THERMAL, Calif. – Coming off an SRO Pirelli GT4 SprintX West Am series title in 2019, the Rearden Racing team is solidly prepared for another championship quest in 2020. And the trek to another crown has already started for the Utah-based squad with the SRO Winter Series at The Thermal Club.
The relaxed atmosphere of the SRO Winter Series has given racing organizations a chance to test new vehicles and new driving talent at a beautiful desert facility east of Palm Springs, Calif., as the upcoming 2020 SRO America campaign is set to kickoff on March 6-8 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
The three-event SRO Winter Series started last month with a doubleheader race weekend (Dec. 13-15) on the 2.5-mile configuration.
Now, this weekend (Jan. 17-19), the SRO event will feature the 3.1-mile road circuit and Rearden Racing is set with three drivers seeking more hardware after a successful run last month.
Team owner Lara Tallman, a veteran driver who has concentrated on the business side of the racing team in recent years, returned to action last month and quickly showed she hadn’t missed a beat with a race victory in the TC America division in the popular No. 3 Nissan 370ZX which team driver Vesko Kosarov piloted to the 2018 TC America class title. The SRO Winter Series is a perfect place for Tallman to get back behind the wheel and show her talent. A second win was looking good for the female racer when a brake problem relegated her to third.
“The SRO Winter Series is an easier schedule for me to drive, as the regular tour has my hands full with all of the behind-the-scenes work as a team owner,” said Tallman. “With the Winter Series being more relaxed, I can manage it. It’s been a blast. That Nissan is so hooked up. It’s such a good car.”
While it’s been fun for Tallman to get behind the wheel again, she knows her team’s preparation for the 2020 series is the main focus right now.
“We have made some equipment changes for 2020 and we are very excited about it,” she said. “We’ll announce those new items in the near future. But we are shaking these cars down at Thermal in the Winter Series now and the Rearden Racing team is getting set for another championship run. We are very excited about the 2020 racing season.”
While Tallman will drive in TC this weekend, the Rearden contingent has also entered other drivers including 2019 GT4 SprintX West Am series champion Jeff Burton of Salt Lake City in the No. 19 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Dmitri Novikov of Los Angeles in the No. 29 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Pirelli GT4 America category this weekend. In addition, Novikov will debut a new Audi R8 LMS GT2 sports car at this weekend’s SRO Winter Series event.
Burton drove his Aston Martin Vantage GT4 machine to victory last month at Thermal after a superb 2019 series run that included nine race wins and the series championship co-driving with Kosarov.
Novikov is a newcomer to the SRO competition and has shown promise in recent West Coast action in several classes at Thermal and other racetracks.
Action this weekend at The Thermal Club begins Friday (Jan. 17) at 9:05 a.m. PST with TC America practice followed by GT4 America practice scheduled for 10:55 a.m. PST. Forty-minute race events for round two of the SRO Winter Series are set for TC America Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday at 11:25 a.m. The two GT4 America contests are scheduled for Saturday at 2:50 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
The third and final rounds of the SRO Winter Series at The Thermal Club are Feb. 7-9 at the larger 4.0-mile road circuit.