Liz Halliday to Drive 2004 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with TRG Sonoma, CA -- March 4, 2004 - American Liz Halliday, an accomplished sports car racer and equestrian Three Day Eventing competitor, has signed with TRG to drive the 2004 ...
Liz Halliday to Drive 2004 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with TRG
Sonoma, CA -- March 4, 2004 - American Liz Halliday, an accomplished sports car racer and equestrian Three Day Eventing competitor, has signed with TRG to drive the 2004 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Halliday, 25, made her American sports car racing debut last weekend at the Grand Prix of Miami, where she recorded her first podium finish, collecting a third-place finish in class with season-long co-driver Kevin Buckler.
Her motor racing career, inspired by her father's, opened in 1996 with the SCCA, the Vintage Auto Racing Association (VARA) and the Alfa Romeo Club, and she won three races outright in her first full season, 1998, driving a Datsun 510. Liz raced a BMW M3 E30 in the Kumho BMW Championship in 2001 and, continuing with the same car in 2002, she was named "Driver of the Day" at Donington and Croft, and again at Rockingham in 2003, driving the Tech 9 Motorsport Porsche GT3 at the British GT meeting.
In August, Liz became the first woman to win a round of the British GT Championship at the wheel of a Porsche GT3, teaming with Amanda Stretton. Their achievement was not in a standard one-hour event on a British track, but in the Spa 1,000km race in Belgium, the longest, toughest showcase event of the Championship.
With a long-term goal of racing in and winning both the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Liz will use the 2004 season as a springboard, learning American circuits and gaining experience in top-level international racing. She expects to learn a great deal from teammate Kevin Buckler, himself a winner both at Daytona and Le Mans.
She said, "TRG is one of the best and most professional teams I've ever worked with. I sensed that from the minute that I met everyone for the first time, and Homestead is proof of that. Over the course of the weekend, there wasn't one single problem with the car, and the crew had everything perfectly organized. I wasn't expecting this opportunity this year, so it's very exciting for me to put something of this magnitude and quality together. I'm looking forward to racing in America again, to learning new circuits, and to working with Kevin [Buckler, team owner]. It's an exciting opportunity for me to learn from someone as experienced and talented as Kevin, and watching him run the whole program is very encouraging."
Liz may well be one of the most interdisciplinary drivers in the world, with years of experience competing in Olympic qualifying level equestrian sport. In Three Day Eventing, a sport that is arguably even more dangerous than auto racing, competitors like Liz run a series of events, wherein one horse and rider have to complete three days and all three phases, making it a very strenuous activity for both horse and rider. Guiding a 1500 lb. animal through a course of hazardous jumps and turns takes a great deal of skill, balance and fitness, and Liz sees the two sports as oddly symmetrical.
She compared the two sports. "Both mentally and physically it's very similar. One has to have full fitness, good reaction speed and loads of accuracy. The bottom line is this -- one has to like to go fast and do scary stuff. I ride horses every day, and doing so works my legs, arms and shoulders, which are exactly the same muscles I need to drive competitively. Whether in a race car or on a horse, if you make a mistake you know about it very quickly."
Team owner Kevin Buckler, who will share the driver's seat for the 2004 season with Liz, praised his new teammate. "When I first met Liz, her parents and her manager," he said, "I was impressed by the passion and dedication they all shared for the sport. Liz is a very driven individual, and her tenacity will take her a long way in a successful driving career. We've tested together a few times now, and especially after our first race together, I'm ecstatic about what the season holds. Liz is a very quick study -- after one session at Homestead, a track that she'd never so much as seen before, she was lapping very competitively. I expect great things out of her this year, and I have every indication to believe that this will be a very successful partnership."
Liz and TRG race next in the Grand-Am Rolex Series Phoenix 250, on Saturday, April 10, 2004, at Phoenix International Raceway.
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