Rzadzinski Revved Up for Reality Competition

Stefan Rzadzinski is hoping to get the inside track on a spot in a prestigious auto race through a new reality web series.

Stefan Rzadzinski is competing for a spot in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a new web reality series.

Photograph by Glenn Cook

Stefan Rzadzinski is hoping to get the inside track on a spot in a prestigious auto race through a new reality web series.

Starting in late March, Rzadzinski will be taking a break from his full-time studies at MacEwan University, where he’s in the final semester of a marketing degree program, to take part in Race to 24, a new 12-part online documentary series where he could win a spot driving for Team SARD-Morand in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

“It’s unbelievable,” says the 22-year-old who drives a modest Volkswagen Jetta around Edmonton in his day-to-day life. “I know it’ll be very, very difficult to win that ride, but I hope to do everything I can to — not to be cliché — take it step by step and worry about the next challenge and not get ahead of myself. There are 24 competitors. It’s a long way before you win that ride.”

The opportunity to participate in Race to 24 came about in the way many of Rzadzinski’s opportunities come about — through reaching out and approaching people, a skill that dovetails nicely with his university degree.

After emailing Team SARD-Monard out of the blue, he was invited to submit his racing résumé and a one-minute video. About six weeks later, he finally got the good news that he would be in the competition.

“They’re doing a good job of only giving us as much information as we need to know in this whole thing,” Rzadzinski laughs.  

The series will bring 24 talented young drivers from all over the world first to Team SARD-Morand’s home base in Switzerland, then to racetracks in Abu Dhabi, Japan, Portugal and France.

“They’ve promised us it’s not going to be some cheesy reality show style of thing,” Rzadzinski says. “They really want it to be more of a documentary, where you can get to know the drivers. … They want to show the stories of what goes on [behind the scenes].”

Rzadzinski has been racing since he was eight years old, starting with go-karts and moving up through the ranks. He lists the late Greg Moore as one of the drivers he looked up to as a kid. Last season, he was a development driver for Tagliani Autosport — a team owned by Canadian racing veteran Alex Tagliani — in the NASCAR Canada series.

“I’ve never, ever wanted to do anything else,” he says.

While racing at Le Mans would be a huge boost to Rzadzinski’s career, he isn’t looking too far ahead, because he knows the auto-racing world is fraught with uncertainty.

“You see guys who will be pros forever, it seems like, and the next year, they’re on the sidelines,” he says, adding that he also sees a future for himself beyond the racetrack. “There’s an element of that that’s a little nerve-racking and frustrating. … You have to expect that there’s a lot of uncertainty, and you have to hope you get the opportunities. And when you do get the opportunities, you have to show well.”

The series premieres on raceto24.com on March 26, and the finale is scheduled to be broadcast live on June 6. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race goes on June 13 and 14.