Need for speed! Interview of SmartCert sponsored racecar driver Olivia Askew
What does SmartCert and racecar driver, Olivia Askew, have in common? Both have a need for speed and a strong understanding of how to excel in competitive environments.
We interviewed Olivia just as she graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a statistical emphasis. SmartCert is a major advocate for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and proudly sponsors Olivia in the TC America racing series.
Olivia developed a passion for high-speed, extreme sports and competition at a young age. As a teenager, she was a world-class freeride snow skier and a “Freeride World Tour member.” During that same time, her dad, David Askew, a SmartCert investor, introduced her to car racing. Today, Olivia, 22, has traded her snow skis for a BMW M2 CS and is a member of the Fast Track Racing team.
How did you become interested in car racing?
My dad owns the DXDT Racing team and is a driver, so I was always around racing. In high school, I focused on competitive freeride skiing and learned to drive a race car as a side hobby. I had fun participating in club races and honed my skills.
The pandemic hit when I was in college and shut down competitive skiing, so I began to focus more on car racing and, of course, school.
When did you join TC America?
In 2020 I was invited to the Virginia International Raceway to test drive a Honda Civic Type R TCR. I did well and was asked to participate in an actual race. I entered three more races in 2020 and was hooked.
What kind of car do you drive?
In 2021, I switched to the BMW M2 CS, which is the car I still drive. It has the same body, frame, and engine as a streetcar. TC America is divided into 3 categories – TCX, TC and TCA. The BMW M2 CS falls into TCX which is the fastest division. My car can go more than 150 mph on the straightaways.
I raced the BMW in four races in 2021 and will participate in seven races this year.
What is a typical race weekend like?
My racing team, Fast Track Racing, brings our cars to the races in two big trucks. I call it a traveling circus because everything goes up one day and is torn down four days later. I fly to the races and everything is set up and when I arrive.
We have two 30-minute practice runs on Friday and a 15-minute qualifying on Saturday morning. The first race is Saturday afternoon, followed by another race on Sunday. Each race takes about 50 minutes and has up to 32 cars on the track. It’s busy out there! All three classes of TC America racing are held at one time.
How many females race in the TC America series?
Two females compete in TC America — Sally McNulty, who drives a Honda Civic Si and I. Racing requires understanding how to handle the car, patience, and strategy to maneuver around the slower cars and drive in all the traffic. Neither sex has an advantage. My favorite parts of the race are the start and maneuvering through the traffic. A lot is going on and it requires the ability to focus and be aggressive, which I learned through competitive skiing.
How do you prepare for races and different racetracks?
My car stays with the racing team, so practicing requires a bit of ingenuity. Driving go-karts really helps improve car control. I also watch lots of videos of other people driving at the tracks we will race at. And I am currently in the process of building a car simulator at my house. It will be like a race car with a chassis, race seat, pedals, steering wheel, and wheelbase. I’ll also have three monitors and I’ll be able to simulate the actual racetracks.
How did you get affiliated with SmartCert?
It is very common for race cars to be sponsored by companies and SmartCert was a natural fit.
During a race, driving skills and fast reflexes are essential and so is understanding the mechanics of the car.
Each car has approximately 30,000 parts, including screws, nuts, bolts, fasteners, sub-assemblies, etc. Car manufacturers demand quality certs from their suppliers, which in turn require them from their vendors. SmartCert’s cloud-based, self-service platform simplifies the process of tracking certs through supply chains.
What is your race schedule this year?
The TC America season includes seven races from April through October. Watch Olivia drive the SmartCert car at these events.
|Sonoma Raceway||April 14 – 17||Sonoma, CA|
|NOLA Motorsports Park||May 19 – 22||Avondale, LA|
|VIRginia International Raceway||June 17 – 19||Alton, VA|
|Watkins Glen International||July 22 – 24||Watkins Glen, NY|
|Road America||August 19 – 21||Plymouth, WI|
|Sebring International Raceway||September 23- 25||Sebring, FL|
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway||October 7 – 9||Indianapolis, IN|