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Off the track with Ashley Vandelay: get to know Oracle Red Bull SIM Racing content creator

As the world of Formula 1 takes its wheels further into the United States, it is becoming easier for new fans to access the sport and learn about it thanks to the help of people like Ashley Vandelay.

Ashley Vandelay is a content creator for Oracle Red Bull SIM Racing. Her job focuses on highlighting the SIM Racing Team and the story behind SIM racing. Vandelay decided to start her journey in sports by streaming on Twitch in 2021 during the pandemic. She started streaming the Formula 1 season as a suggestion from her therapist.

Courtesy of Ashley Vandelay

“In 2021, I started streaming (on Twitch) the Formula 1, season and it kind of happened naturally, my anxiety was at an all time high… so my therapist was like ‘hey you have to find a way to socialize’ and Twitch was a way to do that… that's why she suggested I do that for Motorsports because I loved Motorsports as a kid.” said Vandelay.

Being able to stream on Twitch allowed for Vandelay to not only form connections in the Motorsport business but also connections with new motorsport fans across the world. Vandelay feels rewarded when fans are able to DM her and talk to her in real life about how her streams helped them get into Motorsports and further learn about the sport.

“I think the coolest thing is honestly either getting DMs or meeting people in real life and just hearing them be like, ‘hey, like, I didn't know much about Motorsports. Found your stream or I found your content and I learned a little bit and now I'm going to these races.’” stated Vandelay. “I helped them take that step to dive into the Motorsports world. It really means a lot that people are like ohh I found your content interesting and compelling enough that I want to investigate further on my own time and kind of dive into that world and see how I can make it my own.”

Not only does Vandelay create behind the scenes content for Oracle Red Bull SIM Racing team in order for fans, old and new, to understand the fast paced journey that is the Motorsport world,  but she also provides a deep analysis about the sport and the facts that surround it. When asked about her biggest inspiration in the sports realm, Vandelay said it was Mina Kimes. Kimes is a sports reporter and provides analysis for American Football.

Mina Kimes, she knows her stuff and is confident in her analysis… I just love stats, so I appreciate a good numbers analysis and a good numbers game and I think she also makes American Football really approachable and that is something I really want to do with motorsports.” said Vandelay

Mina Kimes was not the only inspiration that Vandelay had to pursue a career in sports. Her parents and brother helped her fall in love with sports and inspire the idea to work in the forum. When Vandelay’s parents immigrated from Poland to the United States, being in New York her parents adopted the idea of sports as a way to get familiar with their new home. Her older brother and her followed in those steps by participating in sports to get to know the kids in her neighborhood.

“... we participated in a lot of sports to get to know the kids in our neighborhood and just to simulate a little bit better in the American way.” said Vandelay.

Courtesy of Ashley Vandelay

Growing up in New York influenced Vandelay’s favorite sports teams and players. When asked about her favorite players and teams, Vandelay did not hesitate to name the New York teams like New York Jets, Yankees, Knicks and the Rangers and of course her favorite players that included Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter. However, Vandelay chose the University of Michigan as her favorite college football team and Oracle Red Bull Racing as her favorite Formula 1 team.

Working in sports allows for many to learn new skills in order to be prepared for new opportunities. Vandelay said that taking some sports broadcasting classes in order to be prepared for her streams on Twitch.

“I've taken some sports broadcasting classes.taking sports broadcasting classes is learning how to not only have fun color commentary, but providing additional value to what someone is watching,” said Vandelay. “So taking those classes really, really helped with that.”

Applying for any type of job can be intimidating due to the uncertainty of what the responses will be. However, as a woman applying in a male dominated industry it can be a bit more challenging. Vandelay shared that she got her start from creating her social media content and having social media managers stumble across her work and reach out to her.

“So I just started creating my content, so streams doing the watch along and having people join for Formula One and that grew to doing watch along for, I mean a lot of other Motorsports including IndyCar, NASCAR,WEC, a lot of multi letter alphabet soup organizations and then creating content around educational stuff highlighting women in Motorsports. I think it's just usually the social media managers from those sports who stumble upon my post and they're like, ‘hey, do you want to create something similar? Would you like to work with us to do something similar in the aspects of a new show or an educational show, or create content around our sport?’” said Vandelay. “So it's putting yourself out there on social media, I think every post is kind of like a lottery ticket. And you never know which ones are going to get picked up based on algorithms or who's going to see it but if you're able to post your high quality content or your takes or your analysis, the more likely someone's going to see it.”

Courtesy of Ashley Vandelay

Vandelay has come far in her career compared to where she started and has learned many lessons along the way. A piece of advice that she would give to herself one year ago would be to not be afraid to put yourself out there.

“Be more audacious. You have to put yourself out there and not be afraid if someone's going to think that I'm too aggressive or think that I'm maybe speaking too highly of myself, just do it and then you get a lot more opportunities or be where I am a little bit faster.” stated Vandelay.

Lastly, here is some advice that Ashley has about dealing with any pressure or judgment from being a woman in sports.

“You find either a support system inside…I have a support system inside, other women who've climbed up the ranks or have been through it or just allies within Motorsport, and then having a support system on the outside, who kind of keeps you in check or in perspective because we're so into our niches sometimes we think that's the whole world, but when you step outside of it, you're like, ok, there's other things going on or there's more important things happening than whatever small stuff on the inside here. So it's always good to have a support system both inside and outside.” said Vandelay,

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