Erin Vogel first saw SRO competition competing in the Pirelli GT4 America championship in 2020 with Flying Lizard Motorsports with co-driver Michael Cooper. In 2021, Vogel jumped into the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS championship alongside Cooper at DXDT Racing with Mercedes-AMG and became the first female class winner in SRO history, taking victory at VIRgina International Raceway. We got a chance to catch up with Erin as she begins her 2022 GT3 challenge.
SRO: You’ve made the switch to Acura and RealTime this season, what’s your first impressions of the car and the team?
Erin: I'm enjoying the transition so far. The Acura is a very different kind of car from the Mercedes, but at the end of the day it's still every bit a GT3 platform. The driving style requires more patience and finesse, and I'm learning I have to be very quiet in my movements to get the most out of it. And RealTime has been great. They know the car and the brand so well, and their attention to detail is excellent. It's also very different being the only car in the garage, much of the hustle and bustle I'm accustomed to is absent, but it's also allowing me to get to know the crew really well and forge a strong relationship with everyone on the team.
SRO: What are you looking to improve upon this season?
Erin: All of the above! I'm always working to improve my driving, and I would really like to feel like I've stepped up to the next level of confidence and skill in my second season of GT3 racing. This goal absolutely requires getting into ever more detail with data and video review, and I'm very glad to have Michael Cooper along with me still to continue guiding me with all of his experience and skill.
SRO: What can fans expect from you this season to get to know Erin Vogel Racing? How can they interact with you and support your efforts?
Erin: Definitely the best access to my personal racing updates is at my instagram, @erin.vogel.racing, and I'm working this season to include more insight into my day-to-day life as well. I try to respond to all comments and messages on my posts, but if you don't follow me your messages might end up in my spam folder! I also have T-shirts and stickers available for purchase on my website, www.erinvogelracing.com, and I'm aiming to release some new designs this season. There is also an email contact form on my website, and I try to post to Twitter and Facebook occasionally too (same handle).
SRO: NOLA Motorsports Park is a new venue this year. How do you prepare for a new track when it's not available for any simulator work?
Erin: Honestly I don't spend a lot of time on the simulator anyway, though I have found it a useful tool for learning a new track and even more so for practicing. But for most of my driving career I've learned tracks by watching video and studying maps. I tend to get up to speed with a new course fairly quickly - it's squeezing the last little bit out of a track that I'm always working to get better at! I also tend to drive well at new racetracks where I'm dragging along fewer bad habits.
SRO: What round are you looking forward to the most this year and why?
Erin: I really enjoyed my first trip to Watkins Glen last year, so I think I'm most looking forward to returning there. I think the Acura will be strong there, and it's a track that suits my driving style. I also enjoy Road America for its proximity to Elkhart Lake, and this year with it being the RealTime home track and I expect that there will be extra festivities!
SRO: If you weren't behind the wheel, where do you think your skill set would best benefit the team?
Erin: Well, I enjoy writing and I'm occasionally even good at it, so perhaps I'd do alright in a media or PR role.
SRO: Are there any on-track rivalries from last year you anticipate firing back up again?
Erin: I'm not sure there were any specific rivalries that persisted throughout the season last year, but I always enjoyed racing with Taylor Hagler and will miss her presence this season. I think there is going to be a good mix of familiar faces and new competitors this year, and I'm looking forward to the continuing camaraderie that I experienced last year in the paddock. I'm definitely excited that we'll see a larger female presence this year with Ashton Harrison and Samantha Tan joining the ranks.
Catch Erin at an upcoming race weekend along with the RealTime Racing team!
Photos by: Halston Pitman