FAST COMPANY -- WORLD'S TOP WOMEN RACE DRIVERS AT ROAD ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND Virtually every top female racing driver in the world will be in Atlanta this weekend for one or another of the five races that make up the Road Atlanta Grand...
FAST COMPANY -- WORLD'S TOP WOMEN RACE DRIVERS AT ROAD ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND
Virtually every top female racing driver in the world will be in Atlanta this weekend for one or another of the five races that make up the Road Atlanta Grand Prix, April 17 - 18. Unique among this crowd, however, is Lynx Racing driver Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington. On Saturday, at 12:15 p.m., she will drive her #19 Lynx Racing/S3 Racing Formula Mazda (a 1200-lb. Indy-type car with a top speed of 150 mph) in the Star Mazda Championship race. On Sunday, at noon, Senske will move over to the opposite end of the motorsports spectrum. Elimination trials involving a large group of top female drivers from around the world will reduce the group to 16 finalists. Each will drive an identically-prepared Panoz Esperante (a 3,000-lb., 350 hp, 170 mph sports car) in the first event of the innovative new Women's Global GT Championship (WGGTS) created by Lyn St. James and Atlanta-based auto racing entrepreneur Don Panoz. And Senske, having been among the top drivers in preliminary testing earlier this year, plans to be a member of that elite group. What distinguishes her, apart from her youth, talent and self-confidence, is that she drives for Lynx Racing, the only championship-winning race team/ driver development program in modern motorsports owned by women. For the past nine years, Lynx co-owners Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty have been seeking out young drivers with championship potential and providing them with the resources and training to make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' Lynx Racing alumni include Indy-car drivers Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron. Senske is the first female driver in the team's history, and of all the women competing this weekend in Atlanta, she is the one most likely to follow her racing hero, Lyn St. James, onto the short list of female racers (Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie) who have competed in the Indy 500. "This weekend is a major step forward in my career plan," says Senske. "Racing in two such different kinds of cars on the same weekend will help prove to team owners and potential sponsors that I have the talent and determination to make it to the top. I won my first race, in a go-kart at age eight, and ever since then I've been completely focused on my goal of being such a competitive driver that nobody will know there's a woman at the wheel until I'm standing in victory lane and take my helmet off." Senske and her off-track cohort, on-track nemesis, Jennifer Tumminelli, are the only two women drivers in the Star Mazda series, and the only two women who will be driving in both the Mazda and WGGTS races during the weekend. Tumminelli, 33, from Los Gatos, California, who has been racing since 1993, is a former PPG Pace Car Team driver and off-track serves as a computer consultant to Silicon Graphics. "The two cars are as different as night and day, but the talent and determination required to win will be the same for both races," says Tumminelli, who drives for the Star Mazda factory team. "The Formula Mazda is light and nimble and corners like it's on rails, while the Panoz slides through the turns and accelerates like a rocket. The difference in driving styles will make alternating between the two cars all weekend a real challenge, but we're up for it. Sara and I are good friends off-track, but once the green flag drops, watch out!" ________________________________________
Thursday, April 15 Test Day / Media Interviews At Track
Friday, April 16 8:00 a.m. 8:20 a.m. Star Mazda Practice 11:10 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Star Mazda Practice 1:05 p.m. 1:25 p.m. WGGTS Practice 2:15 p.m. 2:35 p.m. WGGTS Practice 2:45 p.m. 3:05 p.m. Star Mazda Practice 5:15 p.m. 6:00 p.m. Star Mazda Qualifying
Saturday, April 17 10:15 a.m. 10:45 a.m. WGGTS Qualifying 11:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. WGGTS Qualifying 12:15 p.m. 1:00 p.m. Star Mazda Race Sunday, April 18 8:00 a.m. 8:15 a.m. WGGTS Warm-Up 10:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. WGGTS Driver's Meeting 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. WGGTS Race 1:05 p.m.