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Lyn St. James        

Racecar Driver & Activist

Lyn St. James always had a passion for cars, but it took years before her dream of driving professionally came to fruition. As a child, St. James followed her mother's wishes to become an educated, self-sufficient woman. She attended the Andrews School for Girls in Ohio and followed a typical path, majoring in business, playing sports, and continuing to play the piano. After high school she became an accomplished classical pianist.

In 1966, St. James and her friends attended the Indianapolis 500-mile race. "I was mesmerized" she says, "it was the most incredible experience of my life." This race turned the pianist away from music. She realized that she had to find a way to make cars her life.

St. James's love of cars carried her through the next 13 years. 1979 was her first season as a pro driver. She made history in the IMSA American Challenge Series with a second place finish. St. James's success took off after her first pro season. She acquired Ford as a sponsor, won her first professional race at Elkhart Lake, was named IMSA Camel GT Rookie of the Year in 1984, and IMSA Norelco Driver of the Year in 1985. Her name recognition continued to grow and she also won titles on the way to finishing 11th in her first Indianapolis 500 in 1992. The only woman in the race that year, St. James also took away a Rookie of the Year award. Since then, she has qualified for six more Indy 500's, and has competed in seven Indy 500s and 15 Indy Car races.

St. James's success has followed her off the racetrack as well. She helped establish Human Performance International Inc., which is devoted to personal development programs for optimizing competitive performance. She remains a minority owner and board member. She served as President of the Women's Sports Foundation from 1990 to 1993, established the Lyn St. James Foundation in 1994, created the "make a difference" campaign, served as spokesperson for "Drive Safer America!", and has also served as a consumer advisor for the Ford Motor Company.

A published author, St. James wrote Lyn St. James Car Owner's Manual, as well as The Ride of Your Life, and is a commentator for ESPN, Showtime, and ABC.

The top female race car driver in the world, she is an inspiring role model to millions, and is not only changing the rules for women, but redefining their roles and changing perceptions as well.

Speech Topics

Accelerate Your Life

How to Turn "No" into "Yes"

Race to the Top

Pursuit of Excellence

Ride of Your Life

Is your vision clear?

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What next?

After the moments of defeat

Preparation: the key to success

The drive that leads to success

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Lyn St. James Record Setting Race Car Driver
Maxine Cornwall didn’t dream of her daughter speeding around a racetrack, but she did inadvertently help make it happen. In the early 1960s, Lyn St. James (born Evelyn Cornwall) fell in love with automobiles in the passenger seat of her mother’s car. Maxine, whose mobility was limited due to a childhood case of polio, loved cars and taught her daughter how to listen to an automobile, how to feel its kinks and ride out the smooth spots. Two decades later, St. James became a record-setting race-car driver.
Lyn St. James: What I'd Do Differently
Though she's a veteran of seven Indy 500s, and a class winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, St. James's legacy, at 63, may be what she's doing now to help women racers.

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