Aurora Straus to race in IMSA Pilot Challenge at Daytona
Aurora Straus will return to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season opener – this time teaming up with Crucial Motorsports, at the wheel of the #58 McLaren Artura GT4, set to make its racing debut.
Together with reigning two-time TCR class champion Taylor Hagler, we will find another talented female driver on the grid of the Daytona season opener in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: American racer Aurora Straus, 24, has in fact announced she will join Crucial Motorsports for the two-week event at Daytona International Speedway, in support of the Rolex 24H race.
Straus will share the #58 McLaren Artura GT4 – at its racing debut – with Michael De Quesada and Henry O’Hara.
"Anyone who has watched Michelin Pilot Challenge recently knows that it is ridiculously competitive, and is filled with seasoned pros and decades of experience" – Straus wrote.
"To race alongside those people is a huge privilege, and I’m looking forward to the challenge!"
Straus started her professional motor racing journey at the wheel of spec Mazda MX-5 cars in 2015, before progressing into the 2016 Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge and then Pirelli World Challenge Sprint-X series in 2018, in a BMW M4 GT4 operated by ST Racing. She would claim two victories and four podiums, ultimately finishing runner up in the class standings.
An experienced GT4 racer – as well as Harvard graduate – Aurora Straus has entered the Pilot Challenge for the first time in 2017, then returned to the Daytona opener in 2018, 2019 and 2020, always in the GS class.
In 2021, she was part of an all-female Richard Mille-backed operation in GT4 America, where she teamed up with two-time IMSA GTD champion Christina Nielsen at the wheel of a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
With the aim of exploring opportunities in sportscars, Straus became the first woman to join the Radical Cup North America in 2022 – and also the first woman to win a race in the series.
Heavily invested in gender equality programs in motorsport, Straus founded "Girls With Drive" – an initiative that aims at mentoring and inspiring young girls to pursue careers in the automotive industry.
Crucial Motorsports will field one of the two brand-new McLaren Arturas on the grid, at its debut in competitions. The Artura GT4 replaces the 570S GT4, now equipped with a 3.0L V6 engine and approximately 100kg lighter compared to its predecessor.
Track action at Daytona will start on Friday 20th January for the traditional tests of the ROAR Before the Rolex 24, where the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams will have five practice sessions, before next weekend's 4-hour race.