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A+ FOR LLARENA’S BALANCING ACT

Performance Tech Motorsports’ Mateo Llarena is a master scheduler, splitting time between racing, school, and being a teenager.

The 17-year-old Guatemalan has had a robust 2021 schedule competing in the IMSA MICHELIN Endurance Cup with Performance Tech Motorsports and other select IMSA events as well as partaking in a full season of the Italian Gran Turismo Sprint Championship. On top of Llarena’s racing schedule he was invited to be a part of the 2021 Lamborghini Junior Factory program furthering the youngsters’ responsibilities. While most teens struggle to manage solely high school Llarena has figured out how to make it work with his weekend obligations.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past two years I’ve had a lot of online classes,” Llarena said. “This gave me a lot of opportunities to travel while doing school. It made it easy to balance and coordinate everything.”

Amidst his busy schedule Llarena must also build in time for his physical training. The cockpit of a race car can soar above 120 degrees Fahrenheit and drivers must wear a multi-layer fireproof outfit making it even hotter. Add the high levels of g-forces they experience to all of this, and you’ll find that only the fittest athletes can thrive as a driver.

“I have three different workout programs I alternate through during the week,” Llarena said. “I do boxing, I run a 5-10k and I do weight training. I exercise five days a week switching through these movements. When I am in school, I try to do a lot of my work in advance to send early to my teachers. I also make sure to schedule meetings and tests within my daily routine. This gives me time to fit my programs in and rest well.”

The start of a new school year always marks the beginning of the end for the racing season, slightly lightening Llarena’s load for a couple of months. Llarena will be a senior in high school this year presenting him with some of the most challenging decisions in a young-adults life; what to do post-graduation.

Like many schools across the globe, only general education classes are presented to the students, making it difficult to spend time on specialty subjects. Llarena carves out time in his after-school schedule to study motorsports science and theories to help keep his mind sharp. 

“Starting in the fall I will be in my senior year of high school,” Llarena said. “Even in the advanced grades we only study traditional topics but I try and study as many motorsports related topics as I can on my own

With his target locked on motorsports his college of choice and its flexibility with race schedules will play an important factor in his next four years. While he continues to follow his dream of becoming a professional driver, Llarena also is mature enough to understand the importance of education. He plans to go to a traditional university in pursuit of a business degree.
 
“After I graduate next year, I plan to go to University. I’m applying to five universities in the US and five universities in Europe. I’m planning to attend college for business rather than a motorsport related degree. We’ll have to see, anything can happen.”
 
Llarena will rejoin the team for the season finale, the Motul Petit Le Mans, November 11-13. The ten-hour race around MICHELIN Raceway Road Atlanta also serves as the final round of the IMSA MICHELIN Endurance Cup. With Llarena’s assistance the team aims to score its first win at the event and end the season on a high note. 

Source. Performance Tech Motorsports

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