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Laura Byrnes (born March 4, 1994), is an Australian racing driver, currently competing in the Late Model Racing WA and in other dirt track racing series.
Laura Byrnes was born on March 4, 1994 in Melbourne, Victoria, but moved to Kalgoorlie, a mining town in WA soon after her birth. Her dad, Mark Byrnes, took her at a speedway meet when she was ten years old. Since then, she 'knew that's what she wanted to do'. She then moved to Perth at the age of 11, where her racing career began, and she has been racing for the team Red Shamrock Racing , where her dad is the crew chief, since. Every race is dedicated to Mark, who raised her as a single father since the age of 13. “Without Dad, I wouldn’t be racing, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success I have to date. And there’s more of that to come.”, she said in an article for Perth Magazine. Laura also has the Irish citizenship, being an overseas registered birth.
Junior sedans (2005-2011)
After hearing that her local track was looking for young drivers to join and being inspired by the other junior drivers, she started off her racing career in 2005, racing in the Junior Sedans series. But a crash on December 30, 2010 has almost brought her passion to an end. During the final practice for the upcoming Junior Sedan National Title race, her Daihatsu Charade G100 with the number 27 had suffered a break at the velocity joint, which forced her to stop the car. However, she didn't want to give up and put her team under pressure to fix the steering so she can have one last practice run. After a couple of laps, the back of her car dug in and rolled over. Luckily, she didn't suffer any injuries, but her confidence and motivation were destroyed. ''I would just cry, so worried I would make the same mistakes'', she said. After laying her helmet down for more than ten months, in February 2012, a rare opportunity came her way when she was offered practice sessions in a modified production Sedan. She convinced herself to racing again, however, the fear was still there. Her confidence started to grow again and before she knew it, she was winning trophies again.
Production sedans and other series (2012-2020)
As she was slowly recovering from the crash, she bought a Mitsubishi Sigma and made the move to the senior division of the Production Sedans, being more resolved to make speedway her life. Carrying the number 4, as her birthday, she quickly became one of the most competitive drivers in the state, being selected as part of the 'rising star competition' by the Australian Institute of Sport in 2014 as the only WA female driver and the only Production Sedan driver. Her career got more and more attention by the people and she became an ambassador of the Miracle Babies Foundation, which helps premature born babies, just like herself. ''I was born premature and am small because of it, and some people surprisingly don't know very much about what being premature meant''. In 2015, she had received one of 13 scholarship from the Layne Beachley ''Aim For The Stars'' Foundation in recognition of her positive image for the sport and promoting the Speedway and the women in it. Later, in 2016, the Women of Australian Motor Sport (WAMS) has announced her as one of nine committees for the year. Byrnes' motorsport star continued to rise, receiving a number of big results, including winning three out of three races in a single night, as well as numerous podium finishes around the State. In a sport mostly dominated by men, Laura took on some of the best drivers and won, showing other girls that no matter how big, old or different you are, motorsport is for everyone and each competitor is equal in the car, which she had shown in numerous cases, being the 2013/14 Perth Motorplex Track Champion in her rookie season of Productions. Other divisions Laura has competed in include: Modified Productions, Legend Cars, Super 6 Sedans and Mini Stocks (NZ).
Dirt late models (2020-present)
Since 2020, Laura, together with her dad's team Red Shamrock Racing, have stepped up to Late Model Sedans, the pinnacle of speedway sedan racing worldwide. Driving her Rocket with the number 44, she has finished the Late Model Winter Series second overall in her rookie season after four events. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many races have been different, cancelled or postponed, making it more difficult to evolve on track and gain experience. Her dream is to race overseas in the USA and become a worldwide known driver, inspiring other girls to race and overcome their fear. She is also partly still competing in the Production Sedans series.
Laura Byrnes in the media
- "Girl racer | PerthMagazine". www.perthmagazine.com. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- "Home - Miracle Babies". www.miraclebabies.org.au. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- "Layne's World - Layne Beachley | Access Your Champion Mindset". Layne Beachley. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- "Motorsport | Red Shamrock Racing | Perth". Red Shamrock Racing. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
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