Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 
NHRA has partnered with Keyscaper for a collection of NHRA-branded electronic accessories. The licensing partnership was secured by JRL Group, NHRA’s licensing agency.
 
Diehard race fans will now be able to proudly show off their passion for NHRA Drag Racing with a wide selection of cellphone cases, chargers, keyboards, and more. With something for fans of all ages, the initial launch of the collection will include four designs: the iconic NHRA logo, known and beloved by all fans; NHRA Originals, a style that taps into the vintage, nostalgic feel of the brand; Hot Rod, which takes a more contemporary spin; and Game Face, a raw and gritty take on the sport’s trademark elements of speed and power.
 
Racing aficionados can rest easy knowing all products are fully-functional and useful in their everyday lives. Cell phone cases are available for both iPhone and Galaxy models, and wireless USB chargers that can be slipped into bags or set up in cars make it easy to charge devices on the go, and in style.
 
The NHRA Licensing Program continues to expand focusing on lifestyle products such as apparel and accessories, home décor, as well as items for the garage for the auto enthusiast such as automotive accessories, automotive tools, appearance and other automotive related products.
 
The new NHRA collection can be purchased via the Keyscapers website.
 

 

(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)

By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
Perhaps no better venue exists for the continuation of Ryan Dalziel’s racing renaissance than Sebring International Raceway.
 
His wife, Jessica, is from Sebring. His father-in-law has attended races at the track for decades. He married into a Sebring family, people who know all the race winners and all the crazy infield stories. People who know people who know where the burned couches are buried.
 
After his first race at the track in 2005, Dalziel stepped out onto a balcony at what was then called the Chateau Elan (now the Seven Sebring Raceway Hotel) and gazed at the aftermath in the infield. “It was like World War III had happened,” he said with a laugh. “It’s calmed down a lot since then.”
 
In essence, that’s why the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday is the fitting race for Dalziel to press forward with a comeback that began victoriously in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
 
He never really went anywhere, mind you, but the past few years weren’t up to Dalziel’s standards. He raced just twice in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020 and six times in 2019 – all for Starworks Motorsport – after a five-year run with Tequila Patrón Extreme Speed Motorsports ended in 2018.
Not surprisingly, that’s when the self-doubt surfaced.
 
“I’ve been vocal with this at times,” Dalziel said. “I wouldn’t have hired me during a couple of those seasons.”
 
He found his way back in January with an emotional victory for Era Motorsport in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class at Daytona. He teamed with Kyle Tilley, Paul-Loup Chatin and Dwight Merriman for a triumph that couldn’t have been more timely or necessary.
“I’ve won Daytona twice now, and both times it’s been equally special but also personally very much needed,” Dalziel said. “When I won it in 2010, I was unemployed. That was a one-off race for me. It led to a full-season program with another team after that and a second-place finish in the championship that year."
 
In 2018, Dalziel, an established, multi-faceted racer with a résumé that included the 2012 LMP2 win with Starworks in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, found himself scrambling to find work. He landed a part-time gig in the GT Daytona (GTD) class with Starworks, but he also began to feel uncertain.
 
“By no means do I think I’m old in the racing world,” said Dalziel, a 38-year-old native of Glasgow, Scotland. “But when you go through droughts, it’s pretty easy to doubt yourself. On the IMSA side, for sure, it’s been a tough few years for me since the Patrón deal ended, just trying to find some security and continuity.”
 
He found it with Era Motorsport, the Indianapolis-based team founded and operated by Tilley. The group brought its ORECA LMP2 07 to Daytona, qualified seventh in class, then chased down six competitors over 24 hours. The win hit the refresh button on Dalziel's career.
“It was just a very good, very needed, very well-timed result,” Dalziel said. “It was more of a personal one. Kyle put a lot of hard work into the program, and everybody needed that one. It was definitely pretty special for all of us. But selfishly, it gave me that fire in the belly for endurance racing that I was missing the last couple of years. It definitely reignited all of those feelings about the reason I do this.”
 
His renewal now turns to Sebring with confidence gained from a team with which he feels comfortable – and successful.
 
