"TrueCar Racing rally driver Verena Mei and her co-driver Leanne Junnila raced in the 2012 Olympus Rally in Olympia, WA on September 22-23, closing out a successful 2012 season that saw the pair win the first ever Rally America B-Spec National Championship and become the first all-female team in Rally America History to win any national championship."
Mei’s sponsor, TrueCar has added Virgin Group as an affiliate sponsor and the #335 TrueCar Fiesta will be adding the world renown Virgin logo on the race car as well the TrueCar Racing team uniforms and helmet at this weekends race. Richard Branson’s Virgin Group brand is recognized globally and represents the pinnacle of innovation, entertainment, lifestyle and adventure. “It is incredibly exciting to have my amazing sponsor TrueCar add an affiliate sponsor of the caliber of Virgin Group” said Mei “it says so much for TrueCar Women Empowered and frankly it’s a personally motivating and emotional experience to get behind the wheel and see the TrueCar and Virgin logos on my hood.”
Join tokidoki in its efforts to support Rally car racer Verena Mei as she embarks in Rally America 2012 and 2013! A Hawaii native, Verena’s style and passion embodies the fierce yet feminine essence of tokidoki.
TrueCar.com, through its "Women Empowered" initiative, has signed six high-potential drivers in six different racing series, making their first major debut at the upcoming Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend this Friday through Sunday
The recently unveiled “Women Empowered” initiative from TrueCar, Inc., which provides sponsorship to six female racers at various levels of North American motorsport, includes five drivers with strong ties to the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Katherine Legge, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear driver Ashley Freiberg, Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda racer Shannon McIntosh, Pirelli World Challenge Championships driver Shea Holbrook and Rally American Series driver Verena Mei are associated with the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation established by Lyn St. James to help women achieve their goals in motorsports.
“I want to congratulate TrueCar, Inc. for creating this remarkable motorsports campaign with its sponsorship of six women racers in six different professional racing series,” said St. James, the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “After watching so many women racers struggle to secure funding just to get in a race car, now these drivers know they have the support to run a full season with proper race teams, which is history making. Too often, women drivers are only able to secure short term deals, and generally aren’t funded well enough to have a competitive effort.”
Appropriately, the new program launched in March, which is “Women’s History Month.” McIntosh opened her 2012 season at Sebring International Raceway on March 13-17, while Legge, Holbrook and Freiberg opened their respective seasons last weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. All six of the “Women Empowered” drivers, which also includes SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup Series driver Emilee Tominovich, participated in a meet-and-greet and autograph session during the weekend at St. Pete.
Three of the drivers – Freiberg, McIntosh and Holbrook – are graduates of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation’s Complete Driver Academy, which is the most comprehensive educational and training program of its kind for talented women race drivers who aspire to the professional levels of motorsports. The Academy’s two-fold purpose is to identify potential champion women drivers who have demonstrated success on the track and have a desire to pursue a career in professional motorsports; and create an experience that will provide the tools to further women drivers’ careers in motorsports as well as enhance their lives on and off the track.
“It’s ironic how things turn full circle,” said Holbrook, who claimed her first World Challenge victory last year at Long Beach. “At the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, I was talking to a group of kids about how important it is for anybody in any profession to find confidence, knowledge about the industry, have an elevator speech, and business cards! All of those things I learned at Lyn’s Women in the Winners Circle development program. Lyn’s program helped give me the foundation I have today. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today nor would I have accomplished everything I have so far. Having passion and perseverance really does go a long way. I feel very fortunate to have Lyn as a mentor and friend.”
Freiberg, McIntosh, Holbrook, Mei and Legge have all been featured at the annual Women in the Winner’s Circle awards celebration, and Legge, Freiberg and McIntosh are featured in the organization’s traveling exhibit. St. James and Legge, who is driving the TrueCar Lotus/Dallara for Dragon Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, have a relationship that dates back to Legge’s earliest efforts to launch a racing career in North America.
“Lyn has been an inspiration and a role model for myself and many other young drivers both male and female,” Legge said. “She has opened many doors before us and continues to help and support the up and coming young talent in the racing arena. She was the first person I called when I came to the USA and is still the first I call when I need guidance. She is a rock star!”
McIntosh and Legge are back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, while Holbrook’s next event is a tripleheader at Miller Motorsports Park on April 27-29. Mei returns to action at the Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, Ore. on May 4-6, and Freiberg’s next event is the prestigious “Night Before the 500″ at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis on May 26.
“I look forward to watching them as the season progresses,” St. James concluded. “I know they’ve worked hard and are prepared for the challenges ahead. Without having this opportunity, they know they might be watching from the sidelines, or just struggling to get on the racetrack.”
On January 18th, Rally America announced that it was adding a B-Spec National Championship for 2012 to cater to enthusiasts seeking fun, low-cost competition vehicles. To date, B-Spec Championships have been added by the SCCA Club Racing, the World Challenge Series and by Grand-Am. On January 18th, Rally America announced that it was adding a B-Spec National Championship for 2012 to cater to enthusiasts seeking fun, low-cost competition vehicles. To date, B-Spec Championships have been added by the SCCA Club Racing, the World Challenge Series and by Grand-Am.
There have been two B-Spec entries at each of the first two Rally America National Championship events. James Robinson in a Honda Fit and Verena Mei in a Ford Fiesta. Verena won at Sno*Drift when James suffered a DNF, and James won at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood by just over 11 minutes. Verena is 1st in B Spec, 7th in the 2WD championship and 17th overall. James is 2nd in B Spec, 8th in 2WD and 20th overall.
“We are happy to be able to support racers with yet another Honda product that makes it easy to go racing,” said Kevin Henricks, Honda Performance Development manager of Business Development. “The HPD B-spec package is a competitive, economical, and reliable platform that can be easily switched from a road racing setup to a rally setup. B-Spec racing is a great way to have fun at the track and we are pleased to see it added to the Rally America series.”
James Robinson, Honda R&D Engineer added, “This car has a lightly-modified version of the Honda Fit B-Spec kit which is now available directly from Honda Performance Development for around $2,800. The only difference from the road racing kit are the lights, Terratrip and skid plate, which is coming in pretty handy at this fast event!” James concluded by saying, “We’re looking forward to having the other OEM’s get involved with the B-Spec Rally class – these cars are fast, fun and very efficient!”
“I’m quite encouraged that these two cars are blazing a trail for others to follow,” say J.B. Niday from Rally America, “I believe that B-Spec will become popular because it is backed by so many manufacturers.”
It was quite easy for Rally America to adopt B-Spec because the manufacturers’ rules were in alignment with the existing Production class, so a bulletin was posted listing the current B-Spec cars: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, 2012 Fiat 500, 2011-2012 Ford Fiesta, 2009-2012 Honda Fit, 2012 Kia Rio, 2011-2012 Mazda 2, 2007-2012 MINI Cooper, 2007-2012 Nissan Versa, and 2007-2012 Toyota Yaris.
Rally America officials and organizers expect to see more B-Spec entrants as this cost-effective way to get involved in racing catches on nationwide.
More information can be found at rally-america.com/rules.php (refer to Bulletin #6).
The 2012 Rally America National Championship is proudly supported by VP Racing Fuels – the Official Fuel of Rally America, Exedy Racing Clutches, Hawk Performance Brakes, ParkNBlend and RECARO seats.