March 11th and 12th brought rounds 3 and 4 to Willow Springs International Raceway for the SCCA Western Conference Division US Majors Tour. While the GT1 car continues to be built the GRR Racing team campaign their GRR Racing Edelbrock E-Force powered FRS to gain points for the National Run Offs and line up against 5 other competitors in the GT1 class.
With no practice sessions in these rounds both Saturday and Sunday consisted of just one qualifier and one race each day. On Saturday, Michele settled into the seat of her FRS turning a time of a 1:34.6 placing her 6th in the class. Abbate had a clean race and did the best she could with the car, which did not feel as strong as it did during their test day.
Crew Chief Anthony Philleo shares, “I noticed one of our oil valve control connectors was damaged from pressure being held on it from our brake ducts, causing the ECU to omit any advanced timing to the cams”. Abbate felt the car was a bit underpowered, but it wasn’t until Monday morning when they were able to find a temporary fix. Abbate worked with employees of Willow Springs International Raceway to find a replacement part that she could borrow, just in time for the race.
Feeling grateful with luck on their side, the GRR Racing team looked forward to hitting the track for the race after forfeiting the 2nd chance qualifying session. With the car running strong on all cylinders Abbate found herself on grid starting 17th out of about 30 cars. When they took the green, Abbate worked to drive as consistent laps as possible, in order to work her way to the front. By the end of the race Abbate finished 10th overall and 4th in class; an impressive finish for a STU car running in GT1, the fastest closed wheel car group within the Majors Tour.
“I am so thankful for all the support we’ve continued to receive as we pursue our new program. Special thanks to Federal Tire for the fantastic FZ-201 tires, I always love racing on these. Also, I’d like to extend another thank you to Bill and Zack at Delicious Tuning for their remote help. We are excited for the plans for our FRS.”, Abbate exclaims. The next race will find the team down under for the Bathurst 6 Hour at Mount Panaroma, and after they will be at Buttonwillow raceway on April 28-30th for the SCCA US Majors Tour! As always, thank you for your support!