate jet. This sport/lifestyle is a labor of love.
Words of Wisdom for the People Who Want to Race
“Be stubborn”, said Luy when asked if she had any advice for people who have an undeniable yearning for racing.
“Hard work will be a loyal companion. Don’t lose out on an opportunity no matter where you have to go, how many times you have to try, how much time you have to spend, or if you have to leave everything behind to get it. You have to want it more than anything else for the reward to be worth the risk – even if you fail. Life is too short to not at least attempt to chase a dream.”
Wise words from someone who took a risk when she applied to be a co-driver for Christine and ended up taking her across the globe to Los Angles, away from rallying, and into international off-road racing. You just never know. Chasing a dream is like driving flat-out in a dense fog. You don’t know where you’re going, just where you want to end up.
Luy the Shotgun Rider
The urban dictionary defines “Shotgun Rider” as a person’s partner in crime, and best friend. The person they want most riding shotgun in their car with them. A person that no matter what life throws at them, or the amount of time spent a part, can pick right back up where they left off like nothing happened.
I can’t think of a more fitting way to describe Luy Galan’s role in Christine GZ life – both in and outside a racecar.
2018 Baja 500
You’ll be able to see Luy and Christine in their #962 at the end of May when they compete in the 2018 Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico. A 500 mile loop through the Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. This is a continuation of Team Dynamic Racing’s yearlong schedule in the Best in the Desert Racing series. . Race starts May 30th – June 3rd.
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