MID-SEASON UPDATE 2021
Updated: Jul 26
After a challenging 2020 season for the world of motorsports that culminated in a Championship for Racers Edge Motorsports, demonstrating the team’s perseverance, passion, and dedication to winning, the DeLand, Florida based team was ready to get the 2021 season under way. With hopes of returning fans and a taste of normalcy for a sport that heavily revolves around bringing people together, Racers Edge entered the season ready to field a three-driver car piloted by three graduates of the HPD GT3 Driver Academy: Jacob Abel, Taylor Hagler, and Dakota Dickerson.
The HPD GT3 Driver Academy, organized by the Racers Edge Motorsports team and Honda Performance Development, was designed to prepare mid-level professional drivers for the highest level of motorsports and endurance car racing, and it immediately showed success.
At the first Fanatec GT World Challenge America event at Sonoma Raceway drivers Taylor Hagler and Dakota Dickerson experienced a number of firsts in their #93 Acura NSX GT3 EVO. Both were experiencing their first official sessions behind the wheel of a GT3 car, their first full qualifying sessions, and for Hagler, her first time as a race finishing driver. After qualifying mid-pack for both races, the two had work to do behind the wheel.
In Race One the duo would start with Hagler behind the wheel in P11 (P7 in class) for her first race start in the NSX. After gaining 3 places in her first stint, Hagler handed the car off to Dakota Dickerson in P8. Dickerson then put his head down and made up yet another 3 positions, bringing the car home in P5 overall and P3 in the Pro-Am Class.
In Race Two, Dickerson would take the green in the fifth grid spot, eventually handing the car over to Taylor Hagler in P3 for the Pro-Am Class. Hagler would close the gap to second, bringing home the second podium for the weekend with Racers Edge Motorsports and the #93 Acura. Two fast pit stops on the weekend allowed the team to maintain their advantage on track.
The second event at Circuit of the Americas on April 30th-May 2nd brought quite a few struggles for the team and drivers. The first race being plagued by rain gave driver Jacob Abel and Hagler the opportunity to get more extensive practice in the wet in the NSX GT3 EVO. A mechanical failure on day two meant the duo would not get the chance to show their true pace in the #93.
Racers Edge Motorsports would go into the third event of 2021 at Virginia International Raceway with high hopes and knowledge of what kind of pace Hagler and Abel, the two drivers for VIR, had in their wheelhouse. Once called “…heaven on Earth…” by Paul Newman, VIR would be the backdrop of one of the hottest weekends of the year so far and would present new, rewarding challenges for the Academy Graduates.
Race One would begin with Hagler on the inside of row 5, ready to take on a talented field of drivers. With good pace in the first stint and after falling back to P7 in class, Hagler would work her way back up to P4 in the Pro-Am Class. An ill-timed caution would bring the entire field into the pits on the very first green lap following the caution. A hectic pit lane caused a longer-than-normal stop for most teams; however, the Racers Edge team was able to get the #93 car back out on track in P5 overall and P3 in class with Jacob Abel behind the wheel. Jacob fought well to defend his spot, holding off another pro driver, Colin Braun for about 12 minutes until eventually settling into P4 in class. A late race gremlin would force the driver to retire the car, ending what was an exciting race and a fast showing for the two drivers.
Race Two would reward the two for their efforts on track with a podium finish. Jacob Abel would start race two with the field of Pro Drivers ready to show what the #93 Acura NSX could do. Pitting from effectively P8 overall, Abel would hand over driving responsibilities to Hagler, who would come out P5 in class. Hagler would then chase down and pass DXDT Racing’s Erin Vogel as well as David Askew after his off in turn one. Hagler would then maintain her pace and bring the #93 Acura NSX GT3 EVO home for another podium for Racers Edge Motorsports and Honda Performance Development.
With a successful season under way, it was time to focus on the HPD GT3 Driver Academy for 2021. Having finalized the selected drivers for the academy, Racers Edge began preparing to showcase yet again one of their biggest strengths, driver development. With drivers Ashton Harrison, Nicky Hays, Kyffin Simpson, and Cat Lauren; the Racers Edge team dove into the first of four Academy events and began going through a carefully designed curriculum. The drivers learned how to drive our Acura NSX GT3 EVO then dove into expert driving coaching from Honda Pro Drivers Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor.
The students began to familiarize themselves with the systems of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, pit lane protocols, radio best practices, and more about endurance racing. The students then learned a little more about how to race with consistency and what physical training looks like for an endurance racing and sports car racing driver. Expert insights from IMSA Champions and seasoned veterans Ricky Taylor and Dane Cameron helped the students to better understand the ins and outs of sports car racing. This paired with data review after each session and driver coaching for each student made for a strong instructional start to the 2021 HPD GT3 Driver Academy.
Looking forward to another HPD GT3 Driver Academy at VIR and the SRO Race at Road America in August, the team hopes to capitalize on momentum built by repeated podiums and continue to push with the #93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo for even more success. Racers Edge has spent the first part of the 2021 season showcasing our strength in driver development, and we are excited to continue to push to bring up the next generation of motorsports professionals.