Welcome to this month’s edition of Ask a Gearhead, our Q&A series with enthusiasts and influencers in the automotive space. Last month we spoke with Freddy “Tavarish” Hernandez, and this month we are pleased to feature Rachel Mills!
Rachel is an innovator and BMW enthusiast from Southern California. She is the founder of Lady Driven America, a community of female enthusiasts driving for gender equality in the auto industry. Their mission is to help foster positive and accurate representations of women in the car community and beyond. Rachel is also the Digital Media Manager for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest nonprofit advocacy organization for AIDS/HIV treatment. Check her out on Instagram for fire posts from her travels and the fast cars she drives.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILY CAR GROWING UP?
My mom’s car was a white E39 5 Series. My dad drove an old Ford Ranger, one from the first generation, and it had a manual transmission. It was an awesome truck, I miss that thing.
WHAT’S THE WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN?
Oh god, I’ve driven some pretty awful sh*t over the years. This is really tough. Once my family got a Dodge minivan rental in Hawaii, it was truly horrible.
IF YOU COULD OWN JUST ONE CAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Probably any 911. I don’t care what year. They just never go out of style, are always fun to drive, and have a little bit of room. My second choice would be a Miata, but those aren’t too practical.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP?
Definitely my favorite road trip is up the California coast. My parents recently moved to Northern California, up by Big Sur. Anywhere there or along the Pacific Northwest is beautiful and the roads are absolutely great. And it’s pretty empty so it’s fun to drive.
YOU’RE DIRECTING FAST & FURIOUS 9, WHAT’S THE HERO CAR?
I would pick a 959. Porsche. Just because they always do a crazy tuner car or something new and exotic. I think a 959 would be pretty badass. Maybe the new GT2 if they wanted something new but the 959 is just so cool.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST ANIMAL TO RIDE IF IT WERE SCALED UP TO THE SIZE OF A HORSE?
Maybe an ostrich if it was just a little bigger. They have those long necks you could hold onto. That kind of seems like a good time.
IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO WEAR FLIP FLOPS WHILE DRIVING? WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED DRIVING FOOTWEAR?
It is absolutely not acceptable to wear flip flops while driving. Especially if you have a manual. I’d rather wear stilettos than flip flops honestly. Stilettos are easier to drive in because they don’t slide off your foot or get stuck when you let the clutch out, which has happened to me before with flip flops. So I never did that again. It’s instant death with flip flops, they’re horrible. Preferred footwear is Vans, or if I’m at the track, my Sparco shoes.
WHAT DO YOU KEEP IN YOUR CAR AT ALL TIMES, JUST IN CASE?
I drive a lot, so the one thing I keep in my car is hand wipes. If I’m driving down to San Diego, I’ll probably stop somewhere to get In-N-Out, or something messy. So the wipes are a lifesaver and necessary before grabbing the shifter or steering wheel.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO MARIO KART CHARACTER?
Oh my god, Yoshi all day.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE? AND WHAT IS IT CALLED?
Is there a female Larry David? Can we put him in a wig? I feel like that would be the most accurate depiction of myself. Larry David is my spirit animal and I love him. All my friends out here in the car industry always make fun of me because I never go to car shows, it’s just too much human interaction. And maybe I’d call it “Please Don’t Invite Me Anywhere.” That would be a working title I guess.
IF YOU HAD AN ICE CREAM TRUCK, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PLAY FROM THE SPEAKER?
This is really a tough one. “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G. Every time it comes on I have to sing every single word.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE LAST CAR YOU RENTED?
Actually the last car I rented was a Competition Package M3 from Turo. I drove it out to the performance center for BMW’s M Track Day with Michelin. It was an awesome, awesome experience. I picked it up a few miles from my office, drove out to Thermal, amazing ride. Obviously I love the F80 M3.
Cover image: Jesse Callahan