Havrda Fifth in Championship after Pair of Podium Finishes at Road America

Shift Up Now Athlete Nicole Havrda came home with back-to-back P3 finishes on Saturday and Sunday during Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the Formula Regional (FR) Americas Championship at Road America on May 17-19, 2024.

This was the first FR Americas podium finish for Havrda, making her just the second female in the history of the series to stand on the podium.

Driving the No. 6 Valley Kitchens/Colonial Countertops car for Kiwi Motorsport, Havrda’s Road America SpeedTour weekend began with testing on Thursday. She was in the top ten during both sessions that day on the 4.048-mile, 15-turn road course. Her speed continued during the official practice on Friday morning, when she posted the seventh-fastest time.

Qualifying took place on Friday afternoon to set the grid for the first race of the weekend. Elevated track temps challenged the field after practicing in cooler conditions that morning. Havrda qualified P4, her best FR Americas qualifying performance yet, in her Ligier Automotive chassis and brand new tires.

The first 30-minute race took place on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Havrda lined up for the standing start on the outside of row two. She had a good start, but as she struggled to get heat into the tires due to cool track temps, she dropped back two spots.

She battled for position and was running P5 just before the halfway point, when a full-course caution came out. With just one lap to go, the green flag flew, causing a one-lap shoot-out. Havrda found herself right back in the battle from before the caution flag. She finished P5, only a half-second behind the P4 car and just 0.055 seconds ahead of the P6 car.

After having set the sixth-fastest lap in race one, Havrda lined up in P6 - on the outside of row three - for the second 30-minute race. When the green flag flew at 5:25 p.m., she made a clean start and once again found herself fighting immediately for position.

Past the halfway point of the race, a caution flag flew. When the track returned to green, nine minutes remained and Havrda made a pass to take the P5 spot. Two minutes later, the second- place car spun at turn 11, advancing Havrda to P4.

When the checkered flag fell, she was in P4, running just a few seconds behind the third-place car. This gap would prove to be crucial when that car was assessed a five-second, post-race penalty for jumping the start. As a result, Havrda was promoted to P3.

The final 30-minute race of the weekend took place on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. Once again, Havrda had set the sixth-fastest lap in race two, and was lined up in P6 for race three. After a

clean start, the two cars ahead of Havrda out-braked each other and ran wide while fighting for position. Despite being on cold tires, she passed both at once and advanced to P4.

After an early safety car period and a single-file restart, Havrda maintained her position and continued to chase third and gap the cars behind her. With just a few laps to go, the P3 car spun at turn 11, advancing Havrda to P3.

The podium finish moved her to the top five in the FR Americas championship points.

“This weekend at Road America, I showed that I am a podium runner and I deserve to be there,” said Havrda. “That’s what I wanted to prove to everyone. That I am capable of being a contender. Huge thank you to the amazing Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport team, especially Garry and Teena, and to my parents.”

Havrda and the FR Americas Championship heads to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway next for the Indy SpeedTour on June 13-16, 2024.

Hagerty Returns as Shift Up Now Partner for Fourth Consecutive Year

Shift Up Now is proud to announce that Hagerty will continue its partnership in 2024 by supporting Athletes Loni Unser and Sabré Cook.

Headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, Hagerty began as a niche insurance agency offering coverage for wooden boats. After expanding their coverage to classic cars in 1991, it has since grown into a global automotive enthusiast brand, and the world’s largest membership organization for car lovers.

Hagerty’s purpose of saving driving and car culture for future generations includes a strong focus on women in motorsport. The partnership with Shift Up Now began in 2021, and has continued to advance year over year.

“Women aren’t a novelty in motorsport, but a driving force,” said Eva Gregory, Senior Manager of Marketing Partnerships at Hagerty. “Hagerty is so proud to empower Loni and Sabre as they continue their journey in the highest levels of competition and to push the sport forward. Both represent Hagerty’s values and mission on and off the track, leading the enthusiast community with poise and passion.”

