Shift Up Now Athlete Hannah Grisham and teammate Rianna O’Meara-Hunt earned a season-best, top-five finish in class in Pirelli GT4 America at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on May 20-21, 2023.
Competing in their rookie GT4 season, both drivers were the winners of the Heart of Racing Scholarship Shootout last fall. The COTA event, the third of the season, was a two-driver sprint race format with a mandatory pit stop in each race for the driver change.
Driving an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for the Heart of Racing team, the duo had shown pace in previous events and set their sights high for the racing weekend.
Testing and practice took place on Thursday and Friday in sunny, warm conditions.
On Saturday morning, Grisham set the starting position in qualifying for race one in the first qualifying session. The team would start second in class and 14th overall, out of 42 cars taking the green flag. O’Meara-Hunt would later set the starting position for race two in the second qualifying session.
Grisham had a strong start, running in the top ten overall in the early laps, and staying at the front of the class. A good pit stop and clean racing to the flag led to the fifth-place finish, their best to date. Grisham noted that they were happy to run the first clean race of the season and get that result under their belts.
On Sunday, the duo started a little farther back for race two. O’Meara-Hunt had a clean first stint and handed the wheel to Grisham. Just over a lap into her stint, a full-course caution left only a half lap of green for Grisham, but she was able to gain one spot in class with that time.
Despite having the speed to overtake the several cars ahead in class and advance further, the lengthy caution period, and lack of green flag running in the second half of the race meant the team had to settle for an 11th place finish in their class.
“There were a lot of great take always from this weekend,” said Grisham. “And we are ready and excited to be back at VIR in three weeks. Every race, we continue to progress, so we’re hoping for our first podium!”
The fourth event of Pirelli GT4 America series season will take place at VIRginia International Raceway on June 16-18, 2023.