Race Car Driver Lawson Aschenbach and his passion for the sport
In July, an overjoyed Lawson Aschenbach celebrated a big win with the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS to take the IMSA Weather Tech Sports Car Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
If you were to see Lawson Aschenbach leisurely strolling along Ocean Drive, smoothie in hand, face all smiles, you would think he’s a laid back kind of guy with a no-stress job.
Think again. Aschenbach is a professional race car driver who regularly revs up to 170 mph. No matter the length or layout of the track, the minute he gets behind the wheel he’s a white-knuckled speedster who shifts gears, zooms around curves and overtakes other drivers in his determination to cross the finish line first. Now that’s stress, and the Pirelli World Challenge champion embraces it.
Aschenbach’s passion for winning began years ago when he and his brothers Conrad and Dustin would race each other on dirt bikes, tractors — anything that had two or four wheels. “It was a blast! We were speed junkies,” he says with a grin, recalling growing up in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“When I was 8, my dad introduced me and my older brother to go-karts. Because I was so young I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I have a random memory of seeing Conrad up in front while I was further back in the pack. I was excited for him, but I knew then that I didn’t want to lose. Ever. For the first year or two I was racing, I didn’t view karting as a career path, but then it worked itself into a passion. I decided I wanted to dedicate myself to racing and make it my living.”
Dedicate he did. In 1998 Aschenbach won the World Karting Association (WKA) Gold Cup Series. He followed it up by winning four more WKA Grand National’s titles and the North American Karting Championship. In 2001, he won the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Southeast National Formula Ford title. He went on to win the SCCA Pro FF2000 series Road to Indy Oval Crown Championship the following year. Aschenbach was on his way.