Meet the newest member of #TeamRacechick - Tracy Gaudu
We are so excited to announce the latest #TeamRacechick driver, Tracy Gaudu. When she's not providing patient care as a Physician's Assistant, you can find her on the racetrack in her orange Corvette C6 Z06 and geared up in her Racechick fire suit. Read along to hear about Tracy's racing journey and why she's the perfect addition to Team Racechick.
How long have you been competitively driving? How and why did you get started?
I have been competitively driving since 2005 when I bought my first Corvette and joined the Longhorn Corvette Club in Austin, TX which is affiliated with NCCC (National Council of Corvette Clubs). It was through this club that I first heard about low speed auto crossing and thought I would try it. I became hooked quickly. I loved the camaraderie with the other drivers, especially the women drivers. The first event was at a small parking lot in Temple TX. I felt like a fish out of water! Hit a lot of cones but absolutely loved it!! I was amazed at the skill of the other experienced drivers and felt like a sponge trying to learn everything I could from them.
What different series have you competed in? Do you have any favorites?
I started competing with NCCC and also did some local SCCA (Spokes) events to get extra practice at low speed autocross. The SCCA courses were set up much tighter and I knew if I could master those, the NCCC events would come easier and I could be faster. I started competing in NASA HPDEs occasionally at road course events shortly after I started low speed autocross. I obtailed my NASA TT (time trial) license in 2018 and am competing a full schedule this year with NASA TT1.
What has your experience been like as a woman in this male dominated sport?
Being a woman in this sport has brought on snarky remarks from some male competitors in the past. Some men genuinely congratulate me and don't look at me any differently than any other competitor, which is how it should be. I hate to admit this, but I have become less close and even lost male friends due to competition. I have not encountered this yet in NASA.
Do you ever go back to autocrossing or are you a road racer through and through?
Currently, I primarily focus on time trials. I try to do at least one weekend a year of low speed autocross. I still enjoy low speed but prefer higher speed events on tracks. I feel that I wouldn't be the driver I am today without having so many years of low speed autocross under my belt. Low speed autocross teaches a driver car control and that's invaluable on the track.
What have been your highlights in this racing journey?
Winning the National Championship of NCCC in 2008 was the start of my passion for this sport. While learning to drive my first manual transmission car, I caught on quickly and clinched the overall fastest time of the day at every event raced in low speed autocross, and high speed track events while in NCCC. After setting class track records at multiple tracks, I have decided to move up to NASA TT1. I have podiumed at all of my TT1 events and am still in the lead for first place in NASA SE TT1.
As you can see, Tracy is the real deal. Another thing we love about her is her ability to be a women for other women. When she sees another driver at the track in a Racechick suit, she's the first to introduce herself and help wherever she can. (Pictured with Suzette Tallman)
When asked about her favorite racing memory, here's what she said:
My favorite racing memory is when I was competing at the high speed events at a NCCC convention in Omaha at Raceway Park of the Midlands in 2016. I was having a check engine light issue with the car, and a woman (Natha Waldbaum) was called to help me figure it out. I met her the morning of the event and found out that she was an instructor at the course. I had been to this track the year before, but she and I went into the classroom to look at the track map and she gave me some tips and answered my questions. She was my support and biggest cheerleader during the event. She was just as happy as I was when I had the overall fastest time and was within tenths of beating the track record. Natha and I were fast friends and I love her friendship.
Way to go Natha, and way carry that torch Tracy!!!
What does the Racechick brand mean to you?
The Racechick brand means so much to me. I have loved what it stands for since I first found out about it and knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it. I love how it's for the badass women out there who want more on and off the track! I truly feel like the perfect ambassador for this brand. I am not afraid to run with the guys and love when I get the win! Empowering women to be fast and fearless and to get it done!
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
So what's next for you?
I am looking forward to my first NASA National Championships this September at Mid-Ohio.