Austin Krainz’s Story

Austin Krainz began his childhood like many before his world forever changed due to a rare disease diagnosis. At an early age, Austin was fascinated with cars and enjoyed playing racing games and watching Formula 1 with his dad. The early childhood excitement was the spark of a budding passion. 

That early passion took a detour due to a juvenile dermatomyositis diagnosis when he was seven years old after first showing signs of the disease a year and a half earlier. Austin was diagnosed during a time when little was known about JDM, and there were very few juvenile myositis specialists in the U.S. In fact, Austin began to travel outside the country’s largest metropolitan city (his native New York City) and began treatment under JM pioneer Dr. Lauren Pachman. Dr. Pachman helped Austin with a treatment plan that allowed him to get back to pursuing his passions, including playing tennis and learning taekwondo. During this time, Austin said there were some difficult days, but he never gave up on his dreams and passion for pursuing his interests. He attributes this strength to having a network of supportive family and friends in his corner throughout his JM journey despite there being several bumps in the road.

After battling for over a decade, Austin went into remission and was able to live the latter part of his teenage and young adult life to the fullest. 

In this new era, Austin has taken to professional racing, competing in Porchse’s GT America series, fulfilling a childhood dream with his father by his side as a teammate and co-pilot. Austin’s race season has come to an end, but not before several impressive results, including a P2 finish at Sebring International Raceway in 2023.

We sat down with Austin to get a better understanding of his triumphs and continued success. 

  1. How did you get into professional racing? What series or kind of racing do you do?

I started two years ago! It was my father that helped start this passion. He began club racing, much like a club sport, about eight years ago. He gave me the opportunity to run some club races, which later led to us becoming a father-son team racing in a professional series. We race together in the AM/AM class in GT4 America, which is run by SRO Motorsports.

2) How has racing helped you become stronger through your battle with JM?

Well, growing up, I didn’t spend so much time racing but playing tennis and doing taekwondo. It helped me focus on myself. I didn’t have to rely on anyone besides myself. It relieved a lot of pressure, and also I stopped comparing myself to others. It honestly helped me excel. 

3) You recently had a huge result with a P2 finish at a GT America event. When you were growing up with JM, did you ever feel that such an accomplishment was in your future?

It was honestly something I dreamt about for ages. It’s something I will cherish and remember. When I had JM, it was hard to stay positive, but I made it work. I didn’t grow up racing, but I did play tennis at a competitive level. I was ranked in USTA NY & CT in the top 30s. I also managed to get my second-degree black belt! So, even with JM, I was able to have great accomplishments. It never stopped me! But getting that P2 finish with my father was just something I always wanted.

4) What advice would you give your younger self battling JM?

To never give up, to believe in the process, to have patience. Nothing good comes fast. Time is your friend. Make friends, tell your story, explain. People are willing to listen and learn. Grow your support group! Tell your teachers, your friends, and adults. 

5) In many cases, JM kids, teens, and young adults become high achievers in life. Why do you think this is?

It’s because we want the most life has to offer. We are hungry for more. At one point, we couldn’t, so now that we can, we will!

6) What are your future goals with your professional racing career? What does next season have in store for Austin Krainz and the team?

I would love to continue racing with my father. That’s the dream to podium in the championship. I think it’s possible. But I also want to do something on my own; a shot in IMSA doing Carrera Cup would be my next ambition. But as of right now, our plans for next year are to remain in SRO GT4 America in an AM/AM driver pairing and be contenders for the championship. 

Rare Disease Warriors

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