• Racers Edge Motorsports

2021 GT World Challenge America Season Recap

Updated: Feb 4

After the first year of the HPD GT3 Driver Academy that produced four stellar graduates, Racers Edge Motorsports was keen to demonstrate what the program had produced in the way of professional racing drivers. With that in mind, the team put together a lineup for the 2021 SRO GT World Challenge America Season that included 2020 Academy graduates, Taylor Hagler, Jacob Abel, and Dakota Dickerson. Hagler would be in for every race of the season while the other two drivers would be sharing the car with Taylor, splitting the first six events between them. All three drivers united for the season finale; an 8-hour race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The first weekend at Sonoma brought the most uncertainty both for the drivers and for the team. However, this uncertainty would prove unfounded, as both the team and drivers out did expectations with what was both driver's first ever GT3 race. The two would qualify mid pack in their class, but through excellent race craft and strategy, the two were able to finish both races with a pair of podiums; two third place finishes out of the gate!

The second event at Circuit of the Americas in late April brought unforeseen struggles to Racers Edge and the Drivers. The first race was plagued by rain, giving drivers Jacob Abel and Taylor Hagler the opportunity to get more extensive practice in the wet in the NSX GT3 Evo. An off-course excursion, leading to a mechanical failure in race two meant the duo would not get the chance to show their true pace in the #93 car.

The third event on the GT World Challenge America calendar was held at VIRginia International Raceway and would prove to be one of the hottest events of the year. VIR would be the backdrop for another crucial, exciting weekend for the Racers Edge Team. Race one was as exciting as can be as the Racers Edge team was able to take advantage of a hectic caution to get Abel out P3 in class, in front of experienced competitor, Colin Braun. After holding off Braun for several laps and eventually settling into P4 in class, the team would have to deal with heartbreak as the #93 suffered a mechanical failure on the last lap. Race two was much better for the team as a consistent drive by both Abel and Hagler resulted in the team’s third podium of the season. Now, the team was beginning to feel as though a win was within their grasp.

The team’s hard work and dedication to driver development paid the greatest dividends at the GT World Challenge America Round at Road America. In race 1, Taylor Hagler would put in a stellar first stint the #93 Acura NSX that would see her gain several spots going into the narrow pit window. Taylor and rival for the championship Fred Poordad, both pitted late in the pit window. Dakota Dickerson would take the #93 car out to battle for first in class. Dakota passed a key competitor for the lead and led for the remainder of the race, allowing Racers Edge Motorsports and the HPD GT3 Driver academy graduates to take their first victory in 2021 competition. For Hagler and Dickerson, this was their first GT3 class victory. For Racers Edge Motorsports, it proved that the dedication and experience with driver development combined with the HPD GT3 Driver Academy would bring results for its students and bring results in their first season of top level GT3 competition!

At Watkins Glen, the team would again prove competitive. With Taylor Hagler taking the green flag in the first race, the #93 Acura was again showing competitive pace. Taylor would battle hard with competitor Erin Vogel for second in class. In the end Hagler would prevail and make the pass for second, slowly opening up a gap over the Mercedes of Vogel. With a quick pit stop by the Racers Edge Motorsports pit crew, the #93 piloted by Jacob Abel would come out ahead of the Compass Racing Acura and lead of the Pro-Am class. Jacob successfully defended his lead from the Compass car and brought home his first GT3 victory with Racers Edge Motorsports getting its second win on the season.

Sebring International Raceway is the home track for Racers Edge on the SRO calendar. Only a 3-hour drive from DeLand, FL, the team was excited to share the passion for motorsports with their friends and family. In front of kids, brothers, sisters, and uncles, Racers Edge Motorsports would again put on a show. In race 1, after early contact on the first lap caused by another car, Dakota Dickerson would fall to the back of the field after only a few corners. Immediately, he began his climb back through the field. Dakota, using lessons learned throughout the season and from the professional coaches in the HPD Academy, such as Dane Cameron, Ryan Eversley, Mario Farnbacher, and Ricky Taylor, was able to begin his charge back through the pack. After laying down fast lap after fast lap, Dakota would hand off the car to Taylor Hagler in second place in Pro-Am, sixth overall. Hagler would make an expert pass on the first-place car of Fred Poordad that would put her up into fifth overall and first in class. Hagler would hold off Poordad after a caution brought the pack back together late in the race and would notch her and the team’s third win of the season.

​The final test of the season for the Racers Edge crew would be one of the world’s largest GT races in the world, the GT World Challenge Indy 8 Hour. This event brought not only SRO America competition, but also competitors from SRO globally as well as IMSA. With a field of 39 GT3 and GT4 cars, the stage was set for what would be a classic endurance race. The Racers Edge team again showed off their lessons in driver development and pace gained throughout the season by consistently running in the top three in class (Pro-Am) and eventually bringing home a second-place finish after 8 grueling hours of racing.

The 2021 season was one to remember. The beginning of the season started with an experiment - how would HPD Driver Academy students do in real competition - and was punctuated at its end by podiums, victories, and proof of concept. The program designed by HPD and Racers Edge to cultivate the next generation of racing talent did just that!

The Team at Racers Edge Motorsports would like to thank the fans as well as our partners at HPD and our sponsors, Dayco Products and DFS Products. We could not do the things that we do without everyone's support. We look forward to 2022 and are excited to bring you more wins, podiums, and memories!