She is a Spanish beauty who turns heads with not just her looks, but her grit and bravery. For it takes a woman of fortitude to survive – and thrive – in the male-dominated Formula One Grand Prix.

Meet Carmen Jorda, a Spanish race car driver who is currently a development driver for the Renault F1 Team.

Born in Alcoy, Spain, the 28-year-old blonde stunner now splits her time between Valencia in Spain and Miami in the United States.

“As a woman you have to work harder to be taken just as seriously as one of the guys,” mused Jorda on the challenges she faces as a female driver, “But it has never stopped me from expressing my femininity, which can be seen as surprising in a male-dominated, sweaty and greasy environment!”

Jorda’s perseverance and determination have certainly not gone unnoticed. Recently, luxury timepiece brand Bell & Ross chose her as the face of its feminine line. This collaboration reinforces the automotive turn that the brand – previously renowned for its aeronautical watches – has taken.

“I fell in love with the Bell & Ross brand back in February and particularly with the BR S collection,” enthused Carmen. “They are unique and classic watches that convey strength as well as femininity. I am very happy to be able to represent the brand’s feminine line, as I have really enjoyed all the novelties, especially the BR S Diamond Eagle.”

The CEO and president of Bell & Ross, Carlos A. Rosillo, concurred: “Ever since our first meeting with Carmen, we have been looking for a way to make her a part of the Bell & Ross team. Strength and precision are the principles for any ambitious racing driver like Carmen, the same as for every timepiece developed by our brand.

“She represents the Bell & Ross woman: sophisticated and strong, and always willing to stand out and make her own way.” In an exclusive e-mail interview, Jorda tackles more of our queries.

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Jorda striking a pose with the glittering BR S Rose Gold. She is the face of Bell & Ross’ feminine line.

Describe your childhood.

I didn’t have a very traditional childhood. After I tried go-karts with my sister when I was 10, I discovered that I loved the speed and the competition. So it became my passion and I put aside what most kids did at that age. I miss Alcoy because that’s where my family and the people I grew up with remain. So whenever I get a chance, I go visit them and make the most of every minute I have there.

You serve as development driver for Renault Sport Racing. What does your job entail?

As a development driver, it’s my job to test out new systems or updates to the car on the simulator and make sure everything works well for race days. However, I am also racing with Renault in another category so it’s not all development work.

What is the best advice you’ve received from your father (former driver Jose Miguel)?

My father told me to always fight for my dreams and to never give up on myself.

You started your first driving steps at 10, taking part in junior karts. At that age, did you already know you wanted to be a racer?

I fell in love with racing at a very young age, I took small breaks while studying abroad but I always knew I had to go back to it. My competitive spirit and my love of racing, as well as the family influence, led quite naturally to my career in motorsports. I’m very happy it did and there is still more to come!

You are active on Instagram (@carmenjorda) and Twitter. How important is social media to you?

I think social media is important to most young people today; it’s such an easy and exciting way to stay in touch especially when you have to travel for work. I am grateful to have so many loyal fans (with 127,000 followers on Instagram) and social media is a great channel to be able to communicate with them and share exciting news in my life.

How would you describe your personal style?

I think my style is a bit sporty. I like comfort but also style, and find Adidas clothes and accesories to be a great choice for both. Of course, I also love dressing up. Some of my favourite fashion brands are Chanel and Phillipe Plein, but I also enjoy young Spanish designers like Roberto Diz and Alfredo Villalba.

Away from racing, what do you like to do to unwind?

I love to go explore the cities I’m in and discover new places, but I also love to shop and go to the spa or visit new art galleries and eat good food at new restaurants. Whenever I have time, I like to spend it with my friends and family although I never really take a break from training. Running and Pilates or a good gym session can also help me unwind.

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A shot from Jorda’s Instagram account. She has 127,000 followers on Instagram and finds social media a great channel to communicate with fans. Photo: Instagram

Of all the racing tracks in the world, which is your most favourite?

When I was young, my favourite circuit was the Oliva Karting circuit in Valencia where I first learned to drive. But now my favourite is the Jerez circuit which is also in Spain.

You have been to the Sepang Grand Prix in Malaysia. What are your impressions of Malaysia?

I really love the country; there was such nice weather when I was there. The real highlight though was the people. They were very kind and had a lovely, positive attitude.

What are the challenges faced by a female driver in the male-dominated Grand Prix?

Unfortunately, it’s still not a sport that is very open to women and can be rough if you are trying to work your way up. However, I have truly enjoyed being part of this world. I like to embrace all of it and I’m thankful for other women drivers, like Leila Lombardi, Maria Teresa de Philipis and Giovanna Amati, who have helped to pave the way for other women.

How would you advise young girls who want to follow in your footsteps?

Being one of the few girls in motorsports can be tough, especially when you’re young and you don’t find that much in common with other girls your age. But if you love it, don’t give up! Always be on the lookout for the next best opportunity and be true to yourself. This can be true for anything in life; sometimes it will be hard but if you keep going and follow your dreams then it will be worth it!

Which sports personality do you look up to, and why?

When it comes to racing, I look up to Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. They will always be my idols. Although this past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Rio Summer Olympics and I got to meet some amazing athletes there; they are so inspiring as well.

‘I like the Diamond Eagle the best as it transmits strength and beauty at the same time and is a perfect, functional accessory,’ says Jorda of this Bell & Ross watch.

‘I like the Diamond Eagle the best as it transmits strength and beauty at the same time and is a perfect, functional accessory,’ says Jorda of this Bell & Ross watch.

In your opinion, what is your greatest achievement to date?

Being chosen to be part of a Formula One team has truly been a dream come true. It serves as a reminder that I am on the right path to achieve my dreams.

Congratulations on being appointed the face of Bell & Ross’ feminine line. What made you say yes to this partnership?

I had the opportunity to meet the Bell & Ross team at the beginning of the year and they have been wonderful ever since. I already had them on my radar and then they became involved in the Formula One world and expanded their feminine line, so I felt reflected in their values.

Furthermore, time-keeping and watches are an essential part to racing and motorsports. They go hand-in-hand and share many of the same values. For me, it is an opportunity to become more involved in aspects of the motorsport world, and at the same time branch out into the sophisticated world of watch-making.

I think the brand has always had a masculine edge, using aviation instruments as inspiration, but the BR S line and the new feminine pieces are elegant and it’s a great combination.

The BR S Diamond Eagle is the most recent feminine release. What do you like best about this timepiece?

I think the entire BR S line is a unique way to present feminine watches. They have the iconic square Bell & Ross shape inspired by aviation but they are also very feminine. I like the Diamond Eagle the best as it transmits strength and beauty at the same time and is a perfect, functional accessory.

Bell & Ross boutiques are located at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, The Gardens in KL and Gurney Plaza in Penang.