A November to Remember for Racer Kristina Esposito
Warren Rosenberg - November 15, 2020
While 2020 has been a tumultuous year for most of us, it has been a most rewarding year for New York Metro area race car driver Kristina Esposito and a particularly satisfying month of November. MetroSports Magazine has featured Kristina in previous coverage of local race drivers and teams and is pleased to report on her most recent accomplishments.
On the weekend of November 7th and 8th, Kristina raced in the National Auto Sports Association’s “One Last Chance North East NASA” at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., the final event of the NASA 2020 season. Competing in the Lightning Class, Kristina posted the third fastest qualifying lap on Saturday and finished in second place in Saturday’s provisional race. On race day, Sunday, in the Lightning Class Race and driving the #78 Hyundai Genisis Super Touring car, Kristina posted the fastest qualifying time among all drivers, claimed the pole and, from there, went on to take home the win.
Coached by professional driver in the TC America racing series, Jeff Ricca, Kristina was not only the sole female driver in the Lightning class, but she was the only female driver in the entire race field, a position she is not unfamiliar with.
The Mamaroneck resident, Rye Neck High School graduate, and University of Miami Mechanical Engineering freshman is no newcomer to racing success. She scored her first racing trophy ten years ago, at the age of only 8, driving a kart at the Grand Prix New York indoor track under the guidance of coach Stevan McAleer.
This weekend, November 14th and 15th, Kristina was back in her new college town of Miami, Florida, competing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Formula and Automobile Racing Association (FARA) Endurance Championship, co-driving with her teammate and Shift-Up Now mentor, Pippa Mann. On Saturday night, Kristina picked up the 2020 FARA Enduro Championship Trophy in the MP-3B Class followed by another win on Sunday. “Pippa and I placed first in class for the Enduro and third overall in the last FARA race of the season” said Kristina after Sunday’s races had finished. Among the eleven FARA Enduro class Champions for 2020, Kristina is the only female driver.
“Finishing out the season with a win is always the best way to finish out a season. It’s been great to see Kristina’s improvements this year as a driver, and coming home with two class wins in the final two races, and a podium overall in today’s race, is a great way to head into the 2020 off-season”, said Mann.
“This weekend concludes my 2020 racing season” said Kristina, “and I’m proud to say that I have won the FARA endurance championship in class. Super special thanks to my coach, mentor, and co-driver, Pippa Mann. I would also like to thank @tlmusaracing @rowemotoroilusa @chrisgreenphotos @shiftupnow. And thanks to everyone following and supporting me wherever I go!”
It certainly seems that Kristina is well-served by her mentorship from Pippa Mann. The British born Mann is an accomplished professional race car driver, perhaps best known for her multiple Indianapolis 500 performances and for being the first woman to break the 230 mph barrier around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which she did during qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in 2017. Both Kristina and Pippa are members of Shift-Up Now, a collective of female racers using motorsports to inspire confidence and courage. Founded by Lynn Schultz Kehoe, CEO, and along with Karen Salvaggio as President, Shift-Up Now has been making significant inroads in developing young women as racers. Both Pippa Mann and Shea Holbrook serve as pro advisors in the organization which includes up and coming drivers such as Kristina Esposito, another New Yorker Chloe Chambers, and Loni Unser of racing’s Unser family.
Summing up 2020, Kristina told MetroSports Magazine that, “It’s been an incredible, unexpected, and challenging journey this year. I’m still taking in the wins from the last two weeks! I’m so grateful for everything and more than happy with the way this season ended. Ready for 2021.”
And we'll be watching.