ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., (November 19, 2018) –
Following last month’s announcement of an all-female effort racing a Consulier GTP in the 2018 NASA USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the Shift Up Now sports car team has undergone changes sidelining the Consulier to expand to a two car effort in the endurance event, adding one professional and five amateur drivers to the Dec. 1-2 lineup.
Currently the longest running race in North America, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill puts driver and machine to the test, not only challenging the reliability of cars, but the physical strength and mental acuity of the competitors. Following two private tests with the Consulier GTP, Shift Up Now, with the help of Mosler Motorsports worked around the clock to bring the 1989 car to its former glory in preparation the grueling endurance event. While the team made improvements on the car’s speed and reliability, overall management determined the car would be unable to keep up with the demands of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill next month.
Previously announced drivers Ashley Freiberg, Shea Holbrook, and Pippa Mann will now race a 2016 Mazda MX-5, owned by professional racer Sarah Montgomery and maintained by Sick Sideways. Montgomery and Amy Dilks will complete the driver lineup, with the possibility of some of the ladies stepping in the other team car for additional stints. Montgomery brings ample experience in the MX-5, first racing in a spec Miata in 2011. In 2014, she joined the Skip Barber MX-5 Pro Cup Challenge, earning seven top five finishes in ten races. The following year, she competed in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5Cup Series, finishing 10th in points in her rookie season. Amy Dilks began her motorsports journey in 2010 after completing her first high performance driving school. Three years later, she earned her National Auto Sports Association (NASA) competition license, competing in various organizations in the years to follow. In 2014 and 2015, Dilks won the NASA Northeast TTB Championship, and in 2016 began endurance competition in the American Endurance Racing Series. Amy also serves as the Chief Driving Instructor for Shift Up Now where she is responsible for organizing all of the company’s driving and car related experiences.
Shift Up Now’s second entry will be a 1990 BMW E30 piloted by an all-amateur entry of Karen Salvaggio, Mandy McGee, Kristina Esposito, and Shift Up Now founder Lynn Kehoe.
A professionally trained mechanic as well as current president of Thunder Valley Racing, Dr. Karen Salvaggio’s racing career began at NASCAR dirt track events in 1985 in California. Awards include 2016 Northwest Vintage Racing Champion, four-time NCCC Champion, four-time West Coast/So Cal Champion, Top Eliminator at the Pomona Drags 1999, and an eight time competitor in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. She also served nine years in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, working on B-52’s and KC-135 aircraft.
Mandy McGee’s love of motorsports began in 2010 following her first NASA driving experience. Three years later, McGee received her high performance driving education instructor certification from BMW Car Club of America. That year, she participated in her first endurance race, and continued to pursue her NASA Competition License. She has since competed in NASA, the World Race League, Champ Car and Lucky Dog League.
The youngest of the Shift Up Now ladies, 16 year old Kristina Esposito took her first racing school two years ago, and obtained her SCCA competition at age 15. While still in junior high, the young racer competed in four regional race events this year, never finishing outside the top five. In October, she competed in her first endurance event, finishing in first place at the six hour long Devil in the Dark Endurance Race.
After three years of high performance driving education programs, Shift Up Now founder Lynn Kehoe started racing in 2015, receiving her licenses through the Sports Car Club of America and the National Auto Sports Association. She created Shift Up Now as a means to use various roles in motorsports to aid young women in developing courage and confidence to pursue unique career paths. Kehoe is responsible for assembling the two car team of nine women who will be competing in the endurance event December 1-2.
A long list of partners and sponsors have joined the Shift Up Now program to make the 25 Hours of Thunderhill possible, the two most recent being Toyo Tires and Precision Plumbing Products (PPP). A primary partner to the NASA USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill, Toyo Tires will supply the Shift Up Now entries with the Toyo® Proxes® RR DOT competition tires. Shift Up Now’s newest sponsor, Precision Plumbing Products hails from Portland, Oregon, providing plumbing specialty products to control the manufacturing and assembly processes for over three and a half decades. Other sponsors supporting the effort include: Ask Patty, Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning, BlackFly Outfitters, Discovery Parts, Mosler Motorsports, Ree’s Racing and Repair, St. Clair Foods, Bellisio Foods, Inc., and Stoneleigh Burnham School.
Full tune in details for the USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill will be released later this month. For event information, visit nasa25hour.com.
No. 7 Sick Sideways Powered by Shift Up Now Mazda MX-5
The Shift Up Now message is everything I have always believed in, and that makes this even more exciting to be a part of this expanding program. Lynn is very passionate about getting women behind the wheel, and it is exciting to be able to work with two cars full of teammates for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
This effort and team is unique in many ways but what stands out the most to me is the purpose behind the program and the opportunity to help drive the outcome. To everyone a part of this and all our supporters, thank you!
