Women in Motorsports: Stephanie Andersen

B-Spec Racer has her sights set on the SCCA Runoffs and returning to pro racing, while also working to make racers safer

Stephanie Andersen went from Spec Miata to a B-Spec Mazda2 for one reason: to race in Pirelli World Challenge. After winning in the Spec Miata, including taking the Midwestern Council championship in 2014, the lure of pro racing was too much to resist. It may have only been one race, but that fire still burns. In the meantime, she’s racing in the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour with her eyes on the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I just did the one [World Challenge] race at Road America,” Andersen says. “My goal was to build the Mazda2 because I wanted to do a pro race, just as my own personal achievement. But it was a huge cost, so this year I wanted to make my money go as far as I could and decided to do the Majors Tour to the Runoffs.”

Andersen recently relocated from Wisconsin to the Texas Hill Country where she works as production manager for Black Armor Helmets. Black Armor owner James Wilson, she notes, is the reason she got into the Mazda2 B-Spec car. She’s applying her background as a research chemist – she spent 15 years in the paint and coatings industry previously – into creating better safety products.

In Wisconsin she raced at Blackhawk Farms, Road America and the Milwaukee Mile (home of her first win). It was friends who first got her involved in motorsports. “My friends were autocrossing,” she says. “I never actually autocrossed myself, but I was around that world, and as my friends moved up to wheel-to-wheel racing, I got very interested. I borrowed a friend’s Miata for a track day – I didn’t even know how to drive a manual, so I kept it in third gear the whole time and was very slow. But I had a blast, so I went home and began to look for my own Spec Miata. By the end of that season I was doing time trial-type events in my Spec Miata, then went through a competition school in 2009. I knew I loved it and needed to get out there and race.”

Now she’s getting to experience a whole new set of tracks such as Circuit of the Americas, Texas World Speedway and NOLA Motorsports Park. She’s getting a lot of track time and plans on going to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year, but she still has her eyes on World Challenge.

“My ultimate goal is to get back into pro racing,” she explains. “I loved Pirelli World Challenge; I loved the atmosphere. I want to see where the classes are going – I want to have a car that’s classed appropriately for a longer period of time, so I’m kind of waiting it out to see where the future goes in Touring Car. But I want to stay in a Mazda, [and] in the meantime, I’m doing the Majors and getting a lot more track time.”

Ask Andersen what she does for fun and you’ll see she spends most of her time at the track. She does love travel, she adds, but she especially loves traveling places to race. And she loves animals, being the guardian of three cats and a dog, all rescues. As you can see, though, racing has become her passion, and now her profession as well.