At 17 Laura Poorter Ready to Compete for K&N in the Ford Focus Midget Series

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A split second decision on a wet race course can make the difference between a win or a loss and sometimes the awful reality of the injury, or not. During one miserable downpour at a Belgium kart race in 2005 several split second decisions changed the career of a teen-age girl.

K&N Engineering Sports Marketing Director Charles Maier was participating in that rainy race and found his kart behind then 16-year-old Laura Poorter. One year later Laura found herself racing a Ford Focus Midget for K&N.

17 Year Old Racer Laura Poorter
17 Year Old Racer Laura Poorter
“I was following her (in Belgium) for seven or eight laps,” said Charles. He was trying to pass her on the left, then on the right and down the straight. “Laura didn’t leave the door open, but she wasn’t closing it on me either,” he said. “It was as if she thought, if he’s got it… he can take it… but I’m not going to give it to him.”

Charles was impressed because she did not take him out. “She could have made it look like an accident, especially in the rain,” said Charles. “Laura kept her line and stayed in control and after several laps I was able to get around her.” Charles thought about her integrity during that 15 minute race for the rest of that day.

“I remember that well, I remember the awful rain,” said Laura. “I don’t like taking people out because that is not really a game, you have to play fair.”

One year later Charles was thinking about who would be a good quality young driver, someone with integrity and asked Laura to join the K&N family. The now 17-year-old Holland native will participate in the Ford Focus Midget Car Series.

The Ford Focus Midget Series began in the spring of 2002 and has become one of the first steps for young drivers who want to go into racing. It is designed to fill the niche for affordable, reliable, entry-level racing.

“This is like a promotion for me,” said Laura. “I’m very happy to go from Karts to the Ford Focus Midget; it’s the next step in becoming a very good race car driver.”

Laura’s racing resume goes back to 1999, but she was only 9-years-old when she got behind the wheel of a mini kart for the first time. “My father came home with a Mini car for my brother, and I thought… if my brother can drive… it so can I,” Laura said. “My father thought it would be a phase, but we both stuck with racing and now I’m in the United States.”

Laura may live with a host-family during the Ford Focus Midget Series season. “I originally planned to live away from home when I went to college, so I’m okay with living in the United States for a while,” said Laura. “It’s not so scary, it’s exciting. I will be here from March until after Thanksgiving.” In the meantime, Laura will continue her education via the Internet. She speaks four languages, English, German, French and Dutch and hopes to be an attorney.

Holland native Laura Poorter testing a car at the speedway
Holland native Laura Poorter driving laps at the speedway.
“The chassis on my Ford Focus Midget will be black and have the K&N logo on it,” said Laura. “I also have a black suit with the K&N logo… but my helmet is the coolest… it has chrome and flames… I really love the design.”

“We see many talented drivers,” said Charles. “But I saw Laura finish in the top ten of a Belgium championship race. That is such a high level of racing. Several current Formula One drivers have competed in the series.”

“I’ll be testing the Ford Focus Midget at the end of March,” said Laura. “I don’t know how I will do in my first race at Irwindale in April…well I hope… it’s totally different when you’re alone on the track and when you’re racing against other people.”

Laura is not afraid to drive wheel-to-wheel with guys that are really difficult to beat in Europe, said Charles. K&N is going to support her.

Laura has to get her California Drivers License for now, next it’s onto the Ford Focus Midget Series. “I love racing in America, there are thousands of spectators and fireworks,” said Laura. “I love NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and want to get there eventually, for now though, I’m very grateful to K&N for this opportunity.”

Follow Laura's progress throughout the racing season at the K&N news site.  Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world''s leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail, or visit