Professional race car driver, eco-activist with Hawaii ties in town for Vegan festival

Professional race car driver, eco-activist with Hawaii ties in town for Vegan festival

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A professional race car driver, touring the world as an eco-activist, makes a stop on Oahu.

Leilani Munter drives a gas guzzling, muscle car for a living.  But when the 43-year old is not behind the wheel of her race car as part of the ARCA racing series, she drives an all electric Tesla and encourages others to go green.

Munter is in Honolulu this week as one of the guest speakers at Saturday's VegFestOahu, an annual festival, featuring vegan restaurants.

"I quickly discovered that the race car is essentially a 200 mile an hour billboard that I can use to highlight these issues that I care about."

She handed out vegan sausages and other items meant to taste like meat during race week in Daytona one year.  She said even the biggest beef and pork race car fans were eager to try the creations. Some later sent her messages on social media that they stuck with it or started mixing the vegan items into their regular diet.

She admits though, it's not easy to convince people to give up many of their favorite foods.

"Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible.  Now, there are so many options for vegans and vegetarians."

Munter has to live in North Carolina, the race car capital of the country, but says her heart is in Hawaii.

"My mother grew up in Holualoa on the big island.  So I get to come visit quite a bit and any chance I can come back to Hawaii, I jump on it."

Munter says one day she'd like to move here but will have to give up her need for speed if she does.  Honolulu doesn't have a race track and she says it's hard to stay under the speed limit.  While showing us the Tesla's auto pilot feature, Munter joked that people were passing us on Kalanianaole Highway.

She will be speaking at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at VegFestOahu at Honolulu Hale.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.