“You always swagger a little bit more going into the next one after winning,” Dalziel said. “It’s one of those teams that has so many good ingredients. That doesn’t mean to say that it always works for other teams like that, but to me it was pretty evident very early on that it did work with this team.”
 
The site of 15 years of racing memories and volumes of wacky stories is the proper place to bury the doubts and celebrate the renewal. Sebring, welcome a member of your family. He’s back in more ways than one.
 
“I don’t care what athlete you are or what person you are, it’s impossible to say you don’t start having self-doubts, and I definitely had them,” Dalziel said. “I just kept plugging away. I kept thinking, ‘It’s going to change. It’s going to change.’ And then it did change. It was perseverance.”

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship gets underway in Spa-Francorchamps next month with the Official Prologue and round one of WEC Season 9 which sees a total of 37 cars on the first version of the entry list. 

Five Hypercars, 14 LMP2s, five LMGTE Pro cars and 13 LMGTE Am entries make up the impressive roster of teams and star-studded driver names that will compete at the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (29 April – 1 May), which will be staged behind closed doors. 

Heralding the start of a brand-new era in sportscar racing will be the headline Hypercar category which will see five cars go head-to-head in the WEC’s premier racing class. Toyota Gazoo Racing has entered two full-season entrants with the all-new Toyota GR010 HYBRID although the driver line-up in the No. 7 and No. 8 cars remains unchanged for 2021. 

Meanwhile, US-based team Glickenhaus Racing has entered a pair of 007 Hypercars. Confirmed to drive the No. 708 car will be America’s Gustavo Menezes, while Australian Ryan Briscoe is set to pilot the No. 709 sister car. Romain Dumas, Pipo Derani, Olivier Pla, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux have all been confirmed as team drivers in 2021 but it hasn’t been confirmed which pilots will join which car for Belgium. 

French squad Alpine Elf Matmut will enter an Alpine A480 Gibson in the Hypercar category with its trio of drivers who were confirmed earlier this week: Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Matthieu Vaxiviere. 

In addition to the 11 full-season LMP2 entries, US-based PR1 Motorsports and triple ELMS Champions G-Drive Racing have entered cars into the ever-popular WEC category. G-Drive Racing’s two Aurus 01 Gibson cars makes it three different chassis constructors competing in LMP2 with the Ligier JSP217 of ARC Bratislava going up against the two Aurus entries from G-Drive and rest of the field consisting of the highly-proven ORECA 07 Gibson. As always, the LMP2 field is one of the toughest classes in the WEC with a string of world-class teams and drivers set to battle it out on track. 

Flying the flag for Belgium, and the only home driver on the entry list so far, will be JOTA’s Stoffel Vandoorne who has two WEC starts to his name including two podium finishes at Spa in 2019 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans later that year. 

LMGTE Pro will see the category’s key manufacturers – Porsche and Ferrari – go head-to-head for GTE supremacy. AF Corse Ferrari’s No. 52 car sees a driver change for 2021, as Daniel Serra takes to the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo alongside Miguel Molina. Meanwhile, Porsche GT Team also sees a driver swap with Switzerland’s Neel Jani joining Kevin Estre in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR. Joining the GTE Pro field for Spa will be the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R entered by American team Corvette Racing. Antonio Garcia (Spain) and Oliver Gavin (UK) are named on the entry list and will mark the first time the duo has shared a car in their Corvette Racing careers. 

Finally, LMGTE Am sees a healthy field of 13 entries, which is made up of five Porsche 911 RSR – 19 cars, five Ferrari 488 GTE Evos and three Aston Martin Vantage AMR cars. For the first time in WEC’s history, a total of six females will compete in this year’s season-opener which includes the three females from LMP2 squad the Richard Mille Racing Team and the all-female line-up entered under the Iron Lynx LMGTE Am team banner. 

The official pre-season test, otherwise known as The Prologue, will be staged at the Belgian circuit from 26-27 April with the main event – the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – getting underway on Saturday 1 May. 

Cardo Systems, the global market leader in Bluetooth and mesh communication systems for motorcyclists, was today announced as the official communicator of the 2021 Progressive American Flat Track season. As the official communications system for the series, Cardo’s industry-leading PACKTALK BOLD will be featured as an important piece of equipment throughout the season.
 