For the 2024 season, Hagerty will support Unser for the 102nd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 23, 2024, and in the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama.

“I am so honored to represent Hagerty for the fourth year in a row,” said Unser. “We need companies like Hagerty to push our industry further, faster. Hagerty shows us that anyone can participate in car culture, love driving and pursue their passion. I am so grateful to work with a company who aligns with my goals and values.”

Additionally, Hagerty will be an associate sponsor for Cook in Porsche Carrera Cup North America.

“I’m so delighted to announce Hagerty’s unwavering support of me and my career for a third straight season,” said Cook. “Their partnership with myself, Loni and Shift Up Now shows their commitment to empowering women in motorsports. They continue to be a valuable partner of mine and I look forward to growing together in the years to come.”

Race fans can follow along with all the action on the Shift Up Now website: www.ShiftUpNow.com or on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or X (formerly Twitter).

About Hagerty, Inc.

Based in Traverse City, Michigan, Hagerty’s purpose is to save driving and car culture for future generations and its mission is to build a global business to fund that purpose. Hagerty is an automotive enthusiast brand offering integrated membership products and programs as well as

a specialty insurance provider focused on the global automotive enthusiast market. Hagerty is home to Hagerty Drivers Club, Hagerty Drivers Club magazine, Hagerty Drivers Foundation, Hagerty DriveShare, Hagerty Valuation Tools, Hagerty Media, MotorsportReg, Hagerty Garage + Social, Hagerty Marketplace, The Amelia, the Detroit Concours d’Elegance, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, the California Mille, Motorworks Revival and more. For more information on Hagerty, please visit www.hagerty.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).

“The Hannahs” Score Another Podium Finish at Sebring

Shift Up Now Athletes Hannah Greenemeier and Hannah Grisham earned a top-five finish on Saturday and followed it up with a podium on Sunday during the Pirelli GT4 America Series at Sebring International Raceway on May 3-5, 2024.

Driving the No. 26 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 car, Greenemeier and Grisham took to the 3.74-mile, 17-turn track for practice on Thursday. As a former airport, Sebring is notorious for its bumpy racing surface, particularly in the concrete sections of pavement through turn one and the final corner.

On Friday, the female duo - now nicknamed “The Grish” and “The Green” by their team - ran P5 in their class in the first practice session and P6 in the second, among the 29-car GT4 field.

Qualifying took place on Saturday morning under warm and sunny skies. Greenemeier was the first of the two Heart of Racing drivers to head out for the first half of the qualifying session. She would set the team’s starting position for race one, and be the starting driver. She set her personal-best times of the weekend, putting the car P4 in class for the first race.

Grisham then took the wheel for the second half of qualifying to set the team’s starting position for race two. Despite encountering heavy traffic, she also achieved personal-best times for the weekend and put the car in P9 for the second race.

Race one took place on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET. Greenemeier had a great start to the 60- minute competition, making passes on the first lap into turn one, then turn three, and through turn five. She had advanced to P2 in class (top 15 overall) and had set up a great buffer for Grisham at the driver change. However, an incident between several other drivers caused a full- course caution, bunching the field up and negating the advantage.

The race went green again just briefly before it was time for the mandatory pit stops. Afterward, Grisham fought hard for the remainder of the race to bring home a P5 finish.

Sunday’s 60-minute sprint race began at 3:00 p.m. ET and Grisham was behind the wheel, starting P9 for the Heart of Racing duo. During her 25-minute stint, she passed more than ten cars. She was chasing down P4 when the team elected to bring her in at the start of the pit window due to a stopped car on the back straight, and the risk of a caution flag.

The Heart of Racing team had a smooth pit stop, then Greenemeier took the wheel. She was able to get almost two laps at full speed before a full-course caution flew. Those flying laps would prove to be pivotal, as “the Hannahs” would cycle to P3 in class (inside the top 15 overall) once the remainder of the field completed their mandatory stops.

