Shift Up Now Athlete Michele Abbate finished fifth in the 2021 Trans Am West Coast Series presented by Pirelli season opener on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Driving the #30 Lucas Oil Chevy Camaro for GRR Racing, Abbate – who co-owns the team as well – earned a personal best lap time of 1:41.3 during qualifying. This put her 13th out of 22 cars on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
“Although I am proud of my personal improvement, on paper the result does not look as strong,” said Abbate after qualifying. “I continue to improve my qualifying results, we are making progress each time we hit the track.
“I am always my strongest at the end of the race so I am eagerly awaiting what the weather will bring and the improvements we can make on the end result of the race.”
On Sunday, rain was expected but didn’t start until the race began. Comfortable driving in wet conditions, Abbate made several moves early in the 100-mile race, advancing to P6 overall, and P4 in the West Coast standings.
A mid-race caution packed the field together for the restart and Abbate continued to fight through the traffic around her. The Las Vegas native earned an eighth-place finish overall and fifth place for the West Coast Championship.
“This was an excellent points race weekend for us,” said Abbate. “We had some really challenging conditions out there and some really talented drivers. I am super-proud of our top-five finish and happy with the outcome as we head to Laguna Seca in just a few days. This is exactly what we needed to start the season off and I am looking forward to more success next weekend.
“We will continue to focus on our own improvements and keep our heads down for consistent finishes. I want to get back on the podium but I know it takes a lot to get there.”
Next weekend, the GRR Racing team will head to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the second round of the West Coast Championship Series on May 1-2.