Completing her final qualifying run of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) season, Taylor Hagler will take the green flag from ninth on the TCR class grid for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Friday (12:00PM ET, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold).
The final two-hour race of the year marks the close of a rookie season that saw Hagler make significant strides through the season, sharing the driving duties in the No. 77 L.A. Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR with teammate Ryan Eversley.
Having never turned a lap at Sebring prior to her first practice run on Thursday, Hagler quickly got up to speed clicking off 43 practice laps in the opening sessions. Learning the 17-turn course helped Hagler get comfortable on the “bumpy” circuit as she improved her fast time by two-seconds in the second practice.
Hagler turned her personal best lap of 2:19.262-seconds on lap six of her qualifying run. Hagler will make her first race start at the 3.74-mile course from the fifth row in ninth.
“The L.A. Honda World Racing crew have prepared the car well and we’ve got a great car again this weekend,” said Hagler. “All of the changes that we needed to make, the team has been able to get them applied quickly. I am working to match Ryan’s (Eversley) pace, which feels great given this is my first time racing here. Sebring is a historic track and so far my favorite corners are turns 15 and 16. I still haven’t gotten fully comfortable on the fast, sweeping corners but they still are fun to race on with all the track surface changes. It’s just a great feeling to be here.”
Tasked with qualifying for the entire IMPC season, Hagler made nine total qualifying runs in her debut IMSA campaign.
Facing four new-to-her tracks, Hagler’s pace continued to progress with each lap as she secured seven top-ten qualifying positions including the Motul Pole Award for Race Two at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. She took her pace from Mid-Ohio and brought that to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta which saw her qualify eight – and with the top eight in the field split by less than 9-tenths of a second.
“This season has gone by so fast despite the circumstances of this year,” said the 25-year-old driver. “I can see how my driving has improved through each of my qualifying efforts. Being able to sit on the pole at Mid-Ohio was the confidence boost and reassurance that I needed to continue pushing myself and the car. Even when our results don’t look like much on paper, each session has been substantial for my growth as a driver. We always have our eyes on a win but if we drive a solid, clean race it will be a successful weekend at Sebring.”
Hagler will take the green flag for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Friday, November 13th at 12:00PM ET. Live coverage of the season finale race will be available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.