On the restart, Greenemeier got back up to pace, putting Pro-Am and Silver cars between herself and the P4 car, and building a buffer. When the checkered flag flew, the team was on the podium, finishing P11 overall and earning the Super Fuel Hard Charger award for gaining 13 positions.

This marked the third podium in four starts this season for “The Grish” and “The Green” as teammates.

“Today was really strong,” said Grisham. “We started pretty far back but were able to make our way towards the front of the pack. We ended up with the Hard Charger Award and made it up to P3. So we’re really happy about that. A huge thank you to The Heart of Racing team and Hannah (Greenemeier). Next is to continue the momentum at COTA and hopefully to the championship.”

Greenemeier echoed Grisham’s sentiments, saying, “Overall, it was a good weekend. We definitely did not have as much pace as we would have liked, but in the end it was a good points weekend. So now we’ll just move on to COTA in a couple of weeks and just try and keep up the good point races each weekend, and see where we end up in the championship.”

The next race for Greenemeier and Grisham on the Pirelli GT4 America schedule is Round 5 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on May 17-19, 2024.

Back-to-Back Top Ten Finishes for Cook in Miami

Shift Up Now Athlete Sabré Cook earned a P8 finish on Saturday and followed it up with a P10 on Sunday during Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, part of the Formula 1 race weekend at the Miami International Autodrome on May 3-5, 2024.

Driving the No. 37 Ease Logistics 992 Porsche Carrera Cup Car for MDK Motorsports, Cook was anxious to hit the Miami street circuit on her Yokohama Tires. The track is one of her favorites, and where she earned her first top-ten series finishes in 2023.

The 37-car field had two practice sessions on Friday, with the first one taking place in the early afternoon. The second session was run at dusk, giving drivers a preview of the expected conditions during their race at the same time the following day. Cook ran her Mobil1 Porsche Cup Car in the top 15 for both sessions.

Sunny, hot and humid weather continued throughout the weekend, making Saturday’s mid-day qualifying tougher. The entire Porsche Carrera Cup field hit the track together on their Yokohama tires at the start of the session and completed four green-flag laps before the first incident.

A car in the wall resulted in a red flag, and Cook - whose fastest lap so far had her in P15 - returned to the pits with the rest of the field. When the qualifying session went green again, she had one flying lap to improve her time, and advanced to a P12 starting position.

On Saturday evening, Cook was on the outside of row six for the first 40-minute sprint race. At the green flag, despite some of the cars running three-wide heading into turn one and a penalty for one of the leaders for jumping the start, the field made it through cleanly.

Cook had a great start and began to work her way toward the top ten. As the green-flag racing continued, other cars began pushing harder and making racier moves. Cook was running P11 when contact from two cars ahead advanced her to P9. Shortly afterward, another incident brought out a full-course caution that would remain until the end. When the checkered flag flew, Cook was P9, however she gained one additional position to finish P8 after the penalty was assessed for the car that had jumped the start of the race.

Sunday’s 40-minute competition began in the morning under light cloud cover and slightly less heat. Track temperatures were just under 100 degrees with an ambient temperature in the low 80s. Once again, Cook’s 992 chassis was lined up on the starting grid on the outside of row six.

Just like the day before, the field made a clean start. Cook spent the first lap challenging the car ahead for the P11 spot before a multi-car incident caused a full-course caution for an extended period.

Approximately mid-way through the race, the lights went out on the safety car and the field lined up for a single-file restart. Once again, Cook had a solid start and focused on the car ahead. However, another incident brought the safety car out for a second full-course caution. At its conclusion, the Carrera Cup Car field had just two laps of racing left. Cook crossed the line in P10.

“I’m really pleased and energized by the progress the team and I have made since the first race of the season,” said Cook. “I had my best qualifying yet and it felt great to solidly get those two top-ten finishes. I can’t wait for our next race at Montreal to keep the momentum going. I can’t thank my partners and MDK Motorsports enough. Let’s keep pushing!”