I’m thrilled to be part of an effort that is placing so many female racers in seats at this year’s 25 hours of Thunderhill. I love that Shift Up Now has expanded to two cars, and I’m elated that Sarah Montgomery has joined us; both as one of our driving team-mates, and as one of our female car owners for this program. I am so excited to be sharing a car with Sarah, Shea, Ashley and Amy, and I can’t wait for race weekend to get here.
To be a part of this all female driver line up is honestly a dream come true. I can't believe I have this incredible opportunity to work with these formidable women drivers on team Sick Sideways. Racing in the Global Mazda MX5 Cup Series for many years has taught me how important it is to introduce the sport to many young women. It has been a pleasure working with Shift Up Now to put this program together in my own racecar and I honestly can't wait for the race weekend!
When I started racing, I remember being the only girl in the paddock who was racing. Over the years that has changed, and this team is proof of that positive movement. I am beyond excited to be a part of this team of highly skilled women who are ready for the challenge the 25 Hours of Thunderhill presents!
No. 05 Shift Up Now BMW E30
I am truly honored to be joining the Shift Up Now race team for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill this year. While I love sprint racing, I believe endurance racing is the ultimate test of a team's preparation, commitment, and a test of its sheer will to win. Lynn Kehoe's passion for motorsports and for making a difference in the world is simply contagious. Her mission of inspiring more women into motorsport through her efforts with Shift Up Now is genuinely resonating throughout the racing world. The incredible team of professional women drivers, accomplished amateur racers, and the truly talented support crew assembled for this effort are a testimony to just how ready the motorsports world is for this type of effort. My life-long passion, and the goal of my efforts through Thunder Valley Racing, has always been to create additional opportunities for women to enter the world of motorsports. Shift Up Now, our professional women drivers, and the good folks supporting the mission are truly breaking new ground.
I am beyond thrilled to be racing alongside the other women on the Shift Up Now team for the upcoming 25 Hours of Thunderhill! Being able to collaborate with such an amazing group of smart, driven, positive women that all have the shared love for racing and passion for encouraging other women in and out of motorsports is a dream come true! I look forward to the grueling competition and showing the world of motorsport what we’re made of.
I am extremely honored to be joining a team that helps encourage women to participate in a sport normally dominated by men. I am also very thankful for the surprisingly strong support received by my teammates. I’m proud to be attending the upcoming event at Thunderhill Raceway and I hope I can contribute positively to this team’s (and future female athletes’) success.
While I'm disappointed we could not get the Consulier ready to run the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the resulting solution enables us to field two teams, including adding another professional racer and a young up-and-comer to our already outstanding team of professionals and amateurs. Our current line up demonstrates the success of the Shift Up Now mission by bringing nine confident and courageous women to the race. I am overwhelmed by the support of sponsors, friends and team mates!
About Toyo Tires®
Established in 1966, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. represents the innovation, quality, performance, and excellent service that Toyo Tires has delivered worldwide for more than 70 years. The company offers a full line of premium tires for nearly every vehicle including light trucks, SUVs, crossovers, sports cars, luxury cars and hybrids as well as commercial trucks. Many of the tires are built in the United States at their state-of-the-art factory in Georgia. To find the right tire for your vehicle as well as an authorized dealer, visit www.toyotires.com. You can also join the Toyo Tires community on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Precision Plumbing Products
For more than fifty years (1964), Precision Plumbing Products (PPP) has been locally-owned and family operated in Portland, Oregon. Now in its 3rd generation of family ownership under the leadership of Alison Amundson. PPP makes unique products for the plumbing industry. Their motto is “Specify with confidence, install with pride.” The motto embodies the company’s long and consistent tradition of outstanding customer service, product quality, variety, and on-time delivery. PPP controls the manufacturing and assembly processes by making all their products in their Portland plant. PPP’s family of immaculately trained employees are the company’s number one source of pride. This shows in employee retention, the average tenure with the company is over twelve years and growing.
About Bellisio Foods, Inc.
Bellisio Foods, Inc. is one of America’s largest and fastest growing frozen food companies with a rich 28-year history of providing quality, innovative food tailored to consumer tastes and lifestyles. Based in Minneapolis, Bellisio Foods produces more than 400 products spanning a wide variety of frozen food categories, including single and multi-serve entrees, snacks, side dishes, and specialty sauces. Bellisio Foods markets these products under its Michelina’s and Eat! brands, as well as under licensed brands Boston Market, Chili’s, EatingWell, and Atkins. The company also co-manufactures private label, retail and food service products.