Julia Landauer, Racecar Driver

Clade: Hey Julia, what’s going on?


Julia: I’ve joined NASCAR in a strategy role. Exciting! Everyone here is getting ready for next year, finalizing budgets and so forth. I know a few of the projects I'm going to be on next year, which I'm really excited about, they relate to my background as a driver, and those will kick up a little bit in the next few weeks, but then mostly next year. So that's cool. I'm excited.


I just wrapped up season 1 of my podcast, If I’m Honest with Julia Landauer, and I'm taking a little break now. But we'll start up with season 2 in January. And that's been a very interesting and therapeutic experience, actually, naturally in this transition from identifying as a racecar driver, first and foremost, to expanding upon that. Speaking is going really well. This was my best year yet, I'll have the freedom to continue doing that, while working at NASCAR. So, I'm really happy about that. And then my husband and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary. So everything’s going pretty well!


But yeah, I'm excited to learn a lot, understand more how corporate works, that's been my big goal for taking this new step: to be able to just learn a whole new business world and to have a better sense of how corporations work. The two people on my team here have a finance background, I'm the only one with any kind of competition background, which will help tie in with the R&D Center on the competition side.


C: How do you like your Clade jacket?


J: It's beautiful. It's so soft, it fits perfectly. I love the fact that it's stretchy rib material at the base of it. So, there is that give when you kind of move a little bit. I think that's fantastic. Love the whole interior, I think it's very elegant. And I had a really bulky sweater on when I tried it and it fit perfectly. So, I think it's really nice for the versatility and what we're wearing. And it's not too heavy, but it feels secure. And I sent it to my stylist, AZSN Studio, and she thinks it's beautiful. So, we're going to work on styling it for us.


C: What is your greatest fear?


J: I think it is a combination: the regret of not living fully or having wasted time. The biggest fear I have, in general on a big scale, is looking back and feeling like I could have and should have done things differently, or better, or more intentionally, or more purposefully.


I think I started really thinking about that in 2021, when my racing was slowing down. I was spending so much time still trying to get sponsorship, trying to make it work when there was a lot of resistance, not a lot of support. By the time I got to the end of 2021, I looked back on the year, and I felt like I had not done very much. There were 365 days, and I can't look back and think “these were great, defining moments.” And a part of it is because there weren't the tangible results that I was used to getting. But I also just felt like I was spending my time in a way that wasn't serving me anymore. And that was kind of the first catalyst to thinking about shifting away from racing. And at the same time, I was able to look back on my racing career, and feel like given the knowledge that I had, like I wouldn't have done anything particularly differently knowing what I knew at the time.


I am aware that I live my life with a lot of purpose and intention, and I'm generally proud of that. I want to continue living this way and ensure that I always feel proud of being so deliberate in my choices and actions.


Also, I’m afraid of the dark.


C: What’s your idea of perfect happiness?


J: Well, for me, I think happiness is such an overwhelming umbrella category of emotion. So, I instead like to focus on joy as a more specific channel of happiness. And so, the things that bring joy and delight and the ability to recognize those every day, and the ability to create an environment that allows other people to recognize those joys. I think being able to continually do that lends itself to happiness. And I think there's some basic foundational things that are important, like being financially stable (however you define that,) being healthy, having nurturing relationships, whether they're romantic, or friendships or families, or all of the above, I think there are some things like that, that really lend themselves to happiness.


But, seeing the joys and the little things, for example, I get immense joy out of our Christmas tree that we have put up that we are creating. And, building up our ornament collection. All our ornaments have particular meaning or funniness, or whatever, that's specific to us. And every year, when this time comes around, like there are more ornaments to take out, more memories of who picked it out and why they picked it out, and stuff like that. For one birthday, I got my husband, who likes candles, a really pretty candle and match set, where it's a routine and a process of taking the match out and lighting it. I think at first, he was like, this is a weird gift. And then as he did it, and as he lit the matches, he's like, oh, my goodness, this is a little ritual that I get to do every time I want to. Little stuff like that, I think about those really seemingly mundane but really soul-filling moments.


C: Which living person do you admire most, and why?


J: It's interesting, because whenever I've thought of heroes, there's never been one person that I've wanted to be like, it's like, alright, I want this element from this person, and I have this other hero, and I want that element from them. I think it's pretty hard for any individual to kind of encompass total goals that other people might have. So, I think about, you know, politicians doing good work, I think about, you know, I think about high-net-worth individuals who are able to give back a lot that's really admirable, I think about influencers who I think do a beautiful job raising their families, like, there's so many.