Next up, Cook heads to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for Round 3 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7-9, 2024.

Balcaen Charges to Third in ARCA Points Standings with P8 Finish at Kansas

Shift Up Now Athlete Amber Balcaen earned a P8 finish under unusual circumstances in the ARCA Menards Tide 150 race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Driving the No. 22 ICON Direct Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, Balcaen completed all sessions - practice, qualifying and race - driving with a broken left foot.

While competing in the General Tire 150 at Dover Motor Speedway on April 26th, she was forced to take evasive action to avoid hitting a competing car that had crashed just ahead of her. This caused her car to spin and hit the inside wall. Despite breaking her foot in the incident, she was cleared to drive at Kansas with a carbon insert in her race boot to keep the foot protected.

Undeterred, the Canadian driver powered through to run P8 in Friday’s practice, and qualify her car P6 on Saturday morning.

The 100-lap competition on the 1.5-mile, banked oval began at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. Overcast skies improved racing conditions after the sunny and warm practice and qualifying sessions the field had run in earlier.

The green flag flew and Balcaen got a good start. Shortly afterward, a car ahead checked up, holding up the No. 22 Toyota and dropping her back a couple spots. But within just a few laps, she regained her P8 position, and stayed within the top ten through the first half of the race, which ran caution-free.

At the halfway point, the planned competition caution flag flew, bringing the entire field to pit lane for fuel and four new General Tires.

On the restart, Balcaen held her position and remained in the top ten. She continued to run fast, clean laps.

With 20 laps remaining, a full-course yellow was thrown. The Venturini Motorsports team elected to have Balcaen take the waive-around to get back on the lead lap for the finish. Despite running on worn tires against most of the field - who had opted for fresh ones - she was able to hold on to P8. She finished on the lead lap and moved herself into third place in the ARCA Menards Championship point standings.

“My foot is throbbing right now,” said Balcaen as she got out of her race car. “I didn’t really notice it during the race, other than on the restarts. I had to use the left foot to keep a little pressure on the brake and make sure we kept the RPMs up. But it was a decent day for coming back with a broken foot. Top ten isn’t bad; I really wanted that top five today but we had some tough competition. We made the right changes during the pit-stop, and are heading the right way. So now I just need to let my foot heal and keep getting better.”

Next up, Balcaen and the ARCA Menards Series will head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the General Tire 150 on May 24, 2024.

Hayes Takes First Win of 2024 Season at Road America

Four Shift Up Now athletes took to the track over the weekend of April 26 and 27 at America’s National Park of Speed in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Laura Hayes was behind the wheel as team manager and lead driver of the No. 225 Thunder Bunny Racing Toyota Supra GT4, and Shift Up Now by AE Victory Racing’s duo of Erin Vogel and Sarah Montgomery was joined by Pippa Mann as the third driver of the No. 119 Audi R8 GT4. Both teams set their sights on the checker and the GTO class podium for the weekend’s 8 + 7 race format at Road America.

Both teams took full advantage of the additional seat time on Thursday with WRL's partner Max Track Time, working on set-up for the upcoming 15-hours of racing on the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course. As returning champions, Thunder Bunny Racing (TBR) planned every turn of the wrench to return to the top step of the podium. The goal for AE Victory Racing (AEVR) was slightly different, but no less important: continued focus on the development of their Audi R8 GT4 set-up in the team’s rookie season. The AEVR crew and drivers used every session to improve the car’s performance on the Yokohama Advan A052, a race-ready, extreme performance summer street tire sanctioned by the series. However, while testing on a dry and sunny race track Thursday the teams knew that weather was in the forecast for the coming days, which could mean a drastic change to track conditions.

The first impact of that forecasted weather was set to hit on Friday, making the morning practice and qualifying sessions extremely important for both track position and potential set up changes. AE Victory Racing ran in the top 15 in both timed sessions in the morning in the GTO field. Meanwhile, Thunder Bunny Racing also took full advantage of opportunities in both sessions to run at the top of the GTO timing charts in practice. Hayes then qualified the TBR Toyota Supra GT4 on the outside of row 3 for Saturday’s race.