At each race, Progressive AFT officials will utilize Cardo’s industry-leading wireless communicator during its Honda Talon Experience. With Cardo’s Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC), Progressive AFT crew members can seamlessly communicate with the Honda Talon driver in an ‘always on’ intercom network. The IP67 waterproof and dustproof design of the PACKTALK BOLD provides durability and dependability regardless of track conditions, while sound by JBL provides crystal-clear sound quality when communicating throughout the race. 
 
“Communication is key for race day operations, not only to produce and execute an efficient event, but also for safety of our riders and our trackside staff,” said Michael Lock, CEO of Progressive American Flat Track. “Cardo’s PACKTALK BOLD allows our trackside staff to conveniently communicate with our Honda Talon driver ensuring for safe and efficient transitions and movements both on and off of the racetrack.”
 
Communication devices are not yet sanctioned for use during competition, but many riders utilize Cardo’s PACKTALK BOLD in preparation for each race. Riders such as 2016 AFT Champion Bryan Smith and fellow Mission SuperTwins racer Sammy Halbert use the PACKTALK BOLD during training for real-time coaching and feedback. Paired with the PACKTALK headset, coaches are able to efficiently communicate and provide real-time tips and suggestions while the rider is on the track.
 
“Pairing Cardo’s PACKTALK BOLD with my helmet and my team’s headset is super easy and really allows quality practice time,” said Halbert. “By receiving real-time tips, I can make corrections and try new lines without having to stop – greatly improving our practice sessions.”
                                                                                                                                       
As the category leader, Cardo offers a wide range of products designed for multiple use cases, including its FREECOM and PACKTALK offerings. The Cardo FREECOM line offers three variations of Bluetooth communication systems. From the rider-to-passenger FREECOM1+, to the rider-to-rider FREECOM2+, and the four-rider Bluetooth system, the FREECOM4+. Rounding out Cardo’s top-of-the-line PACKTALK lineup, featuring Cardo’s proprietary DMC connectivity, is the PACKTALK SLIM and special-edition PACKTALK BLACK.
 
For more information, visit www.cardosystems.com.
 
Next up, Progressive AFT roars into Atlanta Motor Speedway for its debut Yamaha Atlanta Super TT. Tickets for the Saturday, May 1, 2021 premiere event are available now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3327/#selectTickets. For fans viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. 
 
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
 
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge are delighted to be back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock fulltime, but it doesn’t stop there. They both want to succeed again – this time together.
 
Nielsen is a two-time GT Daytona (GTD) champion; Legge was the 2018 GTD runner-up. Each has four career wins, but none as teammates when they drove together in 2019. They have reunited in the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3R for the rest of the 2021 GTD season after sharing the car with team owners Rob Ferriol and Earl Bamber in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the season.
 
“We are just super grateful to be here and trying to build,” Legge said. “It's a bit of a last-minute deal, just trying to build something meaningful with Hardpoint EBM, trying to scramble and put everything together.”
 
The COVID-19 pandemic derailed 2020 plans for many drivers, including Legge and Nielsen. Then, Legge sustained a broken leg and wrist in a serious crash while driving a Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) car in the European Le Mans Series. While Legge put her pieces back together physically, she and Nielsen kept working to put together a racing package for 2021. With the aid of sponsors Richard Mille and Champion Porsche, they’ve done it.
 
“It's something that Kat and I have consciously worked towards since the season fell apart last year,” said Nielsen, the 2016 and ’17 GTD champ. “So, it's absolutely a very important target, if not the target, to hit. Next is to do well. But to be back full season is something that we aimed for.
 
“We love being a part of IMSA, we love the tracks that we get to race in IMSA, we love the format. To be here with Champion and Richard Mille is an absolutely major deal for us and we're really enjoying it.”
 
Enjoying it, yes, but they’re also realistic. The Porsche is a much different car to drive than the Acura and Ferrari they won in before. Nielsen qualified the No. 88 in 10th place among the 13 GTD entries for race grid position on Friday, while Legge ran 12th in the points qualifying session. Bia Figueiredo, part of the Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank team with Legge and Nielsen in 2019, rejoins them as the third driver this weekend.
 