I follow the influencer Tinx, and when thinking about jealousy, or envy, she said, okay, if you're jealous of someone because of something in their life, or if you're, you know, envious, or you want to be like them, you have to think like, “Would you trade your entire life for their entire life?” So, if they're really wonderful, professionally, and like they accomplish all this great stuff, but like, their personal life isn't great. Like is that are you willing to make all those trades? And I think that's a nice way to look at it and kind of keeps you grounded, that, hopefully your life is going pretty well.


I super, super admire Lewis Hamilton. In 2007, when I was racing in Formula BMW, USA, we were the support race for Formula One in Montreal, we we were doing our track walk as a series, while the F1 teams were doing their track walk, too. Hamilton was a few turns ahead of us with his team. We all waved; he waved back. It was incredible.


I really admire him because not only is he technically magnificent on track, and so dedicated and so focused, I think he's an incredible team player. I think he is humble, but he lives, he owns who he is.


He's extremely wealthy, extremely experienced, has everything at his fingertips, but he's also living his truth. As someone who is a minority in racing myself, and his being a black man in racing, which is a very white sport, I really appreciate how he has handled the adversity that he's faced. How he has handled systemic racism, discussed systemic sexism, human rights issues, and I can only imagine how scary that can be to kind of challenge these huge institutions that are very, very powerful. And he's done that in a respectful way, that advocates for what he thinks is important, which is a lot of social rights, social justice issues, so I really admire that. I love that he leans into what he likes including fashion and music and lets everyone see that. Yeah, and it's pretty cool that he is seven-time world champion. Should have been eight, but don’t go there! I'm still bitter about it!


C: Who, or what, is the greatest love of your life?


J: My immediate answers would be my husband, and the art of racing and, I gotta say, it I'm pretty happy with my relationship with myself.


When you find someone who kind of fits that role of someone you want to dedicate your life to, or dedicate the rest of your life to with building and having fun and being friends and like, it's just so special. My husband is really the first person that I felt that with. And so here we are, and that's so special.


And the passion that I felt and continue to feel for racing, and the pride in working so hard and putting together the puzzle and figuring out how to make it work and all the different silos that operate in the industry: It's intoxicating. And that's a very different kind of love, you know, much more of an emotional roller coaster.


And I think the best way that we can serve others is if we are serving ourselves first and at peace with ourselves, proud of ourselves, and knowing how to challenge ourselves, know how to try to get better. And then we're better for everyone who we're trying to be better for, who we're trying to serve.


I also have to add the love for family. If you're lucky enough to have family that you love unconditionally and enjoy being with, I think that's really special because you realize how much personalities within families are so at odds and like, I feel like my siblings and I talked about how we don't know that if we met each other on the street that we would be friends, but we're incredibly close and such a support system.


So, it’s a four-way split.


C: How would you like to die?


J: In my sleep, at an old age, without pain, and at no great inconvenience to others.


C: What do you most value in your friends?


J: I really value openness, and vulnerability. And I know that I'm an over-sharer. I know that I give detail. I respect my boundaries and other people's boundaries, but I'm also very transparent about a lot of things and so I like that in my friends. Because I feel it brings a human connection that goes beyond just like similar interests or the other things that initially bring friends together. So that's one thing.


I also really value affection, whether that's more emotionally, verbally, or physical closeness and honesty; all of that is really important.


Being intellectually stimulated by friends and having those deeper intellectual conversations. Not all the time, there's plenty of time for just having fun. But to be able to challenge each other and know that it's a safe space to challenge each other in.


C: What is your greatest ambition?


J: My greatest ambition was to be a professional racecar driver, succeeding at the highest level. That's a pretty big one. And it's interesting because it really didn't occur to me that I wouldn't make it as high as I was hoping for until about two years ago. Even though when I look back, the career definitely slowed. And it ebbed and flowed and everything, but I had full faith that I was going to be able to make it until about two years ago.


So now I'm redefining what my big ambitions are. I think I'm learning as I get into a new, more corporate role, while also trying to maintain my things that I love to do. And the other side projects that I work on, I'm recognizing that it gets harder and harder to do all the things that you want to and that you should do. Especially thinking that we want to have a family eventually. You could live a whole life just focusing on your career, you could live a whole life just focusing on having a family, you can live a whole life learning about the world.


I think to try to live fully and to accomplish all of the major things and the things that still take a lot of time to try to do, well, it's pretty ambitious. I'm realizing like really, really hard to do all of it.


So, I guess that's something that is an ambition of mine, to eventually parent well, to professionally go as hard as I can and as high as I can, to maintain those little joys and maintain and build relationships with friends and family and my husband.


But I am definitely a targeted goal kind of lady. So, TBD on the big North Star goals. Let’s talk again in a while about that.




Julia Landauer, Racecar Driver