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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Aurora Straus

Aurora Straus is the focus of this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass…

Photo: AuroraStraus.com

Aurora Straus has established herself as an up-and-comer in the sports car racing world and this year makes the transition to Pirelli World Challenge GTS competition as part of ST Racing’s SprintX lineup.

This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Straus fills us in on the next step in her racing career and what she’s up to outside of the cockpit.

How did your deal with ST Racing come together?

“This entire deal is thanks to Nick Longhi who has been managing me for the last year and a half now. He knew Ken Tan, the owner of ST racing, and I couldn’t have a better team or better car.

“I’m so excited to race the BMW M4 GT4. It has more horsepower and better handling than anything I’ve had the privilege of driving before and the team will take good care of me.

“I’m testing it for the first time next week and I’m very excited to get behind the wheel.”

What have you been doing to prepare yourself?

“I’ve spent a lot of time looking at video and I’m going to test as much as I possibly can. My first race is actually coming up pretty quickly at Circuit of The Americas (March 23 – 25).

“It’s pretty cold here in Boston and I don’t have access to that many tracks so I’ve been trying to work out and keep in shape as best as I can to be ready for the opportunity.”

How much have you followed PWC in the past?

“I’ve paid fairly close attention. It’s always been a really interesting option for me. I think the racing and the competition there is insanely close.

“I’m looking forward to the close, wheel-to-wheel racing in SprintX next year and I think the BMW is going to be especially competitive.

“I’m really excited about the SprintX format. I like that it’s still a two-driver format and there’s still strategy involved, but I think the shorter, one-hour races are going to make it a lot more interesting. I think it will be a lot of action in a short period of time.”

Is it extra special to be on a team with a female teammate in Samantha Tan?

“It’s definitely special to have another female driver on the team. It’s not something that I’ve really experienced before.

“I can speak from experience that when I was little, I didn’t see that many female racers out there and representation matters.

“To have not one but two female racers in the same team in the same series is less unheard of than it was a few years ago, but still pretty rare.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish with her behind the wheel and otherwise.”

What keeps you busy outside of racing?

“I’ve enrolled in the Harvard class of 2022. I deferred a year to race and to work full-time at a digital healthcare startup in downtown Boston. I’m living here full time and I’m heading to school in August.

“I’m intending to study English and mechanical engineering, with the emphasis on intended! The mechanical engineering is definitely keeping racing in mind.

“I’ve always been a bit of a gear head but for most of my life I’ve been just as interested in the engineering side of racing than the driving side, if not more so.

“Long term, I would love to continue driving, but if I could stay involved in the racing world as an engineer that would be as much of a dream come true.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Sir Skidsalot

    February 7, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Wow, if she drives even half as good as she looks, LOOK OUT! And smart too, Harvard, very impressed. I look forward to seeing her drive out here at Laguna Seca. Best wishes Aurora, we need more girls/women in racing.

  2. Matt Plumb

    February 7, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Nice work Aurora, keep it up. Couldn’t find a better person in Longhi, has won in everything he been a part of, multiple GT and GS championships. Keep surrounding yourself with folks of that caliber, see you in the paddock and congrats.

  3. Eli Schiff

    February 7, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    The good news is that she can in fact drive. In the Conti race at Daytona she drove through the pack legitimately well, 20th to about 8th on pace at one point, track green the whole time. I talked to her during the fan walk, very smart, very impressive kid. Great personality. She was swamped by fans.

    • Jezza819

      February 7, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      What happened to their car? I saw her up to about 8th or 9th like you said then I left the race and came back about a hour or so later and they were 20+ laps down.

      • M3ForMe

        February 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm

        Her team mate Phillips got tangled in the Audi/Mercedes/Aston/Mustang wreck in turn 2 that caused the yellow. Al Carter never got in the car.

  4. WBrowning

    February 7, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    She has a new fan here. Go Aurora!

    • WesGTR

      February 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Seconded! I’ll be keeping an eye out on her. Great interview SC365.

  5. Barbara Lenox

    February 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders, racing and college. She’s a great example for young women to follow.

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