Legge admitted that a sixth-place class finish in the race would be like a victory.
 
“I would say top six, I think, is achievable,” she said. “But I would say realistically, if we can execute without making any mistakes and we're all relatively fast and we've got the other car (the No. 99 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche with drivers Ferriol, Bamber and Trenton Estep) as a yardstick. For example, I can look at Earl’s data, and if I'm within a couple of tenths of him, my out laps are just as good and my traffic management is and everything, then even if we finished 10th, I would see that as a personal victory because of all of his experience.
 
“So, it's lots of little goals within the big goal of obviously winning the race. And we'd be lying if we said that we didn't dream about that, too.”
Turner Motorsport, BMW Celebrate Long Partnership
 
By John Oreovicz
Competing in 400 races is a major accomplishment for any racing team, but 400 with the same manufacturer partner? That’s almost unheard of. But it’s a milestone that Turner Motorsport just celebrated with BMW.
 
Turner fields BMW entries in both the WeatherTech Championship GTD category and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge’s Grand Sport (GS) class. Team owner Will Turner said it started with an E30-generation 325i he entered in BMW CCA (BMW Car Club of America) and SCCA club racing. “I didn’t have plans to race them professionally, or anything,” he said with a laugh.
 
Turner Motorsport went pro in 1998. Since 2003, the team has claimed seven championships in four different series. A common denominator in much of Turner’s success is driver Bill Auberlen, whose 62 race wins in IMSA competition are a series record. Auberlen has been a part of nearly half of Turner’s 400-plus races.
 
“When I found this kid in 2002, we won back-to-back championships in 2003 and ’04 and that was a highlight, one of the coolest things in my career,” Turner said. “He knew what it took to build a car, and he also knew how to drive it. He’s stayed loyal to BMW and so have I. When he hasn’t had a factory gig, he’s been in my car.”
 
Now 52, Auberlen is performing double duty for Turner this weekend. He and co-driver Dillon Machavern finished third in Friday’s Pilot Challenge race, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120. Auberlen’s WeatherTech Championship co-driver, Robby Foley, will start seventh in GTD in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Aidan Read fills out the driver lineup in the No. 96 this weekend.
 
Auberlen estimated that 90 percent of his career wins came with BMW and rated his last-lap triumph in the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as the most memorable or rewarding.
 
“It was the dramatic fashion that we won it,” he recalled. “That tied me with Scott Pruett for the record at the time with 60 wins, and it was like a thousand tons of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders.”
 
Auberlen exudes the kind of enthusiasm that inspires comparisons to legendary drag racer John Force. He’s convinced that he, Turner and BMW have many more races and wins to look forward to.
 
“It’s a great team that’s really good at winning races and winning championships,” Auberlen said. “But not only are you going to get a great race car, you’re going to have a lot of fun with this team. That’s different from a lot of other teams where it’s solely focused on performance. With this one, they’ve managed to merge having some fun with racing some really cool cars.”
 
Van Berlo, Wagner Win IMSA Single-Make Series Friday Races
 
Kay van Berlo passed Kelly-Moss Road and Race teammate Seb Priaulx on the opening lap and drove away to a 4.338-second victory Friday in the closing race of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America’s debut weekend. Alan Metni (iFLY/Kelly-Moss) won for the second straight day in Pro-Am with Matt Halcome taking the win in Pro-Am 991.
 
In the second half of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires Sebring doubleheader weekend, Gresham Wagner (Spark Performance) passed Michael Carter (Carter Racing Enterprises) in the sweeping final turn at Sebring and drove to the win – his second of the 2021 season.
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Robin Liddell nursed a smoking car to the finish line Friday to win the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the second race of the 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.
 
While holding a 5-second lead over Jan Heylen in the final minutes of the two-hour race at Sebring International Raceway, the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R that Liddell co-drove with Frank DePew began emitting smoke from the rear end.
 
Liddell backed down but kept it going for the final three laps, eventually finishing 3.343 seconds ahead of the No. 16 Wright Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport that Heylen co-drove with Max Root.
 
