The Grr Racing team made a last minute decision to take a stab at the winner-take-all Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships in Buttonwillow, California this past weekend. This annual event takes place in the Cal Club region of the SCCA and has been a favorite race of the team for several years – with a highest finish of 2nd place they focused to getting to that top step.
Saturday consisted of one practice session, qualifying, and heat race but due to the decision to change their rear end gear the team would miss out on the only practice of the weekend. Unbeknownst to the team, as they went to head to the grid for the qualifying session, an electrical gremlin struck. “Fortunately we were able to pinpoint the problem, but it cost us the opportunity of earning our grid spot,” Crew Chief Anthony Philleo stated.
The team started from last in the multi-car field as they took the green flag for the Saturday heat race. Michele Abbate had a great start, advancing a few positions by turn 1. “It’s always a challenge to start from the back, but I’ve learned to love the opportunity to dissect and pass the field as the race unfolds”, Abbate shared. She worked her way through the field, staying focused and hitting her marks. By the white flag she was able to secure 1st place in the GT2 field and 2nd place overall and took the checkered to secure her first win of the 2019 season, just 10 seconds behind the overall race winner. “This was such an awesome experience, I just hope to be able to do it all again tomorrow!”, Michele said smiling ear to ear.
Sunday set a new slate and times were wiped to be reset for a quick qualifying session to set the grid for the feature race. Abbate was able to lay down a time of a 1:52.3 that landed her the P1 position in GT2 and just off pole for the race grid. As the field came down the front straight, 2×2, anticipating the green flag, Michele prepared herself from the front row. Once it dropped Abbate was able to take the lead overall into turn 1. She built a comfortable gap and drove away from the field. Unfortunately, one of the other classed cars laid oil through several corners of the track after losing a motor and the gap became non-existent. Michele drove cautiously and was able to secure the Championship win in GT2 after lapping the entire field and finishing 2nd overall.
“This was a fantastic weekend for us and an absolutely perfect way to close out our 2019 season with our new car”, Michele expresses. With the team’s newest partnership with OCLU (www.oclu.com), they were able to capture both races on camera with 4K quality. Stay tuned for more announcements as the year comes to an end. Be sure to say hi to the entire Grr Racing team at the SEMA show next week, as well as when Michele makes her debut with the Shift Up Now team as she joins HQ Autosport in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in early December.