On Saturday morning, the overnight storms left the racetrack significantly damp, with some areas of puddling remaining at the countdown to the green flag. However, with dry weather forecast to continue throughout the day and strong winds blowing to aid in drying the track surface, the entire field elected to start the race on their dry-weather tires and hang on until the track conditions improved over the course of the first few hours.

When the green flag flew, Hayes immediately began pushing her Mobil 1 Racing-supported Toyota Supra GT4 towards the front of the lead pack, steadily ticking off track positions on her Yokohama tires. The first laps of the race ran cleanly despite the challenging combination of slippery track conditions and dry tries. As lap times started to drop into “dry racetrack” territory drivers began getting braver, resulting in the first incident of the race.

The first three hours of the race continued in a similarly disjointed manner, with only spurts of green flag racing between incidents. Drivers quickly discovered that despite the dry track, the rain had washed the pavement clean of rubber, and the combination of lack of grip and gusting winds wreaked havoc on the grip. By the four-hour mark drivers had seemed to settle into a rhythm, and the race stayed green until the checker.

Deeper in field, Montgomery discovered that the change in track conditions had affected the set-up on the AE Victory Racing Audi R8 GT4 more than anticipated. She dug deep during the periods of green, pushing hard to keep the car on the outside edges of the top ten in the GTO class. Vogel followed with the middle stint, keeping the car out of trouble as the track conditions evened out. Once Mann took over for the final three hours and the gap ahead and behind the No. 119 was settled, the team made the strategy call to take longer pit stops and continue to work on set-up for race 2.

Strategy also played a key role amongst the leaders after such a long green flag run. Thunder Bunny Racing made the call to save fuel, stretching their final tank to take the checkered flag in second place in the GTO class - their 4th podium in 5 races to start the 2024 season.

Temperatures turned cold on Sunday for race 2, with a forecast for more rain on the horizon. The setup changes paid off for AE Victory Racing, giving Montgomery power to push through the field. As she was working on a pass for P10, the racing got a little too close and resulted in the Audi dropping back several spots. Undeterred, Montgomery gritted her teeth and set about regaining the lost ground.

Rain started to fall at the two-and-a-half hour mark, quickly creating treacherous conditions for the field. From the wheel of the AE Victory Racing machine, Vogel fought the weather as she battled her competition, all while continuing to work on setup changes to improve the car's handling in the increasingly wet conditions.

Taking over with less than three hours remaining, and a dry forecast for the rest of the race, Mann elected to swap to the team’s dry-weather Yokohama tires during the driver change. Despite the standing water remaining on track, with the set-up work done by Vogel in the middle of the race, Mann was able to get up to speed for the conditions quickly, making moves as the dry line emerged on the race track.

With one hour to the checker, the field came to pit-lane due to red-flag conditions; on the restart, rain poured onto the track. Mann made it cleanly to the checker while still running dry-weather tires, and brought home the AE Victory Racing Audi R8 GT4 in 9th place in the GTO class - matching their best finish of the season so far.

Under those same conditions, Hayes battled fiercely for the lead at the front of the field. Her quick reactions and heads-up driving kept the No. 225 Toyota Supra GT4 in the hunt for the win. With half an hour to go, contact between the two leaders allowed Hayes to slot into the lead. Eyes focused on the checker, Hayes never looked back or put a wheel wrong, and brought home the first win of the season for Thunder Bunny Racing.

“I’m so thrilled we were able to accomplish a first and second place finish with our Toyota Supra GT4," said Hayes. "We knew that with the long straights having less power than some of our competitors would make racing a challenge, but our entire Thunder Bunny Racing team was on point. We had great pit-stops and strategy, my co drivers Bill and Allen always handed me back the race car in a position to fight for the win, and we had a lot of fantastic on track battles.