Alan Jay Automotive Network 120: Provisional results
 
The smoke roiling from the back of the Camaro worried Liddell as the final minutes ticked away.
 
“I was very concerned,” Liddell said. “But I didn’t feel anything mechanical. I was just waiting for something to tighten up or let go. In the end, to be fair, I wasn’t really pushing the car very hard. Our whole thing was about rolling speed. I was lifting off (the accelerator) very early and saving the gas and carrying as much speed as I could.
 
“It didn’t hurt our lap times massively, but it made a big difference to our fuel mileage. That was the only way we could have done what we did today. There was absolutely no way we had the performance to win outright if we’d have just pushed and done the same strategy as everyone else.” 
 
As Liddell coaxed the No. 71 Camaro closer to the finish, DePew watched nervously.
 
“I was thinking, ‘Man, we’re going to get this,’” DePew said. “That was with about four laps to go. I was hearing the team calling out the fuel numbers. As long as Robin, knowing that we don’t have quite the car, he could take off before Heylen gets too close. Then all of a sudden, the car starts smoking. The last three laps were nail-biting.”
While Liddell was winning the Grand Sport (GS) class and overall race, Jon Morley prevailed in the Touring Car (TCR) class in the No. 61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS SEQ he shared with Gavin Ernstone.
 
Morley and Ernstone overcame mechanical issues discovered Thursday in practice, and Ernstone drove the car to the lead during his stint.
 
“The team ironed every single one of those problems out,” Morley said. “Since Practice 2 it’s been flawless. I was just looking forward to getting back into it. … I had a much more exciting race than I intended.”
 
The win by Morley and Ernstone in TCR added Sebring to their list of achieved goals.
 
“We just executed everything we talked about,” Ernstone said. “Just driving the car really smooth, look after the car, don’t touch anything. … This is a big check off our list. We’ve got (wins at) Daytona, Laguna Seca and now Sebring. Looking at the wall and all the names on the plaques out there, I was really emotional.”
 
The Michelin Pilot Challenge season resumes May 15 with the Mid-Ohio 120, part of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio weekend.
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service

 

 

The idea of taking on the responsibility of the high-profile, high-pressure Corvette Racing program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is daunting enough in normal times. Doing so in the midst and uncertainty of a pandemic would make it even more intimidating.
 
Not for Laura Wontrop Klauser. Named Sports Car Racing Program Manager at General Motors in January, Klauser now oversees the successful Corvette operation in GT Le Mans (GTLM) in addition to her previous duties supervising the Cadillac Daytona Prototype international (DPi) program as well as the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Chevrolet Camaro project.
But considering the way she has followed her passion and risen through the GM ranks in the male-dominated world of motorsports, it’s no surprise Klauser has confronted the task head-on.
 
“Coming on board in the middle of a pandemic has been a challenge,” Klauser admitted. “Not that it hasn’t been a challenge for everybody, right? At the same time, it’s been a really great opportunity to get to know everyone. We’re all in this together.
 
“It’s made for a lot more team camaraderie as we work through how to shift things and where we’re going for races and all of that. It’s given us time to get really creative logistically, which I’m pretty good at that – putting budgets together and logistics and stuff like that. I think it’s been good for the team, especially on the Corvette side, to have me on board with having all the sports car things (under one umbrella). This way we’re able to quickly adapt and do what we need to do across the board instead of having to wait and check in one by one. It makes things faster.”
 
Faster is a recurrent theme in Klauser’s life. Growing up on a Maryland farm, her early thrills came from speeding around the property on a mountain bike. She realized that having a driver’s license and car were the lifeline necessary to participate in school, social and extracurricular activities. Her link to the auto industry was born from that need.
 
Klauser earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s in engineering from the University of Michigan. She began at GM in 2008 and spent eight years on the passenger car production side – starting, in a foreshadowing, with design work on the Corvette C7. She was named Program Manager for the Cadillac ATS-V.R effort in 2016 and, a year later, helped launch the Cadillac DPi-V.R program in the WeatherTech Championship.
Now comes the vaunted Corvette Racing program, with its huge fan base and following. Combining management of the GM sports car programs was initiated to streamline the company-wide effort.
 
