Allison “Ally” Raphael ’21

Whenever I am at the track or in a race, I am the youngest. When I race professionally next year, I will be the sole teenage female professional sports car racer in North America. Being the youngest has always pushed me to do my best on and off the track.

The more practice and strategy you gain as a racer, the more you can trust yourself on track. Learning to trust yourself in racing is one of the key factors that makes me love the sport. There are various times during a race when your mind tells you to hit the brakes, but you must go full throttle. In my very first race, two cars collided in front of me. My mind told me to brake, but instead I went around the accident at full throttle. You have to override every instinct, and it can be terrifying…but this aspect of race car driving has taught me to trust myself in difficult scenarios.

Racing has taught me about perseverance. Last summer was my first multi-class race, meaning that I was not just racing against other MX-5 Miatas, but BMWs, Porsches, and even Ferraris. This would also be the longest race I had done up to that point, being 90 minutes. It was lap four of the race when I was going through the S turn, when the car behind me and I had a collision, leading me to crash into a wall at 90 mph. I walked out of my crushed car feeling legitimately crushed. I was so afraid to ever get back in a car directly after that happened. After that day I had two options: to never race again or to fight my fear and race the next weekend. I have a passion for racing, and I had worked so hard my entire life. I felt that I owed it to myself to keep going. The difference between winners and losers is that the winners get back up every time they fail. Race car driving has taught me that winning does not mean a trophy at the end of the day, but going back on track when you feel you have failed. Learning from past mistakes has led me to become a better driver and more confident person.

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