“It was so treacherous out there at the end. That was such a tough race to win. Between the conditions, so many yellow flags, making sure you didn’t get any penalties, trying to make sure you didn’t have any contact… There were some folks driving super aggressively, the flags were hard to spot at times with the amount of spray… I’m so proud of our Thunder Bunny Racing Team. We earned this win today!

“Thank you to EPC Power, Mobil1, and everyone who makes this possible. I’m really proud of the direction in which we’re heading as a team.”

Vogel echoed that sentiment, and applauded her entire team’s performance.

“It’s been challenging being a small team that's bringing a chassis no one else is running in this series,” said Vogel. “However, we’re consistently making progress, and this weekend we made strides in understanding our Audi R8 on these Yokohama tires. We now have a solid direction for the continued development of our chassis in the few months between races, and we’re looking forward to challenging further and further up the order as the season continues.”

Thunder Bunny Racing and Laura Hayes return to action in the 14 hour race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on June 29th, and AE Victory rejoins World racing League competition at Road Atlanta in July. Mann will also be competing in the July event, returning to her full-season program with Fast Track Racing.

Strong Weekend for Freiberg and Unser at Barber

Shift Up Now Athletes Ashley Freiberg and Loni Unser competed in round two of the Porsche Sprint Challenge (PSC) North America by Yokohama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 26-28, 2024.

The PSC race weekend took place alongside the NTT IndyCar Series on the picturesque, 2.38- mile, 16-turn track. PSC competition for Freiberg and Unser included two 35-minute races - plus one lap - for each driver, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

Driving the No. 222 for MDK Motorsports and competing in the GT3 Cup category, Freiberg ran a special black and gold livery on her 992 Porsche Cup car to commemorate Mobil1’s 50th anniversary in racing.

Unser competed for Kellymoss Racing in the Porsche Cayman GT4 category in the Pro-Am class. Her purple No. 4 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS is sponsored by Speedway Motors Inc, Trustage and Mobil1.

On Friday, both drivers took to the track for two test sessions. Neither had tested at Barber prior, so the focus was setup. Freiberg ran in the top three during both sessions and finished P2 in the first practice session. Unser made strides from the first session to the second, finishing just outside the top ten in P12.

Both drivers had a strong qualifying performance on their Yokohama tires. Freiberg earned a P3 spot for race one, while Unser set her best lap times of the weekend, and qualified P10 overall.

Race one took place on Saturday afternoon. Amidst a field of 36 cars, Freiberg maintained her P3 position with her MDK Motorsports teammate right behind her. She trailed the leader by about 13 seconds, however the gap between herself and the P2 and P4 cars was less than one second. Freiberg was able to hold off her teammate’s passing attempts until late in the race. With 10 minutes to go, he made the pass, giving her a P4 finish.

Unser started race one in P10 in a field of 23 competitors. She battled several competitors that were within a few seconds of her. Despite the lack of passing opportunities at Barber, she was able to advance one spot in turn two, finishing P9 overall, and P4 in the Pro-Am class.

On Sunday afternoon, Freiberg again started race two in P3. Just before the second (of three) full- course yellows, she dropped one position to P4. But it didn’t take long for her to regain it under green, reclaiming her P3 and maintaining it to the checkered flag.

“I’m definitely feeling the challenge of showing up to these competitive race weekends, with short practice sessions, and no prior testing,” said Freiberg. “However, I’m so thankful for the work my crew is putting in with limited time we have each weekend. And Sunday was a strong day for me, putting our Mobil1 Racing car back on the podium. I’m feeling really good about our program this year, and what we have to come.”

Unser started race two in P10 and spent the entire competition battling hard with her teammate in the position just ahead. When the checkered flag fell, she was just 0.3 seconds behind him, earning a P10 finish, and P5 in the Pro-Am class.