“Efficiency has been huge,” Klauser said. “When you’re talking to the same group of people on the GM side – myself and my boss, Mark Stielow – to get things done, decisions can happen very quickly. Also, when you are able to bundle things into a package, you can be a little bit more flexible. If one program needs to have a little extra money to do something over here, but another one didn’t need quite as much, you can shift things around easier when they’re all under one.”
 
Early results have also shown it benefits knowledge sharing within GM racing.
 
“What we found is the way we were operating with each racing program kind of being in its own silo, there wasn’t a lot of transfer between the programs,” Klauser said. “It would get back to the factory, which is great, but if Cadillac picked up on something that could help Corvette, or vice-versa, that wasn’t always happening.
 
“So from an engineering side, we’re trying to share that knowledge back and forth. And as we’re looking to the future and we’re trying to figure out what our portfolio is going to be – where we’re going to be racing, with which brands – it was better to take the holistic approach and we’re definitely baking a lot of the engineering side of that in.”
 
Baking is yet another theme in Klauser’s life. She excelled as a youngster, cooking with her mother and grandmother, and entering her work in 4H contests. “I actually won grand champion cherry pie one year!” she said proudly.
 
Calling it a creative outlet, Klauser continues whipping up delicacies in the kitchen today. She has a website, carsandchocolates.com, that highlights her professional and culinary exploits. She rewards victories by GM’s IMSA teams with treats. Action Express Racing calls them “win biscuits.” After Corvette delivered a 1-2 class finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, Klauser presented the team with black-bottom cupcakes with yellow icing – the colors matching the traditional Corvette scheme.
 
“Baking’s kind of like chemistry,” she said, “so I guess it kind of pulls a little bit on my technical side. But on the other side, you create something exciting and you get to share it with others, and I love that portion of it. … That’s the ultimate gesture of thank you.”
In addition to her dedication to hard work and passion for racing, Klauser credits GM’s advocacy of diversity in assisting her climb up the professional ladder.
 
“I’ve never felt different (at GM) for being a woman,” she said. “I’ve only ever felt different for being young when I had just started. … I feel like I’ve had a path that’s been relatively easy, where I’ve been able to move from job to job at GM.”
 
Klauser knows that isn’t always the case for women or others trying to shatter the norm. Just as she had mentors including renowned GM, NASCAR and NHRA engineer Alba Colon, Klauser is happy to pay it forward.
 
“There’s a couple things that I personally can do,” Klauser said. “The first is to be available for young women and young people in general. I don’t discriminate. I’ll talk to anyone who wants to learn about what it means to be in racing, what the different jobs are that are out there.
 
“I’m a firm believer that you have to work for what you have. That’s something that I do and I think everyone around me does. For those that are willing to work hard and show that they can hang with everyone, give them a chance. You’d be surprised. They’re working harder in some cases and they’ll surprise you even more, I think.”
 
Regarding her own path, Klauser is exactly where she wants to be. She and her husband own a 2013 Corvette C6 Grand Sport that they take to track events and gatherings where they meet hundreds of others who share their passion for the iconic make. At some point, Klauser’s career journey may take her away from motorsports – but she hopes it’s no time soon.
 
“This has been the best fit for me and my skill set and my passions,” she said. “In fact, the day they make me go back to production, I’m probably going to cry because it’s going to be hard leaving something that I love so much.”

 

By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge fans may do a double-take when they see the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 on track at Sebring International Raceway.
 
That’s because the car will feature a two-sided livery meshing the real and virtual worlds of racing. Dubbed the “ZEBRing” livery, the No. 96 will have Turner Motosport’s traditional blue and yellow real-world look on one half of the car while sporting the blue and black zebra striping of BS+COMPETITION sim racing cars on the other half. In addition, No. 96 co-driver and sim racer Robby Foley will wear a similar half-and-half firesuit for the race weekend.
 
The unique scheme is the result of a growing partnership between Massachusetts-based Turner Motorsport and BS+COMPETITION, the German company named one of BMW Motorsport’s four official sim racing teams in 2021. The distinctive livery was brought to life by designers Andy Blackmore (the real-world half) and Juan Diego Sanchez (virtual half).
 
