DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Two hours before the green flag dropped in the BMW Endurance Challenge, a four-hour sports-car race, Aurora Straus ’22 was seated in the corner of a conference room stage at Daytona International Speedway, giving a PowerPoint on her laptop to Girl Scout Troop 2031.
She explained friction, engineering, and aerodynamics, and talked about how the BMW M4 GT4, the car she was driving in her first race of the season, was outfitted with special brakes and tires so she could drive both faster and safer. Then she took questions:
How much time do you have to get out of the car in the pit? (Ten seconds.) Does the car have turn signals? (Yes, but she almost never uses them.) Does the GS sticker on her car stands for Girl Scouts? (Unfortunately, no.)
“It’s great to show them something they are not exposed to very often,” said Katie Kennedy, co-leader of the nearby Melbourne troop. “A lot of these girls haven’t been to a race, so she’s a great role model.”
Bella Koch, a 10-year-old with a giant white bow in her hair, was impressed. “She let us get in her car, and I like that she’s trying to make more girls drivers.”
For Straus, the visit was critical to why she even gets in a car.
“My long-term goal with racing is to use it as a platform for Girls With Drive,” she said, referring to the nonprofit she founded in 2018. “What sold me on staying in racing was the young girls who came to watch me at the track. I amassed a small following, and they would drive from racetrack to racetrack and I realized I accidentally have an effect on girls. If I didn’t do this, who would be here for these girls?”