Shift Up Now Athlete Erin Vogel earned a season best, third-place finish in the first race of a double-header weekend for round seven of the GT World Challenge America championship at Watkins Glen on July 22-24, 2022. She followed it up Sunday with a P6 finish in round eight.
Driving the No. 43 Acura NSX GT3 for RealTime Racing, Vogel and teammate Michael Cooper were confident heading into the weekend, after earning a pair of top-five finishes at the two previous events.
The pair practiced on Friday and qualified Saturday morning. Vogel, who was happy with the team’s new setup adjustment, was first behind the wheel for qualifying, which meant she would start race one. Cooper drove second and would start race two. They qualified in P8 for both races in the Pro-Am class, however a post- qualifying penalty due to contact with a competitor from a brake malfunction at the previous event sent them to the back of the starting grid.
Vogel took the wheel for the first 90-minute race and drove a solid first stint, climbing into the top ten overall, and top five in the Pro-Am class. After a caution period, she made a pass for fourth on the restart and handed the car to Cooper. The RealTime Racing team had a great pit stop for the mandatory driver change.
While other teams started to experience tire issues, Cooper turned fast times and ran without issues. The team finished in third place in Pro-Am, and fourth place overall.
“We had a good race today, even after starting with a grid penalty from VIR,” Vogel said. “I
made up a few positions with a good start, staying down the inside and taking advantage of a
stack up on the outside of Turn One. Then I was able to take advantage of a late caution to get
another pass right before bringing the car in for the driver change fifth in class. The crew was
able to give us another position with a quick stop to put Michael [Cooper] out fourth in class.
“I’m incredibly proud of everyone here at RealTime Racing for their perseverance and for
always being there, ready to seize the opportunity when it counts.Thank you to Shift Up Now
and Bell Techlogix for their support of our program in 2022. Together, we’re making the dream
On Sunday, Cooper drove the first stint in the second 90-minute race that would run entirely green. He got the car into the top ten before handing the wheel to Vogel. Tangled belts slowed the driver change considerably, adding about 7.5 seconds to the stop when a substrap got twisted around the bungees. Vogel took over in P7 and made the pass for P6 in the closing laps to back up Saturday’s podium with another strong result.
GT World Challenge America heads to Road America next, for rounds nine and ten of the 2022 championship on August 19-21, 2022.