Foley and co-driver Vin Barletta will drive the No. 96 BMW in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Friday, March 19 at Sebring. It is the second of 10 Pilot Challenge races on the 2021 schedule.
 
“Turner Motorsport and BS+COMPETITION is the perfect match,” said Florian Haasper, the founder of BS+COMPETITION. “Both teams combine some fantastic sense of humor on the social web with the determination to win every race they are competing in. Seeing our joint BS+Turner zebra racing at Sebring will be an incredible moment for everyone in our team. And just a few days later we’ll race a split-personality zebra in the iRacing Twelve Hour of Sebring. Together, we are really blurring the lines here!”
 
Foley and Barletta won the Pilot Challenge race last year at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in October. Foley was also victorious a month later in the season-ending race at Sebring, driving with Cam Lawrence. An avid sim racer, Foley finished fifth in the iRacing IMSA Pro Series in 2020. Fellow BMW driver Bruno Spengler took home the inaugural title.
 
“It’s an honor to be a part of the first effort to merge real and virtual on one car in reality,” Foley said. “Over the last year or so, we’ve had the opportunity to run some real-life liveries in iRacing, but now we get to represent BS+COMPETITION on a real-life BMW M4. Florian and everyone at BS+ are extremely passionate about this initiative, and when you combine that with Will Turner’s passion for BMW and racing, you have a really cool project. As one of the BS+COMPETITION’s sim drivers and Turner Motorsport real-life drivers, I am incredibly excited to represent the first merge of the two disciplines in the real world.”
 
Practice for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 begins Wednesday, March 17 at Sebring, with qualifying the following day. The two-hour race begins at 2:35 p.m. ET Friday, March 19 with a live stream available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will also provide coverage on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
 
Tickets for the race weekend are available at sebringraceway.com.

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will visit Charlotte Motor Speedway for the third time when the new Trans Am ProAm Challenge debuts during the SVRA Charlotte Speed Tour on March 19-21.

Trans Am opened its 1981 season on the high-blanked circuit with an infield road course. George Follmer made a strong return to the series by leading 27 of the 45 laps in the Cooke/Woods Camaro. However, he was penalized 15 seconds for jumping a restart. Al Holbert was another contender to encounter problems, dropping out with a broken turbocharger.

That opened the door for Eppie Wietzes, who averaged 101.25 mph in a Corvette in the 101-mile race. He was followed by Bob Tullius in a Jaguar XJ-S, Doc Bundy in a Porsche 924 turbo, and Follmer. Current competitor Greg Pickett took 15th in his Corvette.

Trans Am next visited what was then known as Lowe’s Motor Speedway on April 1, 2000. Brian Simo was coming off an unlikely victory in the opening round at Sebring, with Johnny Miller and Leighton Reese both leading on the final lap before crashing.

Paul Gentilozzi captured the pole for the 75-minute race on the 10-turn, 2.25-mile superspeedway/infield road course layout in a Jaguar XKR. Gentilozzi led the opening 12 laps, trailed by Brian Simo in the Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta. Stu Hayner then passed both drivers on Lap 13 of 44, with Simo following Hayner to remain second. Simo then passed Hayner on a restart and led the final 18 circuits. Hayner crashed out with 14 laps remaining, with Gentilozzi rebounding to challenge Simo in the closing laps.

The 36-car field included current competitors Tomy Drissi (fifth), Lou Gigliotti (sixth) and Simon Gregg (14th), plus broadcaster Chris Neville (fourth), Bob Ruman (11th) and legends John Paul Jr. (21st) and Willy T. Ribbs (26th).

Tickets are now on sale for the Charlotte SpeedTour event at www.SpeedTour.net/evetns. Fans not attending the event can follow live Timing and Scoring on www.GoTransAm.com/livetiming starting on Friday, March 19.

By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Already an accomplished mechanic, racer and podcaster, Ryan Eversley has expanded his role in motorsports to include sales.
 
Last month, he shared his appreciation for a 2022 Acura MDX A-Spec on Twitter, noting that he hopes it becomes his next company car. That tweet came a few months after another one about an Acura RDX A-Spec actually led to a sale.
 
