Racers Edge Motorsports, the 2019 and 2020 SRO GT3 champions, will once again campaign an Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series, this time with three of the inaugural HPD GT3 Driver Academy graduates sharing driving duties over the course of the seven-event season.
After accumulating multiple championships with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, Racers Edge Motorsports, who runs the Honda Performance Development (HPD) GT3 Driver Academy, has shifted its goals for this season to focus on the further professional development of the Academy students.
Taylor Hagler, Dakota Dickerson and Jacob Abel completed the four session HPD GT3 Driver Academy held during several months over 2020. Consequently, all three drivers have experience with the Racers Edge team and the Acura machine from the Academy program, but now all three will also experience GT3 racing for the first time.
The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS will continue with the same race format as last season, with two 90-minute races in each weekend’s event, with two drivers sharing designated time in the car. Hagler will compete in the entire season in the Acura machine, with Abel and Dickerson sharing the wheel at alternating events. Dickerson will partner with Hagler to kick off the season at Sonoma Raceway.
Team principal Jon Mirachi is excited about this natural extension of the Academy curriculum. “All our students did great with the program last year, so we’re excited to continue to coach these drivers throughout the coming season and further develop their skills while we race. We’ll set goals for each driver for every event and track their progress over the year.”
Taylor Hagler competed previously for LA Honda World Racing in a Honda Civic Type R. She qualified on the pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where she and co-driver Ryan Eversley, also an HPD Racing driver and Academy instructor, finished on the second step of the podium, one of their five top-five results of the season. Hagler also drove the X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si in the 2019 SRO TC America series.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Racers Edge Motorsports in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo to continue all of the work we started in the 2020 NSX GT3 Academy,” said Hagler. “The team and Academy drivers built a great relationship last season and I think we will be ready to go from the start at Sonoma. I had my start in professional racing in the SRO in 2019 and it will be great to be back in the paddock for a full season effort in GT World Challenge America. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be on our car this season and I am happy to represent this foundation with a great cause.”
Dakota Dickerson joins the GT3 ranks from as a Vice Champion in a competitive series, where he earned one win, a podium, and three top-five finishes over six races. Dickerson also has an impressive resume from his experience in open-wheel racing. He was the 2019 F3 Americas Champion, and earned the 2018 champion title in the US Formula 4 series. A Driver Development scholarship winner from Bryan Herta Autosport Dickerson was also chosen to be one of two drivers to represent the United States overseas via the Team USA Scholarship.
"I'm incredibly excited to get the opportunity to get back in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Racers Edge Motorsports and to be paired up with fellow Academy driver, Taylor Hagler,” Dickerson said. “The HPD GT3 Academy provided us with a tremendous amount of support and feedback, and it will be good to put this to action in GT World Challenge America,” he added. “I can't wait to hit the track at Sonoma!"
Jacob Abel brings his open wheel background to the GT3 paddock, having competed in both the Formula Regional Americas Championship and Indy Pro 2000 series with Abel Motorsports. Abel secured fifth in the 2020 Formula Regional Americas Drivers Championship with multiple top-five results throughout the season in a Ligier-Honda machine. In his fifth year as a professional racer, he will also contest his second full season in Indy Pro 2000 for 2021 in addition to GT World Challenge commitments. Abel will join Hagler at Circuit of The Americas in May.
Abel echoes his teammates’ enthusiasm. "I'm thrilled to be back with the Racers Edge and HPD family for 2021. I cannot say enough good things about Jon Mirachi and his team, so to finally be able to compete with them is going to be an honor. The knowledge that Dakota, Taylor, Karl, and myself gained during the GT3 Academy in 2020 is invaluable and I can't wait to put it on display in GT3 competition,” he continued. “This season will not only be a place to display the things we've learned but to continue the learning process as well. I can't thank everyone enough for the opportunity and I can't wait to get on track.”
Racers Edge Motorsports will continue working with Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD), who will provide technical and trackside support for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo. This NSX machine will also be used in the second year of the HPD Racing GT3 Driver Academy set to run throughout 2021, with a similar format to the inaugural program and four new student recruits.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge America season begins March 5-7 at Sonoma Raceway. While the series will begin with a closed-paddock to fans in accordance with the series’ COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all races will be live streamed, with more information at www.gt-world-challenge-america.com and www.youtube.com/GTWorld.