Julia Landauer ’14 is not your typical college student: when she was 10 years old, she started racing go-karts. By age 13, her ambition and talent provoked her to branch out into racing cars. And a year later at age 14, Landauer became the first female and the youngest driver to win the Skip Barber Racing Series. When she turned 17, Landauer received her NASCAR license and today travels the country participating in NASCAR races and events. She is also the founder of Julia Landauer Racing, which promotes her image and seeks sponsors for her racing team. As a typically busy college student, she successfully manages to balance academics with her professional racing career. The Daily spoke with Landauer to find out more about her experiences as both a Stanford undergrad and a racecar driver.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Why did you come to Stanford?
Julia Landauer (JL): I consider education really important, and I was going to pursue it anyway. [Stanford] is such a huge research institution, which made it really attractive. Also, the networking is incredible. Overall, it was perfect, and it didn’t hurt that it has such nice weather.
TSD:How do you balance your racing and your Stanford lives?
JL:It’s really tough. High school was manageable, [and] even though I went to a very competitive school, I got used to it. Right now, my biggest issue is the sheer amount of time I’m in class. All the time I am in class I can’t dedicate it to the business side of racing.
TSD: Do you need to drive every week to stay competitive?
JL:No, it is kind of like riding a bike, it comes back pretty quickly. But I do work out every day — strength training and endurance. Despite my small frame, I am strong.
TSD:Do you feel that it is difficult to compete in such a male-dominated sport?
JL:I’ve had a pretty good time with it; I don’t think that I have gotten a lot of negativity. For one, I don’t exude “girliness,” but overall, I think it really comes down to proving myself on [the] track. If they can see me as a competitor, then they’ll see me as that — a driver, not as the girl who is a racer.
TSD: What are your current plans for racing?
JL: I’m pushing the driving 100 percent. I’ve dreamed of making it to the top level of NASCAR driving. But I am also obviously pursuing an education and developing Julia Landauer Racing as a brand. If the driving doesn’t work out, I am going to do something in the industry.
– Ethan Kessinger