SONOMA, Calif. — Following the previous announcement and driver reveal of their first of two entries into the 2018 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill Presented by Hawk Performance, Flying Lizard Motorsports today unveiled the driver lineup for the second car.
The No. 45 Jester & Babbitt Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports Toyo Tires Audi R8 LMS GT4 will be shared by female drivers Christina Nielsen, Aurora Straus, Ashton Harrison, Laura Ely and Erin Vogel. They will be the first women to compete under the Flying Lizard banner and the second all-female team to compete in this year’s event.
Inspired by the October announcement of ShiftUp Now’s all-female 25 Hours of Thunderhill effort, Erin Vogel of Jester and Babbitt Racing contacted Flying Lizard Program Manager Darren Law, eager to also produce a racing program to provide more women the opportunity to get behind the wheel for the longest race in North America.
“I’m proud that Flying Lizard Motorsports is able support a program that provides more women with an opportunity to show their driving talent,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Erin has put together a great driver line up, they have a good mix of professional experience in Christina Nielsen and Aurora Straus along with up-and-comers Ashton and Laura. We have a shot at not only a class win but potentially an overall podium. Having a second car racing on the Toyo Proxes slick will give us another opportunity to showcase the grip and durability of the tires.”
While this may be the first time Nielsen has competed in the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the Danish race car driver is no stranger to endurance racing.
In 2016, Nielsen became the first female to win a professional full season sports car championship when she clinched the GTD IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
In 2017, she repeated her championship success, securing the title with seven podium finishes. In 2018 she officially became affiliated as a Porsche selected driver, earning at win at Road America and an additional podium finish.
Professional racer Straus began her motorsports career at Monticello Motor Club at age 13, when her father got behind the wheel with her to teach her car control and defensive driving skills. By age 17, she became one of the youngest racers ever in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge. In 2018, she piloted her Richard Mille/Tiffany and Co BMW to second overall in the GT4 championship.
Twenty-four-year-old Harrison comes to the all-women’s team as the driver with the most experience at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. In 2017, Harrison made her 25 Hour debut in a Sick Sideways Global MX-5 Cup car, earning a fifth-place finish. She began her racing career a decade ago, following an addicting driving experience at the Bondurant Racing School.
Ely began her motorsports experience in 2016, taking her Porsche GT4 on track. The following year, after participating in over 20 driving experiences, Ely purchased a 2016 Porche GT4 Clubsport and began her club racing career. In late 2017, Ely joined the Pirelli GT3 Cup, now known as the Pirelli Trophy West USA, earning nine wins and an additional nine podiums to date.
Vogel’s experience behind the wheel began as a family affair in 2009 when she joined Audi Club High Performance Driving Experiences with her parents and brother. She raced for two seasons in the Inde Motorsports Ranch Challenge Series, and in 2016 joined competition the Porsche Owners Club, where she currently plans to continue racing in 2019. In 2017 Vogel finished third in the series’ Tribute to Le Mans mini-enduro, also on an all-female effort.
The ladies of the No. 45 Jester & Babbitt Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports Toyo Tires Audi R8 LMS GT4 will race alongside the No. 74 Flying Lizard Motorsports Toyo Tires Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Wolf Henzler, Johannes van Overbeek, Justin Marks, Charlie Hayes, and Andy Wilzoch.