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MY M LIFE: SAMANTHA TAN.MY M LIFE: SAMANTHA TAN.

MY M LIFE: SAMANTHA TAN.

5 min reading time

She is a woman and Chinese Canadian – traits that have never been associated with success in racing. Now, racing driver Samantha Tan is defying stereotypes in her BMW M4 GT3.

3 May 2024

BMW M Motorsport Ambassador Samantha Tan’s racing career appeared to be over before it even really began. In 2017, the 19-year-old crashed her BMW M235i Racing into a wall at the Pirelli World Challenge. The crash not only totalled her car, but also her self-confidence. On top of that, comments on social media were relentless. Online, she was confronted with old prejudices that questioned a woman’s place in racing. But the young Canadian, a child of Asian immigrants, was used to defying stereotypes. Rather than surrendering, she resolved to keep pursuing her ultimate ambition—to make a mark in the world of motorsport.

Samantha TanSamantha Tan
I want to ‘redefine’ stereotypes. When someone see an Asian woman, I want them to see us as powerful, independent, and valued.
Samantha Tan

BMW Racer and Team Owner

The 26-year-old Canadian’s interest in motorsport started in her early childhood. Even as a child, she regularly accompanied her father to watch Formula 1 broadcasts at the local BMW dealership. Samantha Tan recounts how her father took her to performance driving schools as soon as her feet could reach the pedals. While her friends focused on soccer or volleyball, Samantha spent her teenage years at all sorts of car meets and track days. At the end of a driver training program, her life was changed by a single event: she got to ride along in a racing car. The rush from the acceleration, speed, and braking forces made Samantha Tan decide she wanted to become a professional race car driver. 

AGAINST ALL ODDS.AGAINST ALL ODDS.

AGAINST ALL ODDS.

Samantha Tan was barely 16 years old when she entered the male-dominated realm of motorsport and did not exactly receive a warm welcome. This was particularly because she embodied two cliches: she was a woman and Asian — traits that were traditionally not associated with success in racing. Samantha was resolved to change that.

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Samantha Tan racetrackSamantha Tan racetrack

Kenneth, her father, is always at her side. She describes him as her cornerstone and the best father ever. Kenneth Tan, like her daughter, is a passionate motorsport enthusiast and has supported Samantha’s talent from the beginning. He helped her reach her first milestone on her road to success: the founding of her own racing team. In 2016, after only two years as a professional racer, “Samantha Tan Racing” debuted in the world of racing. The following year, “ST Racing”, as the racing team is called, hit the track with the first BMW M race cars with which Samantha and her team competed for points and placements.

RACE VICTORIES WITH BMW M:

  • 2021 Overall Winner GT Team and Driver in the 24H Series
  • 2022 First Victory for the new BMW M4 GT3 at the 12H Mugello
  • 2022 Silver Class Victory at the Indianapolis 8 Hour
  • 2023 NLS 7 Class M240i Winner
  • 2023 Pro-Am Class Winner, GT World Challenge America, Road America

In the years that followed, Samantha Tan and her team entered GT4 racing series, where the driven young racer achieved her first significant wins in the challenging 24H Series. She won 6 championship titles in 2021 alone. By 2022, “ST Racing” made it into the even faster GT3 class. Especially after her first victory of the season in the new BMW M4 GT3 in Mugello, she won over even the hardest of sceptics. This marked the first overall win for the car worldwide. Samantha Tan has certainly earned respect in the world of motorsport. 

Samantha Tan and BMW 1MSamantha Tan and BMW 1M
My BMW 1 Series M Coupé is my baby. I could never give her up.
Samantha Tan

BMW Racer and Team Owner

BEYOND THE RACETRACK.

BMW M Motorsport race driver Samantha TanBMW M Motorsport race driver Samantha Tan

Samantha Tan's fondness for powerful machines goes beyond the racetrack. She drives a BMW 1 Series M Coupé, the car in which she had her first driving training sessions as a teenager and the car that laid the cornerstone for her career. That sports car understandably holds high symbolic value and is probably why she says she cannot imagine life without that car. Today, 10 years after going professional, Samantha Tan is a BMW M Motorsport Ambassador and can boast of an impressive number of wins. For her, her success is not solely based on finishes and wins, but also on how she is shattering stereotypes for women in the sport. Samantha Tan has already covered a lot of ground in that direction but, she sees an even longer road ahead: Samantha Tan’s ultimate goal is to be the first Asian woman to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Follow Samantha on Instagram

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