Julia Landauer: “For any woman that wants to get into a male dominated industry, I would really advocate for trying to find male allies.”
Julia Landauer catapulted her racing career off the ground at age 10 in karting. By age 14, she won the Skip Barber Racing Series championship. Landauer was the first female to win that road racing award.
She transitioned from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets before landing in asphalt late models in 2009. From there, the oval side of her career took shape with a few years in Legends’ cars.
In 2015, the now Standford University graduate became the first woman to win a championship in the NASCAR Limited Late Model Series at Motor Mile Speedway. She had a win rate of 50% they year, winning four of eight events.
She’s professional, with a sometimes quirky side. It’s exactly the type of personality that can take you places, in any field. It’s everything that NASCAR needs.
In 2016, she was selected as a NASCAR Next Class member. She went on to run a full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series for Bill McAnally Racing. She finished in 4th and became the highest finishing female driver in the 62-year history of the division.
In 2017, she returned to the NASCAR Pro Series. This time, she was the pilot for Sunrise Ford Racing. She finished 7th in the season standings with a best race result of 5th.
For 2018, Landauer has returned to road racing. She’s been piloting machines for several different teams in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series across Canada race tracks. The Pinty’s Series runs a compilation schedule of asphalt ovals and road courses but they’re more focused on the road racing side of the spectrum.
Landauer is now 26-years-old. Landauer’s seen a few things throughout her racing career. Now, she has some advice for fellow drivers looking to make it to NASCAR. Specifically, the advice tailors to the female racing drivers out there.
“I feel like I’ve had to work harder to earn the team’s respect,” Julia Landauer explained to Yahoo Finance.
“Having someone, like a coach see that, ‘Oh wow, I never went through that.’ It builds a respect toward me because they see I’m dealing with so much more.”
“It’s been challenging but also rewarding to build those relationships with guys that have my back. For any woman that wants to get into a male dominated industry, I would really advocate for trying to find male allies.”
“The guys who’s in your professional space who you feel could be empathetic to what you’re going through. Who you feel can listen to some of the obstacles that women face, that men maybe don’t face.”
“So, if your voice isn’t loud enough for whatever reason — Which I agree is unfair, but sometimes happens — these male allies can be the advocates.”
Related: Danica Patrick on women in racing
Racing starts with a passion. There has to be an exceptional level of drive to make it, male or female.
“The excitement of when you master a corner, you master a lap and you win a race far outweighs the fear. When you’re totally in the zone, it’s like the car is an extension of you.”
“It’s exhilarating and it’s exciting, hot and it’s loud. It’s so intoxicatingly additive.”
But, in order to go racing, you also need funding.
The costs of a fully-funded team in NASCAR vary widely. The most accurate numbers that have been released to the public date back to 2017 when Hendrick Motorsports was taken to court over fees for locating former sponsor, Farmers Insurance.
In that lawsuit, the value of the Farmers Insurance sponsorship was detailed. In 2017, they paid $8 million for just 12 races as the primary sponsor of Kasey Kahne.
Aside from special events, there’s 36 regular season races. Those numbers tell you it costs about $25 million dollars to go racing each season, for one car.
And really, that’s just one sponsor. There are support level sponsor all over the car as well.
“It’s a very competitive sport. Everybody wants that edge that helps you go faster. So, when we’re talking about numbers that big, one has to be very creative in how they find that.”
“I’ve had to be the most creative in terms of ‘How do I build up my brand away from the race track?’ To provide value to various companies that may not be involved in racing now.”
“You have to be a little shameless and ruthless. If you don’t believe in yourself it’s going to be hard to get other people to believe in you.”