“I love that Porsche Motorsport North America has brought together such a huge field of competitors this year in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Cayman GT4 RS class,” said Unser. “And while I’m happy to leave this weekend with a pair of P4 finishes in class, and two top-ten finishes overall, I’m also working hard to take those next steps to get on the podium, and to the top.”

Round three of the PSC North America by Yokohama championship will take place at Circuit of the Americas on May 24-26, 2024.

Shift Up Now and Sabelt America Introduce Limited-Time Signature Racing Gloves

In celebration of its four-year partnership with Shift Up Now, and the progress of Shift Up Now Athletes, Sabelt America has created limited-edition, signature pairs of racing gloves.

Based in Boca Raton, FL, Carello Group LLC is the sole importer and distributor of Sabelt, the global leader in development and manufacture of original equipment, and number one in safety since 1972. Sabelt America provides racewear, harnesses, seats and more for race car drivers.

Sales of the new signature Sabelt gloves will benefit the Shift Up Now Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit. In support of the foundation, Sabelt America will be donating 25 percent of every pair sold. In addition, everyone who purchases a pair of gloves will be entered to win a $250 Sabelt America gift card.

The Shift Up Now Foundation lives alongside the for-profit business, continuing to strive for gender equality for female athletes in motorsport. The foundation furthers the mission by accepting tax-deducible gifts, donations and grants.

The gloves will be available on the Sabelt America website for $395 and available for pre-order now.

“Our partnership over the past four years has been instrumental in driving positive change within the motorsport community, but we believe there’s more to celebrate than just the passage of time,” said Erik Krammer, owner of Sabelt America. “With the arrival of spring, a season synonymous with renewal and growth, we’re inspired to reflect on the strides made possible by supporting female athletes.

“This launch isn’t just about marketing another year of collaboration; it’s about recognizing the achievements and advancements made in fostering inclusivity and empowerment within motorsport. We aim to align ourselves with broader initiatives promoting gender equality and empowerment, emphasizing our commitment to driving change, both on and off the track.

“Looking ahead, we see this moment as a symbol of optimism for the future of female drivers, reaffirming our dedication to supporting their journey and advocating for their rightful place in the world of motorsport.”

Shift Up Now CEO Pippa Mann echoed Krammer’s excitement, stating, “Sabelt America was one of the first partners to join Shift Up Now, to help our Athletes with their race gear, and to support our Membership program back in 2020. I’m proud of how our partnership has grown, and of how many Shift Up Now Athletes are wearing Sabelt America race gear as part of our partnership.

“In 2024, being able to expand this collaboration between our two organizations to include Sabelt’s donation from these limited-edition gloves to the Foundation is very special to me. The funds donated will go towards our 2025 Grantee program, meaning Sabelt America is now stepping into a role beyond supplying our athletes with top of the line safety gear; they’re also partnering with us to help support talented female racers behind the wheel."

To order the limited-time signature gloves, please visit https://sabeltamerica.com/product/shift-up-now

Abbate Earns Exciting P2 Finish in Trans Am Race at Sonoma

Shift Up Now Athlete and Foundation Grantee Michele Abbate brought home a second-place finish in first race of the Sonoma SpeedTour doubleheader at Sonoma Raceway on April 18-21, 2024.

Driving the No. 30 Ghost Energy car for Nitro Motorsports in the TA2 class of the Trans Am West Coast Championship among an 19-car field, Abbate took to the track on a Cope chassis and Pirelli tires.

No stranger to the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course, the Las Vegas native has previously finished on the podium at Sonoma Raceway in several categories. The doubleheader weekend was her second event of the partial schedule she’s running this season.

In addition, Sonoma marked Abbate’s second weekend running a special livery honoring her brother Michael, a Nevada State Police Sergeant. Last November, he was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver.

Following the Sonoma weekend, Abbate was able to donate more than $2,000 to Heroes and Handcuffs, a Nevada non-profit dedicated to legislative reform and victim support. Abbate’s online community helped her surpass the $1,500 fundraising goal she set last month for her birthday.

