Shift Up Now Athletes completed a successful weekend of wins, podiums and poles for the eighth round of the World Racing League on September 2-4, 2022 at VIRginia International Raceway.
On Friday, Sarah Montgomery and her teammates put the No. 401 Hagerty Motorsports Round 3 Racing BMW M4 GT4 car on pole for the GT0 class, which consisted of more than 40 cars. Montgomery’s teammate Cole Loftsgard took a double stint to start Saturday’s 8-hour endurance race, then handed the car over to team owner Brad McCall. Unfortunately, an incredibly slippery track caught the car out, and the resulting contact took the team out for the entire weekend.
Starting from the P10 spot in the GT0 class, Pippa Mann took the wheel first in the No. 770 Monoflo International TLM Racing Porsche Cayman GT4. She charged to third place during her 3.5-hour stint and handed the car to teammate Evan Hinkle, who kept it in the top five. After a pit stop, he was back up to third place again. Around the five-hour mark, the car suffered from fuel starvation, an issue that would ultimately drop the team from points contention Saturday, and retire for the weekend on Sunday.
Laura Hayes qualified her No. 111 Thunder Bunny Racing M2 CS Racing car P16 in the GT0 class for Saturday’s race. She drove a long middle stint through slick track conditions and advanced through the field. When the checkered flag fell, Hayes and her teammates brought home a P5 finish.
On Sunday, Hayes was the last Shift Up Now Athlete standing in the GT0 class, and she took the final stints of the race. Despite contending with weather and red flags, Hayes crossed the finish line in P6.
Driving the No. 701 Team Cooper Tire Round 3 Racing Porsche Cayman in the GP1 class, Loni Unser and Ayla Agren – along with teammate Zack Ping – started Saturday’s race in P7. Ping started the race, then handed the wheel to Unser and Agren, respectively. The trio earned a second-place, podium finish for the first race of the weekend.
Starting from P6 on Sunday, Agren drove a double stint first, accelerating through the field to P3, then Unser took the wheel. Unser also moved up, taking the lead before handing the car to Ping. Battling rain and a red flag, Ping maintained the lead and the team took the victory.
Meanwhile in the GP3 class, Hannah Grisham set the time on Friday that had the No. 605 Hagerty Driver’s Club Porsche Boxster starting P3 for Saturday’s race. An early penalty meant
Grisham’s teammates played catch-up for most of the race, but she drove the final double stint and earned a third-place, podium finish, just seconds ahead of the fourth-place car.
On Sunday, Grisham took the wheel first. Starting from P3 again, she was in the lead by the end of her stint. Her teammates fought hard to maintain the lead throughout the entirety of the race to bring home the victory.
Team owner Brad McCall was thrilled with the results of the weekend and noted that Agren is the eighth Shift Up Now Athlete to race with Round 3 Racing.
“Round 3 Racing and Shift Up Now have enjoyed a great amount of success in our three years together,” McCall said. “This weekend at VIR ranks right up near the top of the list. Sarah’s fifth-consecutive pole, Hannah’s 100% season podium streak, and Loni and Ayla making consistency pay off with a weekend podium sweep. I am beaming with pride.
“All of that success is topped by a young family approaching me on Sunday to thank us for inspiring their nine-year-old daughter, who idolizes the Round 3 Racing Shift Up Now drivers. That should make us all proud.”
The World Racing League 2022 championship season continues with round nine on October 7-9, 2022 at Ozarks International Raceway.