As the only teenage female professional sports car racer in North America, Aurora Straus is making a name for herself at only 19 years old as a racer, a Harvard student, an advocate for girls’ empowerment, and a musician.
Aurora drove for the first time at 13 years old in a Mazda Miata at Monticello Motor Club. Although she first got behind the wheel to learn basic defensive driving skills her passion for motorsports grew quickly. With no prior karting experience, she began wheel-to-wheel racing against all genders and ages in 2014. Aurora ran her first semi-professional race in 2015, and ultimately ran two partial seasons in a Mazda MX-5 sponsored by ModSpace Motorsports. In 2016, in her first professional race in the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, Aurora drove her car from 24th to 9th place. What started as a hobby quickly developed into a career, and in 2017, Aurora debuted in her first full pro season ever. She finished just outside of the top 10 in championship points, with a 4th place finish at Daytona and a 5th place finish at Sebring.
This year, Aurora is contracted to run a full season in a BMW M4 GT4 in Pirelli World Challenge. Thanks to major sponsors Richard Mille and ModSpace, her #36 car is currently leading in championship points with four races left in the season. If she wins the championship, she will be the first-ever female champion in World Challenge.
While Aurora is breaking glass ceilings in the motorsports world, she has also made waves off-track through her “Girls With Drive” nonprofit and educational initiative. Through the kindness of Pirelli World Challenge and her sponsors, Aurora has been comping race tickets for dozens of Girl Scouts and hosting them for a full-day STEM program. Her long-term goal with Girls With Drive is to create a mentorship program between girls interested in male-dominated fields and other powerhouse women. She envisions a world in which women – whether they are in a board seat or a race seat – are no longer the minority in their industry.
Before Aurora dove into the motorsports industry, she had already flourished with her love of music. Her hometown, Cold Spring, fostered her love of local folk music, and she now plays regularly in Boston and New York. A piano player as of five years old, she quickly began performing and composing her own material, instrumental and vocal, by nine years old. An avid guitar and bass player as well, she hopes to release an EP of original music in the coming months.
When she’s not burning rubber or playing guitar, Aurora is also a student. She is a part of Harvard University’s Class of 2022, and is pursuing degrees in mechanical engineering and english literature.