Chambers and Linscott Make Successful Debut at F4 U.S. Season Opener
Shift Up Now Athletes Chloe Chambers and Emily Linscott successfully kicked off the 2021 Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda season on March 25-28 in their debut at Road Atlanta.
The weekend started on Thursday with a red-flag-filled promoter test day due to torrential rain. Linscott, who historically thrives on track in wet conditions, took advantage of the opportunity and posted times in the top ten.
Chambers, who had only raced karts in the rain thus far but not yet a racecar, also used the conditions as a chance to learn and set the groundwork for later in the weekend.
Friday brought a dry track for the first official practice and qualifying. Chambers had a clean run in qualifying and showed her potential with a P13 spot on the starting grid for Saturday. Linscott encountered traffic in her qualifying attempt, putting her in P23.
Photo by Amy Lentz
The first of three races took place on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Chambers, driving the No. 8 car for Future Star Racing, finished P11, just one position outside the points. Linscott made her way up to P15 by benefitting from attrition and great overtaking skills in the No. 99 Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport car.
Race two took place on Saturday afternoon, with the starting grid based on the fastest lap of the first race. On the first lap, Chambers charged from P10 to P6 but was then caught up in a multi-car accident that ended her day. Linscott, who started P19, advanced to P13. A mistake dropped her back to P19 but she was able to fight her way back to a P15 finish.
The final race of the season-opener weekend took place on Sunday, March 28, 2021. Again, the starting grid was based on the fastest lap from the race before. Linscott started P14 on a drying track with wet tires. She drove with purpose and overtook opponents, earning a P8 finish and her first F4 U.S. points.
“Overall I’m really happy with how my debut weekend with Kiwi Motorsports went,” said Linscott. “My progression throughout the race weekend really showed in the last race where I was able to put it all together in some of my favorite track conditions, and score my first F4 U.S. Championship points in my first weekend.
“I’m so grateful to all of the fans who have taken part in my crowd-funding campaign to help me race this season, and to Hagerty, FastR, Hedgehog Security, the Momentum Group and Shift Up Now who have all ensured I’m in a race car this season.”
Chambers started the race in P22 and advanced all the way up to P11, with a second finish just outside the points.
“In the end, the team and I are super pleased with how the weekend went,” said Chambers. “I showed I have the speed and the race craft to compete for the top five, which is a huge positive this early in my open wheel career. I want to thank Mark and Alora McAlister, and everyone on the Future Star Racing team.”
Erin Vogel Impresses at Sonoma with Fifth and Fourth Place Finishes
Shift Up Now Athlete Erin Vogel kicked off the SRO America season with a fifth-place finish on Saturday, March 7th and a fourth-place finish on Sunday, March 8th at Sonoma Raceway.
Driving for DXDT Racing’s newly-expanded team in the No. 19 Mercedes AMG GT3, Vogel made her debut in 14th place with teammate Michael Cooper. She was able to advance into the top ten within the opening laps of the season opener, and was running in eighth place when she was forced to stop because of a belt issue. Cooper took over and continued the solid run, driving to a fifth place finish at the checkered flag.
On Sunday, Vogel and Cooper started in seventh. The duo demonstrated their ability to stay focused and race hard, earning a fourth-place finish in the GT3 class.
“It was a weekend of highs and lows,” said Vogel. “After an incident in my qualifying run that prevented me from getting a qualifying lap for our first race, I was able to gain six positions in the beginning laps of Saturday’s race. Michael brought the car home for us P5 in class, which was an especially good result considering that we’d started at the back of the field and had a mechanical error with our safety belts during my stint.
“On Sunday, we were briefly in podium contention during my stint, and although that didn’t materialize, I did have an epic battle for overall position that ended in a near photo finish, improving on our previous day’s results with a P4 in class and P6 overall. I’m proud of our GT3 debut as a team, and want to say a huge thank you to my crew and to DXDT Racing for providing excellent support to our program from day one.”
Rounds three and four of the SRO America season continues at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on April 30th through May 2nd.
Abbate, Montgomery and Unser Complete Impressive Opening Weekend for Round 3 Racing
Shift Up Now Athletes Michele Abbate, Sarah Montgomery and Loni Unser successfully kicked off the 2021 World Racing League (WRL) season driving for Round 3 Racing at Barber Motorsports Park.
Unser joined teammates Mike Gilbert and Mo Dadkhah in the No. 601 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Boxter. The trio earned a third-place podium finish in the GP2 class after Saturday’s nine-hour endurance race on the 16-turn, 2.38-mile road course.
Gilbert took the wheel to start the race and handed the car to 23-year-old Unser on lap 57. She drove a strong 3.5-hour stint, keeping the car clean and navigating six cautions, then gave the drivers seat to Dadkhah on lap 147. Dadkhah set the team’s fastest lap of the race on lap 255 and secured the podium finish.
Close behind, the No. 604 Sentinel Porsche Boxter driven by Abbate, Christian Maloof and James Candelaria finished fifth. The team drove a clean race and credited the crew for carefully-executed pit stops.
The No. 702 Hagerty Porsche Cayman entry of Montgomery, Brad McCall and Buz McCall gained two positions on the first lap. Montgomery fought her way up to sixth but a battery issue cost the team six full laps. The 26-year-old did her best to lay down quick laps in the remainder of her stint before handing the car over to Buz McCall. Unfortunately, contact with the barrier at the exit of turn 14 ended the team’s weekend early.
Sunday, March 7th capped off the WRL weekend with a seven-hour endurance race for the Round 3 Racing entries in the GP2 field.
Again, the No. 601 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Boxter, driven by Unser, Gilbert and Dadkah, had the strongest run and earned a fourth-place finish.
Dadkhah ran the opening stint and drove the car into the fourth position. Unser took over with four hours remaining on the race clock. She kept the car in podium contention through back-to-back red flag periods, then handed the wheel to Gilbert to finish out the effort.
“This weekend was amazing because of the Round 3 Racing crew,” said Unser. “We came back from a motor swap to get that third place yesterday. That felt like a win, to still be able to challenge our competitors out there. It was a hard fight until the end and unfortunately it didn’t pan out for another podium today, but I know that we will come back stronger and better than ever at Mid-Ohio.”
Just as the day before, the No. 604 Sentinel Porsche Boxter driven by Abbate, Maloof and Candelaria finished two spots behind, this time in sixth place. The trio started in eighth with Candelaria behind the wheel. He advanced to fifth early, which Abbate was able to hold onto throughout her stint. Maloof drove the last stint of the day for the team and brought home a six-place finish.
Round 3 Racing will head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with four entries for the next round of the WRL championship, featuring two eight-hour races on April 9-11, 2021.