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Shay Hoelscher: Driving Machines in her Genes

Some Performance stalwarts come to their first class without the intention of making driving a lifetime hobby. Shay Hoelscher, on the other hand, had motorsport in her DNA. She grew up in a “crazy car family” with a Porsche-owning father, instilling in Shay the dream to have a Porsche of her own one day.

“There’s something genetic about the need for speed. From the time I was a little girl I loved a super-scary ride, going fast.” At one time Shay’s father even coached for ProFormance.

While her day job is owner and CEO of privé products, a manufacturer and purveyor of premium hair care products, Shay manages to spend a lot of the time on the track and in the local driving community. And, as with many drivers, a 911 is behind it all.

This May — Women in Motorsports Month — we’re checking in with some of the notable women who have contributed so much to life and work at ProFormance Racing School

A Thing for Porsches

Shay bought a 911 in 2009 and contracted the racing bug after taking it to a local Porsche club event. Soon she graduated to the “big girl track,” where she connected with Don Kitch, Jr. and got her race license.

His-and-Hers Porsches: Shay Hoelscher edges out
her husband Curt Smith’s 911 at ProFormance.

Today Shay has a stable of Porsches: two 911 GT3Rs, a 911 GT3 Cup MR, and her daily driver, a Carrera S. “The brand gets under the skin,” she says of the renowned marque. “I love what Porsche stands for; it’s all about driving, not posing. People who drive 911s are diehard drivers. We take our street cars to the track and drive the crap out of them. There are not many cars you can buy from the manufacturer and take it right to the track.”

When not lapping at ProFormance, Shay puts in time as a local and national Porsche Club instructor. She’ll be racing in the fall at the Thermal Club in California.

By the Company You Keep

More than just a hobby, racing has been a way for Shay to combine her entrepreneurial life with a determination to improve the world. In addition to donating a percentage of her company’s profits to Project Beauty Share, a non-profit that helps women in need, Shay raises money for the cause by selling rides in her race car in California. “I’m so grateful,” she says. “I can combine my personal passion – going to the track – with my company, to give back and make the world a better place.”

Gender Defender

A proponent of women in racing, Shay was present at the very first Performance Women’s Day. She’s seen a lot of changes since then. “Like so many sports – and so many things in the world – driving is male-dominated. I was the only female at any track day for years. One of my goals was to bring more women into the sport.”

Shay had the advantage of having navigated the path to success in the often female-unfriendly business world, but she acknowledges that being the only woman on the track can be intimidating for some. Fortunately a huge movement is now focused on women in the automotive space. “There’s even a women-led Indycar team, the first in history. Young girls in their twenties have so many opportunities, which is awesome.”

In matters of inclusion, Shay has nothing but praise for ProFormance Racing School, where there’s always a mix of men and women. Donna and Siena [Operations Chief Donna Porada-Kitch and Marketing Director Siena Kitch] are very engaged, which is good.”

Racing Bred in the Bone

Shay Hoelscher continues to challenge herself to hone her driving skills. What started in childhood watching her father race go-karts has grown in size, speed, and importance. “I had no idea that getting that crazy race car would lead me down the road that I’ve taken, and turned it into something good.” Which shows that you can’t escape your own DNA, no matter how fast you go.

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