Shift Up Now Athlete Loni Unser brought home back-to-back wins in the World Racing League (WRL) GP1 class with teammates Mike Gilbert and Mo Dadkhah, sweeping the weekend for Round 3 Racing on Saturday and Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.
Driving the No. 701 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Cayman, Unser drove the first stint on Saturday. She drove the first 29 laps of the eight-hour endurance race and kept the car in the lead group. Dadkhah and Gilbert then kept the car in contention for the remainder of the race. With 20 minutes remaining, the team was running P2 when a penalty for the lead car advanced them forward for the victory, their second of the season.
On Sunday, Unser drove the third and sixth stints. During her first, she fought with the leader to hold her place on the lead lap. When the leader had a mechanical issue in pit lane, it opened the door for the win.
“After a lot of development, we were able to prove that the No. 701 is a strong contender in the GP1 class,” said Unser. “The first couple of outings we struggled but we knew that with this team in Round 3 Racing that we could get these wins and it feels so good to have proved to everyone that it’s possible. Winning felt easy and right this weekend. I’m on cloud nine.”
Shift Up Now Athlete Hannah Grisham piloted the No. 601 Team Sentinel Porsche Boxter for Round 3 Racing on Saturday and Sunday with teammates James Candelaria and Christian Maloof in the GP2 class.
On Saturday, Maloof drove the opening stint and moved the team into third place, where they held for most of the race. On lap 60, a broken wheel bearing during Grisham’s stint forced her into the garage. The trio finished ninth.
The following day would prove equally as unlucky. After leading the race for more than one hour, a sensor failure sent the team back to the garage. Despite a quick turnaround from the crew, Grisham and her teammates fell out of podium contention and finished sixth.
“This might not have been the way we wanted our season to end,” said Grisham, “but overall it’s been a great year with the team.”
Shift Up Now Athlete Sarah Montgomery completed the WRL finale weekend in a new entry, the No. 401 Team Hagerty BMW M4 GT4 in the GTO class with teammates Buz McCall and Brad McCall. While still learning the new machinery, she qualified the car on the outside front row in P2, out of 90 cars entered and 49 in the GTO class.
During Saturday’s race, Montgomery was catching the leader and had already set the fourth-fastest lap of the race when a broken alternator brought the team to the garage at the two-hour mark of the race.
On Sunday, Team Hagerty started fourth and ran as high as second place. While solidly inside the top ten, contact from a competitor during Buz McCall’s stint caused terminal damage for the BMW. Despite a tough ending to both races, Montgomery and her teammates have already showed solid pace in the new car, which will return to WRL competition in 2022.
Several other Shift Up Now Athletes also competed in the WRL season finale weekend:
Sabre Cook and Ayla Agren drove the BHA Hyundai entry in the GTO class. The team ran in podium contention all weekend and held a P2 spot near the end of Saturday’s race, however an incident took them out of the race for the remainder of the weekend.
Laura Hayes drove for Thunder Bunny Racing and although the team had a tough first race, they rebounded on Sunday to earn a fourth-place finish.
Pippa Mann and Chloe Chambers drove the No. 420 Monoflo International / TLM BMW M2CSRacing car with teammates Evan Hinkle and Tillman Schmid. The team brought home a pair of top-ten finishes, earning P10 in Saturday’s race and P7 on Sunday.
The 2022 World Racing League begins on February 12th, 2022 at NOLA Motorsports Park, and you can continue to follow the Round 3 Racing 2021 Season on The Drive Within, on Fridays at 6pm Eastern on Motor Trend TV.