Jacob Hemauer: Life in the Fast Lane!

Posted on 4-17-2024

By Darrel Burnett – Executive Director, The Automobile Gallery & Event Center

Jacob Hemauer learned to fly at the age of 8…It just happens that he was on four wheels. The racetrack was second nature more than it was a second home for Jacob who was tagging along with his father Scott to Road America and other tracks soon after he took his first steps.

Jacob grew up fast…very fast. Racing was never about glitz and glamour; it was about nuances and new frontiers.

Jacob was fascinated by all things mechanical so time in the shop was never punishing, it was his GPS to adventure. ATV Motocross came first followed by working on his father Scott’s stable of BMWs.

On those occasions when Jacob emerged from under the hood and slid behind the wheel, he was a model of consistency routinely turning laps within a tenth of a second of each other hour after hour, lap after lap. 

I don’t profess to know Jacob Hemauer well having only met him twice, perhaps three times at our annual AUTOberfest events as he helped chauffer the Hemauer’s impressive collection of BMWs and German motorcycles to our event. I do know his father Scott though and it is very apparent this apple fell very close to the family tree. Never one for traditional learning, Jacob sought out the University of Northwestern Ohio, a private college where he could major in Automotive High-Performance Technology.

He graduated in three years… I told you he was fast!

Refusing to crater to the fear of the future after graduating, Jacob had business cards printed up. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a job…. he had a purpose. That purpose revealed itself as the morning sun barely had one eye open on the edge of the horizon on Friday, June 16th, 2023. Jacob quietly slipped out of the Hemauer’s RV just inside Turn 7 at Road America.

While the rest of his family slept Jacob steered his Honda Spree toward the paddock area where IndyCar teams were prepping for the Sonsio Grand Prix two days later. With business cards in hand and belief in his back pocket, Jacob handed his card to any team that would take it while searching for a friendly face that would give him an audience if even for a few seconds. 

My career has afforded me the opportunity to spend hundreds of hours with individuals who changed the world around them and, in many cases our world…. special people like Jordan, Payton, Starr, Earnhardt, the Unsers, Mears, and Fittipaldi to name but a few. Diverse personalities all, but a galaxy of greatness that shared one singular trait that can be summed up in one singular word…. Driven. Jacob Hemauer has that trait, so it wasn’t surprising that auto racing royalty looked beyond his inexperience and straight into Jacob Hemauer’s heart. The team is Andretti Autosport.

In 29 days, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway officially opens for practice for the 108th running of the Indy 500. When the gates open, owner Michael Andretti’s Number 27 Indy Car will have a new front-end mechanic. His name is Jacob Hemauer. When 25-year-old rising star Kyle Kirkwood climbs in the cockpit Jacob handles Kyle’s pedal adjustments, front brake bleeds, pad and spring changes, along with other intricate details that represent the razor-thin margin between winning and losing.

What began with a business card and a chance meeting in the early hours at Road America last June has a chance to end with a confetti-filled celebration on May 26th in Indianapolis……and that’s enough for Jacob Hemauer because a “chance” is all he ever wanted!