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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Sally McNulty makes promising IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut

"TCR has always been my top goal in motorsports career, so just being there was huge to me." - In her first ever TCR start as well as her first appearance in the IMSA Pilot Challenge, Sally McNulty enjoyed a clean and promising debut in the series, making great improvements throughout the weekend at Road America.

Sally McNulty, Deily Motorsport, in her TCR debut in IMSA Pilot Challenge at Road America
Photo credits: Jake Galstad / IMSA

Sally McNulty enjoyed an encouraging debut weekend in the TCR class of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Road America. Finishing 12th in her first appearance in the championship driving a Hyundai Elantra N for Deily Motorsports, McNulty made fantastic improvements during the weekend and enjoyed a smooth opening stint which saw her gain valuable experience behind the wheel of a new car. Sally will be aiming to build upon this result as she targets further outings in the championship to close out the 2023 season.

"I normally race in TC America in a Veloster TC car but we had such a long break in between races, it gave me some free time", McNulty told us, explaining the decision behind her TCR debut. "This was a very last minute decision to jump into the Deily Motorsports Elantra N TCR racecar. Deily Motorsports is a fantastic team full of hard working individuals who just want to go fast and have fun. So I was pumped when they asked me to join in for Road America. Big thanks to Borla Performance for making this a reality for me!"

Making her debut in the TCR division of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for Deily

Motorsports, track time was paramount for Sally at Road America. Two practice sessions gave drivers and teams a chance to hone in on a set-up ahead of qualifying, with McNulty and teammate Jacob Deily placing 14th in TCR in session one, before improving one place to 13th in class at the conclusion of the second session. The pair found two seconds of lap time improvements across the sessions, with Sally completing 19 laps in practice to gain vital experience.

"I’ve never driven the Elantra N TCR racecar or competed in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge until this weekend", Sally continued. "Lots of new things to learn like pit stops, driver changes etc. I was excited and nervous all at the same time."

Qualifying gave Sally a chance to gain further familiarity with the car and track as she was selected to take part in the session for Deily Motorsports. McNulty took full advantage of this opportunity and improved by almost two seconds from her practice benchmark to qualify the Hyundai Elantra N 14th in the TCR class.

Lining up 13th for her debut IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race following the withdrawal of a TCR competitor, Sally was keen to make a clean start and gain further knowledge. She did just that and with an early full course yellow period, McNulty was also able to experience her first restart in the series. Moving up to 12th, she began improving her lap times and learning the characteristics of the car in a race situation.

Sally ran behind the GS class Mercedes of Ted Giovanis for the majority of her stint and was able to gain additional experience as a result. Running her quickest lap of the race on lap 13, this effort was only four tenths slower than her qualifying benchmark and demonstrated her potential on older tyres. Despite dropping one place to 13th to the recovering Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai of reigning-champion Michael Lewis towards the end of her stint, it was a great introduction into the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for Sally who enjoyed a trouble-free stint as she handed over to teammate Jacob Deily on lap 20.

Deily re-joined 12th and although he experienced some tyre difficulties during the opening portion of his stint, a further pit stop on lap 30 led to pace improvements for the young driver. Jacob continued Sally’s good work from the first stint and was able to hold position in the closing stages to finish in 12th, rounding off a solid learning weekend for the Deily Motorsports team at Road America.

"I enjoyed practice, qualifying, and the race!" - McNulty commented after the positive debut. "I had a clean stint missing all the yellows and carnage that happened during the race and handed the TCR off to my co-driver Jacob Deily. We had a small tire issue during his stint no fault due to him that set us back. But it’s ok and I’m pumped we finished my first TCR race."

Despite her relative inexperience compared to her rivals in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Sally acquitted herself well in her debut appearance in the championship. Making good improvements throughout the weekend while experiencing a trouble-free stint, McNulty should be proud of her first race in the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

"TCR has always been my top goal in Motorsports career", stated the first-generation racer. "So just being there was huge to me. Especially since I do not have any family support to get to the level of Motorsport. All by partnerships, sacrifices, and hard work."

"I’m looking forward to more seat time in the TCR car and finding more speed. Definitely a learning curve but I’m up for the challenge and our next race at VIR in a few weeks."

Sally will be looking to build upon this performance as she targets future outings in highest level of American touring car racing.

Sally McNulty, Deily Motorsport, in her TCR debut in IMSA Pilot Challenge at Road America
Photo credits: Jake Galstad / IMSA



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