Toronto, ON (February 1, 2018) – ST Racing announced today new plans and a new driver lineup for the upcoming season. In 2018, the Team will feature a 2-car/4-driver lineup in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX program. Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer will be joined by teammates Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum, both moving over after competing in IMSA’s Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge last year.
Team Principal Kenneth Tan was ecstatic with all the changes for 2018: “We started looking at our options about half-way through the season last year, and decided it was time to move up into the GTS SprintX category for 2018 because it requires more team effort with two drivers taking turns in the same car during the same race and a required pit stop. It’s a good progression for Samantha and the whole team. Furthermore, there was an opportunity for us to have another outstanding female driver to race with us, so we requested, and were granted, two of BMW’s amazing new M4 GT4’s. I have always wanted to see more women in auto racing and now for the first time, we have two driving in our team for a total of 4 fabulous drivers. The whole Team is excited and we can’t wait for COTA. Let’s go racing!”
Both Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer are looking forward to getting into the new car, and having two new teammates. “The upcoming season is already looking amazing” stated Tan. “We have new cars, new teammates, and we are entering a new class. The BMW M4 GT4s are much faster than the M235s we were running last year and they look incredible. I’d like to thank Laurel BMW for their support and for helping us secure these cars. Stepping up in GTS SprintX, where the races last one hour with a driver change will be different from the TC races as it will require much more planning and strategies before and during the race. We will have to learn how to adapt on the spot!”
“And, how cool to have Aurora and Connor on board with us.” she added. “I’m really happy to have another female on our team and grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with such great drivers. Altogether, I am positive that we will grow as a team and be extremely successful in the upcoming season.”
Tan’s teammate Nick Wittmer was quick to welcome the new addition to ST Racing’s family: “A great big welcome to our new teammates Aurora and Connor. I’m super happy to run this year again with ST Racing in a BMW M4 GT4 in the SprintX races, where Sam and I will be running in the Pro-Am class.” he said. “I think our new lineup will make sure the M4 runs on top.”
While being two female drivers on a racing team, Samantha and Aurora are hoping to inspire and empower all the young girls and encourage them to take their place in the motorsports world.
Aurora Straus, a high-school senior from Cold Spring, New York, has made a name for herself as a racer, student, musician, writer and strong advocate for young girls. The 19-year old is also a part of Harvard’s Class of 2022, with intended majors in English and/or Mechanical Engineering. Straus started driving at 13 years old in a Mazda Miata and never looked back. Last season, she was the highest-finishing rookie in IMSA’s Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (ST Class) alongside teammate, 26-year old racer Connor Bloum.
Straus can’t wait to go racing with ST Racing. “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining ST Racing for the 2018 season, especially in their debut of SprintX with the BMW M4 GT4s. Last year, Connor and I proved to be extremely competitive in the ST class in IMSA, and moving to the horsepower and perfect handling of the M4 is the right next step. This deal couldn’t have happened without the expert guidance of Nick Longhi and Ken Tan, and I’ll be forever grateful to the two of them for giving me this opportunity. I have no doubt that with the combination of this experienced team, Connor’s record-setting pace, and momentum from 2017, we’ll be making a name for ourselves in the Pirelli World Challenge Series in no time. At this point, I’m just itching to get behind the wheel of that BMW and see what it can do!”
The duo Straus/Bloum put in strong performances in 2017 at Daytona and Sebring in the Continental Tire Challenge. San Diego native and accomplished racer, Connor Bloum shared the same enthusiasm as Straus in joining ST Racing. “I’m really looking forward to my first season of World Challenge in the BMW M4 GT4 with my co-driver, Aurora Straus. After 5 years of competing in the IMSA, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – with multiple podiums and track records under my belt – I can’t wait to join the PWC series and see what the competition has to offer” said Bloum.
“I was able to test the BMW M4 GT4 in December and was absolutely blown away by the performance and handling of the car” he added. “BMW has been building racecars down to a science. I think the M4 GT4 will be extremely competitive against other manufacturers. Being a part of the ST Racing team is going to be the experience of a lifetime, and driving along side Aurora for another season is just icing on the cake. Both Samantha and Aurora are extremely talented young drivers with incredible potential and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunity. Let’s go win some trophies.”
For ST Racing, the season begins on March 23-25 where they will race at the fabulous Circuit Of The Americas, in Texas. Stay tuned !