Marybeth
Harrison

Drives a Chevrolet Camaro in the American BF Goodrich Trans Am Series.

Marybeth Harrison is one of only a few race car drivers to make it to the ranks of professional road racing when, in 2000, she raced a partial season for Glacier Bear Racing in the Trans-Am series. Since that time, she has managed the ProFormance Racing School located in Vancouver Canada and when time (and money!) permits, she races one of ProFormance's 355 hp NASCAR-style race cars. Next race July 9-10 at Race City Motorsport Park, Calgary AB.

MaryBeth Harrison - The Canadian drives a Chevrolet Camaro in the American BF Goodrich Trans Am Series.

How I got started in racing ...

When I was about 8 years old, my mom, dad, younger brother & I went to visit some friend's of my parents. My dad's friend had a Corvette and he let my dad take it for a drive with me in the passenger seat. I was so enthralled with the experience of being in this hot car that I said to myself "when I grow up I'm going to buy a Corvette!" True to my 8-year-old-word, after I graduated from university and had traveled for two years (one year in Australia/New Zealand and then one year in Japan), I worked, saved my money and was finally able to buy a 1970 'big block' Corvette.

Needless to say, I was pretty happy about getting my dream car so joined a local Corvette club so I could show it off ;-) I soon found out that the club held weekend slalom racing events and one weekend, I got talked into going. I entered into the women's event and came away with the first trophy I'd ever won in my life! After the women's event, I ran against the guys but found out that it wasn't as easy as just putting pedal to metal. After knocking down a gazillion cones and finishing way down the list, I decided to go to a racing school to learn how to be faster so I could W-I-N.

In the Fall of 1993, I attended my first school (at ProFormance Racing) and totally fell in love with racing. I came home after the 2-day program and told my boyfriend that I was going to become a race car driver! He was very supportive and agreed to go solo on our business consulting company while I pursued sponsorship & racing on a full time basis.

I bought a kart in 1994, started racing and volunteering at ProFormance Racing. Two years later I was a full fledged instructor at ProFormance and had graduated from karts to ProFormance's racing series which used a fleet of equally-prepared Toyotas Corollas. I was Rookie of the Year in 1996; broke the track record and had it not been for a technicality, would have won (and should have won!) the championship in 1997. In 1998 I was fortunate to team up with Gary Josefczyk from a local Domino's Pizza restaurant who helped me fund a Formula 1600 car. We won the Canadian Formula Drivers Association Championship in the west that year and then the following year I went east and ran in the Bridgestone Racing School's Formula 2000 series. I didn't do all that great in the series itself - I think I finished 6th in the series - but I did end up running within, I think it was one tenth of the track record in a one-on-one coaching session we ran the last day I was there. Should have done that at the beginning!

In the meantime, I had also been hired by PPG to be part of their Pace Car Program. For two years, I attended CART races at numerous North American tracks (and even Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!) giving VIP rides in the PPG pace cars as well as pacing CART and support races.

In 2000 I hooked up with Glacier Bear Racing, a new Trans-Am team out of North Carolina. I became their driver that year on a limited schedule competing at tracks like Laguna Seca and Road America against drivers like Brian Simo, Boris Said & Paul Gentilozzi. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find the sponsorship funds we needed to continue racing and eventually had to sell our beautiful Pratt & Miller Camero :-(. However, that hasn't stopped myself and Ed Moskel (Glacier Bear's Marketing Manager) from continuing to try to find those elusive sponsorship dollars.

In the meantime, I was offered a full time job at ProFormance Racing and since my racing options for 2001 were limited, I took the job. I was able to race once that year at Las Vegas Motorspeedway; in 2002 at Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary (fastest race lap in a ProFormance car); and in 2003 also at Race City at the GT Canadian Championships where I took first place in GT1 class.

At the present time, I continue to race one of ProFormance's 355 hp ASA-type Monte Carlos & Grand Prixs. Glacier Bear Racing continues to look for sponsorship funds.

As for the boyfriend, he is long gone and I am now madly in love with (and engaged to) my partner at ProFormance Racing, Norm Olynuk. We have alot of fun together and spend time dreaming of the day I can go racing again! :-)

Source: E-Mail or www.marybeth-harrison.com

Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women

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