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2019 SRO GT3 PRO/AM CHAMPIONS
2020 SRO GT3 OVERALL CHAMPIONS
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#93 HPD GT3 Academy Acura NSX GT3 Evo
DOUBLE PODIUM FOR RACERS EDGE AT SONOMA RACEWAY IN GT3 ROOKIE DEBUT FOR HAGLER AND DICKERSON
Taylor Hagler and Dakota Dickerson scored a double podium at Sonoma Raceway, finishing third in both races in the #93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo at the first 2021 event of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season.
Sonoma Raceway was a proving ground of sorts for the inaugural HPD GT3 Academy grads who will pair up behind the wheel of the Racers Edge Acura machine for part of the GT World Challenge America season. Hagler and Dickerson faced many firsts in the two-race weekend: their first official sessions in a GT3 car, first qualifying sessions, and for Hagler, her first time as the race-finishing driver.
Hagler qualified the car in P11 overall, P7 in class for race 1, which saw her take the green for her first GT3 race. She gained three positions in her stint, handing off the car to Dickerson in P8. Dickerson gained three more positions in the second half of the race, crossing the line with a top-five finish on the 3rd step of the Pro-Am class podium.
The Racers Edge crew had the Acura NSX GT3 Evo tuned and ready for the weekend’s challenge, and performed two quick pit stops to keep the car in position during each driver change.
In the second race, the drivers reversed roles, with Dickerson lining up sixth on the grid to take the green, turning the car over to Hagler in P5 overall, but third in class. Hagler pushed for second, closing the gap to under six seconds in the final lap, holding the team’s spot at third in the Pro-Am field at the checkered flag.
Dickerson had several exciting on-track battles with veteran driver Ryan Dalziel in the #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo, and Hagler held her own against a charge from Erin Vogel in that team’s sister car.
The team returns to the track April 30-May 2 at Circuit of the Americas, where Hagler will be joined by another Academy grad, Jacob Abel.
RACERS EDGE TO CAMPAIGN AN ACURA NSX GT3 EVO FOR A THIRD GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA SEASON
Racers Edge Motorsports, the 2019 and 2020 SRO GT3 champions, will once again campaign an Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series, this time with three of the inaugural HPD GT3 Driver Academy graduates sharing driving duties over the course of the seven-event season.
After accumulating multiple championships with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, Racers Edge Motorsports, who runs the Honda Performance Development (HPD) GT3 Driver Academy, has shifted its goals for this season to focus on the further professional development of the Academy students.
Taylor Hagler, Dakota Dickerson and Jacob Abel completed the four session HPD GT3 Driver Academy held during several months over 2020. Consequently, all three drivers have experience with the Racers Edge team and the Acura machine from the Academy program, but now all three will also experience GT3 racing for the first time.
GT World Challenge America will continue with the same race format as last season, with two 90-minute races in each weekend’s event, with two drivers sharing designated time in the car. Hagler will compete in the entire season in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, with Abel and Dickerson sharing the wheel at alternating events. Dickerson will partner with Hagler to kick off the season at Sonoma Raceway.
Taylor Hagler, Jacob Abel and Dakota Dickerson
Team principal Jon Mirachi is excited about this natural extension of the Academy curriculum. “All our students did great with the program last year, so we’re excited to continue to coach these drivers throughout the coming season and further develop their skills while we race. We’ll set goals for each driver for every event and track their progress over the year.”
Taylor Hagler competed in the full 2019 season in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with LA Honda World Racing in a Honda Civic Type R. She qualified on the pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where she and co-driver Ryan Eversley, also an HPD Racing driver and Academy instructor, finished on the second step of the podium, one of their five top-five results of the season. Hagler also drove the X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si in the 2019 SRO TC America series.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Racers Edge Motorsports in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo to continue all of the work we started in the 2020 NSX GT3 Academy,” said Hagler. “The team and Academy drivers built a great relationship last season and I think we will be ready to go from the start at Sonoma. I had my start in professional racing in the SRO in 2019 and it will be great to be back in the paddock for a full season effort in GT World Challenge America. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be on our car this season and I am happy to represent this foundation with a great cause.”
Dakota Dickerson joins the GT3 ranks from two seasons in the IMSA Prototype Challenge series, where he earned the 2020 Vice Champion title with one win, a podium, and three top-five finishes over six races. Beginning his third year in IMPC, Dickerson finished on the second step of the podium at the 2021 season opening race during the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Dickerson has an impressive resume from his experience in open-wheel racing. He was the 2019 F3 Americas Champion, and earned the 2018 champion title in the US Formula 4 series. A Driver Development scholarship winner from Bryan Herta Autosport Dickerson was also chosen to be one of two drivers to represent the United States overseas via the Team USA Scholarship.
"I'm incredibly excited to get the opportunity to get back in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Racers Edge Motorsports and to be paired up with fellow Academy driver, Taylor Hagler,” Dickerson said. “The HPD GT3 Academy provided us with a tremendous amount of support and feedback, and it will be good to put this to action in GT World Challenge America,” he added. “I can't wait to hit the track at Sonoma!"
Jacob Abel brings his open wheel background to the GT3 paddock, having competed in both the Formula Regional Americas Championship and Indy Pro 2000 series with Abel Motorsports. Abel secured fifth in the 2020 Formula Regional Americas Drivers Championship with multiple top-five results throughout the season in a Ligier-Honda machine. In his fifth year as a professional racer, he will also contest his second full season in Indy Pro 2000 for 2021 in addition to GT World Challenge commitments. Abel will join Hagler at Circuit of the Americas in May.
Abel echoes his teammates’ enthusiasm. "I'm thrilled to be back with the Racers Edge and HPD family for 2021. I cannot say enough good things about Jon Mirachi and his team, so to finally be able to compete with them is going to be an honor. The knowledge that Dakota, Taylor, Karl, and myself gained during the GT3 Academy in 2020 is invaluable and I can't wait to put it on display in GT3 competition,” he continued. “This season will not only be a place to display the things we've learned but to continue the learning process as well. I can't thank everyone enough for the opportunity and I can't wait to get on track.”
Racers Edge Motorsports will continue working with Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD), who will provide technical and trackside support for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo. This car will also be used in the second year of the HPD Racing GT3 Driver Academy set to run throughout 2021, with a similar format to the inaugural program and four new student recruits.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season begins March 5-7 at Sonoma Raceway. While the series will begin with a closed-paddock to fans in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all races will be live streamed, with more information at www.gt-world-challenge-america.com and www.youtube.com/GTWorld.
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