Podium Finishes for Hayes and Unser at Road America

May 11, 2022

Shift Up Now Athletes Laura Hayes and Loni Unser earned second-place podium finishes on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at Road America in rounds seven and eight of the 2022 World Racing League Championship. 

The first race of the weekend brought several red flags, and Hayes and Thunder Bunny Racing took advantage of the stoppages with smart strategy. Hayes started P17 in the GT0 class for Saturday’s eight-hour endurance race and drove the No. 111 BMW M2CS Racing car all the way to the front during her opening triple stint. Her teammates then brought the car home to finish in second place, marking their second podium finish of the season. 

Also competing in GT0, in the absence of TLM Racing at this event, Shift Up Now Athlete Pippa Mann joined the ProSport Competition team for a one-off event in the No. 143 Race For RP Aston Martin. After shaking down the car during qualifying Friday, the team started P23, but slowly made their way forward during the race. Mann drove a double stint in the middle of the race to advance the car to fifth place, and her closing teammate held on to finish in 6th place - the highest finish for the ProSport Competition team so far in 2022.

Unfortunately, Shift Up Now Athletes Sarah Montgomery and Loni Unser didn’t have the finishes they were looking for Saturday on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track. Montgomery and her Round 3 Racing teammates earned a second-place finish in the No. 401 Hagerty BMW M4 GT4, but ran into an issue in post-race tech, dropping them to the back of the field. 

Unser’s teammate made a mistake in the infamous Road America Kink, and the resulting accident damage side-lined the Team Cooper Tire Porsche Cayman for the rest of the race. 

Sunday’s eight-hour race started in a similarly-frustrating fashion for both of the Shift Up Now Athletes with Round 3 Racing. After a hard charge through the field in the Hagerty BMW in the opening laps, Montgomery was forced to pit when engine alarms started coming on in the car. Unable to diagnose the cause at the track, the team had to retire from the race.

After tireless work from the Round 3 Racing crew to have the Team Cooper Tire Cayman back on track, Unser suffered contact from a GT0 car during the first laps of her double stint, and was dropped to the back of the GP1 pack. However, she and her teammates never gave up, and spent the rest of the race working back through the field. At the checkered flag, they took second place by 0.39 seconds over the third-place finisher.

Hayes’ team also had a strong run on Sunday, following Saturday’s podium finish. Hayes drove a solid double stint to start Sunday’s race for Thunder Bunny Racing. She ran as high as P2 in the GT0 class and the team hung on to a fifth-place spot at the finish. This was their sixth consecutive top-ten finish in the No. 111 BMW M2 CS Racing.

In the ProSport Competition team, Pippa Mann drove the final two and a half hours in Sunday’s race in the Race For RP Aston Martin. After some setbacks early in the second race, the team also mounted a comeback, and Mann brought them home for a second consecutive sixth-place finish at the checkered flag.

World Racing League action continues at Daytona International Speedway for a single, 14-hour endurance race worth double points on June 11, 2022.

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