Conversations with a female BMW i8 owner

“This car attracts attention like crazy!”

WOW’s editor, Juliet McGuire chats to Leone Richards about life as a BMW i8 owner…

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, what do you do for a living?

I think I definitely know where this car craze comes from. I was born in Boksburg on the East Rand of Johannesburg. Since I can remember my dad took us to see drag races and stock car races. After enjoying a few different careers, I now am very blessed to be a full time mom of two girls … and to get to drive around all day in the lovelyJohannesburg after their schedules.

  1.   I hear you are quite a car fan. Any great car stories you have to tell?

Massive car fan! I once owned a BMW 135i and we decided to do an advanced driving course with BMW. Anyone owning a fast car should know how to handle it! The motto for the day from instructors were: “drive it like you stole it” I learnt there how to spin a car 360 degrees in perfect little circles…. great fun!

Another great story was when I took a Porche GT3 around Zwartkops Raceway and overtook a Ferrari driven by a guy!

  1.  What was your very first car?

Ha Ha Ha My very first car was a Red Golf 2 CSL. It had a 1600 cc engine. My dad always said to me, you buy German cars, my child!!!!

  1.  Why the BMW i8?

When I first laid eyes on that beauty I fell in love. I actually stalked the first i8’s driving around. I would take an alternative road home just to drive behind one for a while longer.

I have always been in love with my BMW’s. I always say, you get BMW people and you get Mercedes people. Merc people seem like they are the more serious type ha ha ha, although Jeremy Clarkson would disagree!

  1.   Does your i8 generate a lot of attention? Is it something one has to get used to? If so, how do you get used to it?

YES!! That car attracts attention like crazy! Took me a while to get used to it. You have to be cool and calm about it. People take photos of it all the time. The best is when they drive behind you and steal a snap. I try to be helpful and drive a bit slower then … ha ha ha. If you own a flashy car (not that I want to be flashy), it goes with the turf.

6. What is the best comment you have heard about your i8?

Besides the looks of the i8, people generally comment on the hybrid side of things, and how amazing it is to get that performance out of an electric car! 

7. Do you find there is still a generalization/stigma out there surrounding woman owning sports cars, such as “her husband must have bought it” or “She got it in the divorce”?

Never mind the stigma around woman owning sport cars, it’s the stigma/generalization about women drivers that gets me! I can drive better than a lot of guys I know, but yet I get classified as a “chic driver”. Grinds me. You will always get comments when owning a sports car, same as older guys owning it because of their midlife crises!! Life’s too short to worry about what other people think!

8. You are the only female i8 owner featured in the video, how does that make you feel? Is there any added pressure that comes with owning a sports car such as the i8?

Not many woman grow up to be a petrolhead. I have experience ha ha ha! Some of my girl friends know how to start a car and where the petrol goes, other than that not much else matters to them about what they drive. So I think I am really passionate about cars, and have the knowledge to back my passion! Thats the difference, if you walk the walk, you definitely have to be able to talk the talk!

9. What are your 3 pet hates on the road?

People ignoring basic traffic rules, especially if I have my kids in the car!!

General lack of common sense and compassion for other drivers! We are all stuck in traffic don’t text while the light is green and we’ve been queuing for 20 minutes!!!!!!!!

The way taxi drivers disrespect the lives of their passengers, and others. I always try to imagine myself in those taxis, why do the passengers not tell the drivers to slow down and drive safe?

  1.  How do we get more woman in sports cars?

Women need to be passionate about it, just as the next guy. The most dangerous thing about driving fast cars is lack of experience.

Look out for for Juliet’s new video review with the BMW i8, coming soon!

Image via: BMW