Seibon Driver Michele Abbate Takes First Season Podium Finish at SCCA Majors Tour
January 16-18, 2015 marked the first race of the SCCA Majors Tour for the Western Conference and it was the first race of the year for Michele Abbate in her GRR Racing FR-S. Having been to Auto Club several times before, Michele was excited to take her FR-S out to compare lap times in addition to racing a new series with some new competition.
Based on car’s set-up, Michele targeted anything under the 2 minute mark would be a success. Although the SCCA Majors Tour requires a couple of different mods, Michele found herself classed in the STU category.
We had a decent start in the heat race, although there was traffic for the majority of the race – which made things very exciting. Abbate put a good gap on 4th place, looking like what would be a solid 3rd place finish. It was about 3/4 of the way into the race where issues began to arise in the banking of Auto Club Speedway.
The car would lose all power and throttle response once entered into the banking because of fuel starvation. Michele was forced to pull off track, and cycle the key a few times to allow the fuel pump to prime itself. This caused the loss of her podium finish, but with help from Bill at Delicious Tuning and a few friends with Toyota knowledge, it was decided the best thing to do would be to replace the fuel pump and run the car with as much fuel as possible for Sunday’s race. The team drove to Delicious Tuning in Escondido to pick up an aftermarket fuel pump which would be stronger than the OEM and swapped it in Saturday night.
Michele got a great start on Sunday and locked down 3rd place position again after navigating through traffic throughout the race, setting her fastest lap in the race with a 1:58.2. Teamwork really came together as she conserved fuel while her spotters let her know how much of a gap she had from her opponents.
A hard earned podium finish to start the 2015 season left the taste of champagne! “It was such a reward to overcome these obstacles throughout the weekend”, stated Michele. Crew Chief Anthony Philleo said, “This is a part of developing a new car and a new chassis. We are one of the only teams out there really pushing the NA platform and I’m so proud to be paving the way as we race to the top!”.
We want to thank all of our sponsors for supporting us as we enter the 2015 season. A special thanks to all those involved in our Dark Horse Pros Campaign.
Please help us make our goal at: www.darkhorsepros.com/campaigns/87 to keep us in the fight for the SCCA Majors Tour! There are some really great rewards for your contributions and we are over 60% to our goal! The campaign ends Feb 7, and we are really pushing it hard! Thank you to all those who have contributed!
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