Practice took place on Friday and Abbate was fifth-fastest in the field. The following morning dawned cool for qualifying, making for fast track conditions and lap times. She qualified P3 for race one, taking place later that afternoon.

At the green flag of the 40-lap competition, chaos ensued in turn two. Abbate capitalized and stayed out of trouble, advancing one position. Then, as the mid-pack made their way through the first lap, additional incidents occurred in turn four and the carousel, bringing out a full- course caution for three laps.

Before the restart, two cars had passed Abbate in turns seven and eight, so she was running P4. However, she gained one spot back on the restart to hold P3 in class. Later, another three- lap caution flag flew, and Abbate said she was “battling to make up lost ground.”

She fought hard to stay in the top four for the remainder of the race, trading places several times with the cars running second and third.

A late-race caution and subsequent red flag flew at lap 26, which bunched up the field for six laps. On the restart, Abbate was P2 in class and P3 overall. She held off the TA2 field for six laps, ultimately holding her position for the finish. She also ran the third-fastest lap of the race to earn a P3 spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.

“This season, I’ve been focusing really hard on pushing myself, and getting outside my comfort zone,” said Abbate. “I know I’m with the best team, and I’m getting faster and more confident every time I get in this car.

“This weekend, I feel I made a lot of progress. And even though I made a mistake in the race that set me back, I was able to shake it off and fight my way back to the front of the field, bringing home my second podium finish from two events so far this season. While I wish I was able to race full time, I’m so grateful to all of my partners, and to Nitro Motorsports. And I’m determined to keep making the most of every opportunity this year that I have.”

On Sunday, Abbate’s car experienced a suspension failure in turn two of the first lap. No contact or damage resulted, but she was forced to retire the car for the day.

Abbate's season will continue when she returns to the Trans Am National Tour for their event at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Weekend.

Season-Best Finish for Balcaen at Talladega

Shift Up Now Athlete Amber Balcaen earned a P7 finish in the General Tire 200 at Talladega Super Speedway on April 20, 2024. This marked her second top-ten finish in just three ARCA Menards Series races so far, and placed her fourth in the drivers’ standings.

Driving the Icon Direct No. 22 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, Balcaen was ready for the 76- lap competition on one of her favorite race tracks.

Despite a shortened practice session on Friday, where drivers were only allowed six laps to get up to speed, Balcaen got to work and ran the fifth-fastest lap. However at this event, instead of qualifying, the starting lineup for the race was set by owner’s points. This meant Balcaen would start P24.

Saturday’s race on the 2.66-mile oval began at 12:30 p.m. ET under perfect racing conditions, with an overcast sky and no rain. Early on, Balcaen steadily advanced forward through the field. As she moved into the P7 position, the front pack of cars created separation. The tail car of the lead draft struggled to stick with the front group, causing some of the stronger cars in the field to fall off.

Balcaen was one of the lead cars of the second pack. She noted that she needed a car behind to push and a car ahead to be “sandwiched in the draft,” otherwise it was tough to hold on and pass. Nonetheless, she held her P7 position until the checkered flag fell.

“I’m glad we got another top-ten finish,” said Balcaen. “I obviously wanted the win but advancing from twenty-fourth to seventh is still a solid finish. We tried to make a move earlier to take the lead but the second lane was not able to build momentum like the bottom one. I needed a lot more help to make any kind of moves.

“I was also surprised how different Talladega raced this year, versus Daytona. The safest bet was to stay on the bottom in the lead draft with someone behind you. No one was able to form lines up top like we were able to at Daytona. But it was still a great, clean race, and overall a good points day as well. We currently sit fourth in the points, and only six points out of the lead.

"It gives us good momentum going into Dover. I’m proud of my entire Venturini team for putting together a great car and I am extremely thankful to have the support from Icon Direct.”

Balcaen and the ARCA Menards Series head to Delaware this weekend for the General Tire 150 at Dover Motor Speedway on Friday, April 26, 2024.