Nothing like keeping your manufacturer happy.
 
“I realized that there are so many good drivers, especially in IMSA, that I’ve got to do something that sets me apart from being a fast, winning driver on track,” said Eversley, a factory Acura/Honda driver. “There are 100 guys who can do that. I’ve used my social media to build an audience, and then I’ve used that audience to help partners and sponsors like Acura and HPD (Honda Performance Development) see the value outside of the car.”
 
It’s working. Eversley will return to the No. 94 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic FK7 TCR with teammates Todd Lamb and Greg Strelzoff for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race March 19 at Sebring International Raceway, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120. His move to the team for 2021 reunited him with Lamb, Atlanta Speedwerks’ owner and Eversley’s longtime friend and former teammate.
 
“We already had a working relationship,” Eversley said. “We see each other all the time and we’re always racing against each other. There’s a level of respect that comes from guys that you know can do the job on and off the track. … We both have that scrappy, gritty kind of personality, so we always get along.”
 
After the second-place debut in the Touring Car (TCR) class in January at Daytona International Speedway, Eversley is ready to put his mechanical and racing skills back to work at Sebring. As a teenager, Eversley began wrenching. When he began driving, the knowledge of the internal workings of the cars helped.
 
“I think it was an advantage in years past when mechanical failures were more common,” Eversley said. “You could nurse something and you could diagnose a problem before it started happening. … Now that reliability is so good, I think the advantage it gives me is understanding what the crew is going through and knowing when and how to ask for things.” 
 
Since his racing debut in 2004, Eversley has assembled a healthy collection of trophies, winning six times (all in a Honda Civic) in eight years in the Pilot Challenge and nine times in six years in the Pirelli World Challenge. In 2004, he scored American Le Mans Series podium finishes in a Le Mans Prototype 2 at Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock and Road Atlanta with Marshall Cooke Racing.
 
It all began with a set of wrenches and a desire to work his way into the seat. Eversley’s first race as a mechanic with Mike Johnson’s Archangel Motorsports was the SRP II class victory at the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona with drivers Andy Lally, Paul Macey, Martin Henderson and Peter Seldon. 
 
“That gave me two very strong teachers in the sport to follow and learn and see how to go about it,” Eversley said of Johnson and Lally. “It clearly gave me an advantage.”
 
The side hustles, though, are nearly as profound. When he’s not racing, Eversley is co-hosting the “Dinner with Racers” podcast with Sean Heckman. He’s also a prolific tweeter, which leads to the occasional sale, whether intended or not.
 
In November, Eversley showed off the new ELS Studio audio system on an RDX via video on social media. That led to an email from a potential customer, which led to a purchase. 
 
“I sold a car for them by posting a video of me blasting the radio,” Eversley said. “I filmed it on my cell phone and it was crystal clear. You could tell how good it would sound in real life. A guy watched it and said, ‘That’s pretty cool. I’m in the market.’ 
 
“He went to the dealership, drove the car and loved it. He turned to the dealer and said, ‘You’re probably not going to like this, but can I turn the stereo all the way up?’ Sure enough, the guy sent me an email saying he bought the car.”
 
In February, after tooling around California in a 2022 Acura MDX loaner, he took pics and did his best pitch on social media with a hint about its potential use as his next daily driver.
 
“That’s my goal,” Eversley said. “When I’m not in the car, how can I help justify my existence as a driver? It’s getting harder and harder to have these jobs and also harder and harder to justify big budgets for things.
 
“If I can say, ‘Hey, not only do I win races for you, but I also sold 10 to 15 cars last year.’ It’s a pretty common thing. They’re like, ‘Yeah, keep doing what you’re doing.’”
 
Practice for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 begins Wednesday, March 17 at Sebring, with qualifying the next day. A live streaming telecast of the two-hour race begins at 2:30 p.m. ET Friday, March 19 on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio coverage is available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
 
The Pilot Challenge race is the main support series event leading to the 69th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. The iconic 12-hour race, the second event on the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, takes place Saturday, March 20. Tickets for all Sebring SportsCar Week activities are available at sebringraceway.com.