Need for Speed


Lawson Aschenbach, right, celebrates a Street Tuner championship in September with team co-driver David Thilenius at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.


“There’s no better feeling than crossing the finish line first,” says professional racecar driver Lawson Aschenbach. He started racing go-karts at age 8, became a national champion karter, and now continues his winning ways in sports cars, with top finishes every year since his debut in 2005. He currently drives for the Compass360 Racing team, which competes in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner class.

“I love the competition, speed, adrenaline and precision in motorsports,” says Aschenbach, who double majored in engineering science and mathematics at Vanderbilt. “I started racing as a hobby and as a fun thing to do with my brother and dad. But over time it became a passion and, ultimately, a career.”

Aschenbach’s training regimen builds the stamina required to drive for hours at 160-plus mph in a fireproof suit inside a 100-degree racecar. His marketing plan, including a strong online presence, creates relationships with sponsors and fans crucial for success.

“Drivers can’t just be drivers anymore,” he says. “Between training, sponsor commitments, sponsor development, marketing, traveling and the actual racing, it gets very busy, keeps you on the road for weeks or months, and tests your mental strength. But I wouldn’t trade it for any other career.”

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