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Customer SpotlightMichele Abbate of GRRRacing Talks Cars, Trans-Am TA2 Series,
and Race Ramps

Posted On: 10/8/2020

Professional driver Michele Abbate of GRRRaacing grew up watching her brother race, so it’s no surprise that was first thing she did when she got her license was to head straight to the autocross track. Putting in her time, she worked up through SCCA track days and time attack until signing with Scion in 2013 for wheel-to-wheel racing. She’s never looked back.

Since then, she’s been road racing with the SCCA and has four club racing championships under her belt, one National Runoffs podium finish in the GT-1 class, and is currently the only female racing globally in the Trans Am TA2 class.

When it comes to loading and unloading her racecar, we’re excited that Race Ramps’ two-piece trailer ramp easily accommodates the low front end so that her team can quickly set up and go.

Michele’s Scion FRS
Michele’s Scion FRS

From Mazdaspeed Protégé to Signing with Scion Racing

At the age of 16, Michele’s first foray into autocross was with a rare MazdaSpeed Protégé – only 5,000 of them were ever made. From there, it wasn’t long before she made the jump to a dedicated race car, a Legends 5/8-scale fiberglass full-fendered NASCAR-inspired vehicle that boiled down to a 1,200cc motorcycle engine on a powered tube chassis, aptly nicknamed “Monster”. That powerful car was crucial to the development of Michele’s driving skill, which eventually led her to sign with Scion Racing and really flex her mettle.

Under Scion Racing, Michele campaigned a 2011 Scion tC and scored her first championship, as well as Scion’s first road racing championship. She quickly followed it up with another championship in the RWD Scion FRS chassis she lovingly referred to as Brat, and in 2015 she expanded her driving to circle track with the NASCAR All-American Whelen series where she had the opportunity to drive V8 tube chassis cars, which sparked a passion that she holds to this day.

Michele on the podium taking third at the National Runoffs
Michele on the podium taking third at the National Runoffs

Finding Her Passion for TA2 Racing with the Trans-Am Series

In 2018, Michele had the opportunity to race to a GT-1 class victory circle in the SCCA and also made her debut in the National Runoffs where she finished 3rd. Officially hooked on tube chassis cars, she sold everything she had for her Scion program and purchased Betty, her current Trans Am TA2 Camaro.

In 2019, she debuted in the Trans Am series and finished 5th overall for the West Coast series, then went back in 2020 and earned the highest series finish for a female by taking 4th at the season opener.

michele

There's nothing better than a fire-breathing V8 roaring for a win in a 100-mile road race.

Michelle Abbate, GRRRacing

With the Trans Am TA2 series, she’s definitely found her racing niche. “I love racing in the Trans Am TA2 series because I feel it is the most raw form of road racing that you can find. The cars are spec vehicles and it all comes down to driver talent and car set up. There's nothing better than fire breathing V8 roaring for a win in a 100 mile road race.”

Loading up the GRRRacing Camaro with RR-TR-10-2 trailer ramps
Loading up the GRRRacing Camaro with RR-TR-10-2 trailer ramps

How Race Ramps Save Time

Because of her TA2’s low profile, Michele’s team uses the RR-TR-10-2 trailer ramps every time they need to transport her racecar. Since the angle of the ramp starts out at just 3.8 degrees, the suspension doesn’t have to be adjusted to load the car, which makes them a huge time saver and a much safer option than the unwieldy 2x4’s that the team was using before.

Michelle in action
Michelle in action

Michele’s Advice for Women in Motorsports

Historically, female racers have always been a minority. Associations such as the NHRA are starting to engage more female drivers (as well as a growing number of female fans over the last decade), however many women are still overly cautious about getting involved in the male-dominated racing world. Michelle’s biggest message to other women? Don’t be afraid!

“Ask questions, go to events, reach out to people,” she says. “Motorsports can teach you so much and there are more and more women finally exploring it. The community surrounding car culture is a phenomenal one and there are so many people that want to not only see women succeed but to also have the sport grow! It can be hard and challenging but the reward is worth it and it is a great family sport. Racing has taught me so much in life and I think it's important to always remember to have fun!”

Michele’s adorable Dalmatian Moxie – look at those gorgeous eyes!
Michele’s adorable Dalmatian Moxie – look at those gorgeous eyes!

Staying Busy Off the Track

At the start of 2020, Michele teamed up with Insane Power in Henderson, NV, to turn a stock 2011 2SS LS3 Chevy Camaro into the ultimate street car. Dubbed Project GrrMaro she continues to publish a weekly vlog that takes viewers through the upgrades, challenges, and elbow grease.

Looking to the Future

Michele’s next short term goal is to get on the podium for the TA2 class, and she is determined to become a Trans Am TA1 champion once she secures the funding needed to race in the Trans Am National Tour. With a clear passion for racing, and a strong drive to succeed, we will no doubt be hearing more about Michele Abbate for years to come!