Bell Racing launches Women in Motorsports Mentor Program

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On Friday, Bell Racing USA announced the creation of the Bell Helmets Women in Motorsports Mentor Program designed to offer an opportunity to women interested in a career in the industry.

Through the program, women on and off the track can receive advice from a group of women with diverse experiences in motorsports.

“Mentorship is a critical element in helping people learn, maximize their talents and achieve success in any field, including the sport of racing,” said Kyle Kietzmann, president and chief operating officer of Bell Racing USA. “We are proud to help facilitate a mentorship program for women in motorsports and grateful to the athletes and industry experts who are so willing to share their knowledge and experience, offering advice and guidance to women as they follow their dreams and pursue a career in racing.

MORE: Pippa Mann: The W series is a sad day for motorsport 

The program will begin in January with the participating experts writing for the Bell Racing USA blog. Using that platform, they will offer advice, tips and lessons learned during their career. Women with questions about careers in motorsports or female racers looking for guidance can submit questions to mentor@bellracing.com.

“We have been considering a women’s mentorship program for a while, and with so much recent talk about an equal playing field for women in motorsports, now feels like the right time to launch,” said Chris Wheeler, director of motorsports at Bell Racing USA. “The successes of the impressive group we’ve brought together to mentor the next generation of women in racing are proof that you don’t have to be a man to succeed in this sport, whether on or off the track.”

Some of the women participating in the program are:

  • Kendra Jacobs, marketing director, Knoxville Raceway
  • Ashley Sanford, NHRA Top Fuel driver
  • Shea Holbrook, sports car driver
  • Sarah Fisher, Indy 500 veteran and business owner
  • McKenna Haase, winged sprint car driver
  • Katherine Legge – sports car and Formula E driver
  • Pippa Mann – Indy 500 veteran and sports car driver
  • Ana Beatriz – IndyCar veteran and Brazilian Stock Car driver

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”