Posted (04/06/2010) -
LEEDS, Ala.—When Automatic Racing and RSR Motorsports arrive at Barber Motorsports Park next week for round three of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, one driver in particular will be turning heads.
At just 24 years old, Sarah Cattaneo made her mark on the Street Tuner class during round two at Homestead by scoring the pole in the No. 197 RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S. Cattaneo, who co-drives with VJ Mirzayan, ran in second place during her stint. The car eventually retired with mechanical woes, but not before competitors and fans alike took notice of the rising star.
Needless to say, the success at Homestead has given Cattaneo’s confidence a boost as she prepares for the race at Barber. “Getting the pole at Homestead has made a huge difference in my confidence level for the year,” she says. “I'm not nearly as nervous about performing well and have already surpassed many of the goals I have set for the year. My thanks go to the hard work of RSR Motorsports and the help of my co-driver, VJ.”
Cattaneo fell in love with racing while she was attending Arizona State University. The Scottsdale, Arizona, resident participated in the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in 2006. From there, Cattaneo drove a Mini Cooper to back-to-back championships in NASA Arizona’s PTC class.
The Mini veteran is looking forward piloting the No. 197 RSR Mini around Barber, where she earned her best GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge finish last season.
“I am really excited for Barber, it was my best finish last year, and I have high expectations this year. With a strong performance at Homestead, VJ and I are ready to get that second podium for Mini and I think Barber is where it’s going to happen,” says Cattaneo.
RSR Motorsports team owner Randall Smalley will co-drive the No. 196 Mini Cooper S with Owen Trinkler and Dicky Riegel. Craig Conway and BJ Zacharias gave RSR their first podium by finishing third at Homestead last month. They will be aiming for another top finish this weekend in the No. 198 RSR Mini Cooper S.
Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell will be back in action in the No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool BMW M3. The Grand Sport car was a podium contender at Homestead, and the co-drivers are prepared for another strong performance at Barber thanks to a test at the Alabama track two weeks ago.
“Last year one of my low points of the season was at Barber, so it’s time to get those gremlins out,” says Hillestad. “We’ve improved since last year, we’ve got good fuel mileage, and we’ve got good data from the test, so now we just need things to play out in our favor.”
Waddell notes that traffic will play a role in the outcome of the race. “There are going to be a lot of cars on track, but the M3 is fast and nimble in traffic and good on the brakes,” he says. “Barber is a unique track because it has decreasing-radius corners. We don’t race at many tracks like that.”
Automatic Racing and RSR Motorsports will compete against the rest of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge teams on Saturday, April 10. The 2.5-hour race starts at 4:00 p.m. CT.
The No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool M3 also carries sponsorship from LandAir, Rogue Engineering, The Imported Car Store, Sparco, Motul USA, and Cobalt Racing Brakes.
RSR Motorsports is sponsored by Cruise America, Four Winds International, Onan RV and Mobile Generators, Performance Friction Rotors, OS Giken Racing Clutches and Limited Slip Differentials, Midway Ford Truck Sales, Mini North Scottsdale, Helix Minisports, Motul USA, and Cobalt Racing Pads.
Keep up with the teams online at www.AutomaticRacing.com and www.RSRMotorsports.com.