For as long as Astrid Lynn can remember, she has been going to the racetrack with her family. Her dad and stepmom even got married on the Start-Finish line at Lime Rock Park a few years ago.
It’s only natural the 14-year-old would go from a spectator to racing cars with ambitions of one day being part of a professional race team. Having raced go-karts since age 8, Lynn is getting ready to make the leap into road course racing with NASA when she gets her racing license.
“It’s just always been in my blood, I guess, since my grandfather and my father were into it,” Lynn said. “It’s kind of in the blood.”
The teen from Hunterdon County, N.J., isn’t the average newcomer to the sport. Between karting and getting laps in an Audi on a private track, Lynn probably has more experience than drivers twice her age. It also helps that her father, Scott, has been a driving coach for more than 25 years.
“It was kind of always the plan going in was to get into cars. I never looked at karting as I’m going to be 60 years old and still go-karting and never go into cars,” she said. “That wasn’t my mindset. It was more of get into the bigger things and keep expanding.”
In karting, Lynn learned about braking, looking ahead at the field and maintaining a consistent flow, skills that naturally translate into road-course racing. She became well-versed in reading data from the AiM system and frequently made her own repairs and adjustments to the kart.
“I watched her race go-karts and I see that she’s got a very tenacious attitude. She’s analytical and she seems to have the patience needed to do the right thing at the right time,” said family friend Keith Stockton, “which is a little bit uncanny in a lot of ways.”
The next step was to enroll Lynn into NASA’s HPDE program where she is earning her race license and to get onto the track where she can race against older and more experienced competitors. Scott and Astrid are building a BMW E36 that will be her track car.
“Scott and Astrid work seamlessly together,” said her stepmom Michelle. “They’ve stripped the BMW all together, they put electronics in the car together, all the wiring harnesses. Astrid has been in front of that 100 percent.”
Auto racing has been all-consuming for Lynn. Where some youths know every stat about their favorite NBA player, Lynn can tick off names of drivers and their career stats without having to Google it. She’ll practice driving on the family’s SimCraft simulator or read an article on changing brakes—all before the eighth-grader starts class for the day at J.P. Chase Middle School.
What do Lynn’s friends think about her racing competitively at such a young age? “They always see it on my Instagram … and they always say I look like I’m having a great time, which I am,” she said. “They’re really supportive of me even though it’s something that they’re not used to, like stick-and-ball sports.”
Scott and Michelle have started the deep dive on the business and marketing side with Astrid, who has the goal to race in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge when she turns 16. Michelle, who does web design and photography, built Astrid’s website (astridlynnracing.com) and is teaching her the finer points of social media marketing.
“She’s really learning all different kinds of aspects of motorsports,” Michelle said. “There’s a lot of facets to the industry and there’s a lot of different avenues she can go, and being a female, I think that’s an advantage for her.”
Adds Scott, “She’s young, she’s a sponge, so she listens well and really wants to apply herself in the best way she can.”
Scott coaches Astrid at the track about “70 percent of the time,” but has hand-picked instructors to help with her development, he said. When they were karting, Scott would let his daughter calculate gear ratios and do the adjustments to the kart.
Because her dad and stepmom run the Porsche and Audi clubs in New Jersey, Astrid frequently meets professional racers. She’ll talk to them about where they are braking into a turn or discuss car setups. She’ll also freely share her racing wisdom about a track.
“I talk to a lot of professional drivers and it’s always great to hear their experiences and what they’re up to,” Astrid said.
Professional racer Cameron Lawrence met the Lynn family a few years ago at an event in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was struck by Astrid’s racing knowledge at a young age and her determination to be a pro driver. Lawrence believes her parental support will go a long way in making that happen.
“She takes the time to take things in before she goes out and really tries it for herself,” said Lawrence, who lives near Orlando. “I think that pays off in the long run kind of learning from other people’s mistakes, people’s experience.”
Astrid wants to pursue a mechanical engineering degree while trying to break into professional racing. Lawrence can relate to Astrid’s singular focus on racing.
“It’s our joy and passion. We enjoy seeing other people that have the same passion as us,” Lawrence said. “When I started racing, I was kind of the odd one out, or the one that was spending more time doing stuff that my friends really didn’t understand or get.”
Stockton looks forward to racing against Astrid and doesn’t mind if he gets beat by a teenager.
“I’m ready to lose to a superior driver any day of the week. That’s not a problem,” Stockton said. “That would be a lot of fun and hopefully one day I’ll get to drive on the track with her.”
|Hometown:||Hunterdon County, N.J.|
|Racing Class:||Germain Touring Series|
|Favorite Food:||Steak and pasta|
|Favorite TV show:||“Seinfeld” and “How It’s Made”|
|Favorite Movie:||“Titanic Truth in 24”|
|Favorite Track:||Lime Rock Daytona|
|Dream Racecar:||Porsche or Audie R8 LMS|