Shea Holbrook is set to make a surprise Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America debut this weekend for Prestige Performance, paired with close friend Pippa Mann in what Holbrook says is a step towards achieving many of her long-held goals.
A longtime participant in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car ranks, Holbrook was listed in a DAC Motorsports on early versions of the Road America entry list before that opportunity dried up in the 11th hour.
Armed with a full travel itinerary to get to Wisconsin but without anything to do once she got to the track, Holbrook called up Mann, who had driven with the Wayne Taylor Racing-run Prestige squad earlier in the season.
“About a week and a half prior to the race weekend I came out [to Road America] to do some testing and what I thought would turn into a pretty solidified ride fell through,” Holbrook told Sportscar365.
“I have a dear friend of mine, and a dear friend of DAC, a friend that they have done business with who wants to go racing. We are looking to do some stuff potentially this year or next year, and that’s why I initially did the test with DAC.
“They were incredibly hospitable, really amazing to let me get into the car with them. I learned a lot over there, and unfortunately we weren’t able to put anything together for Road America with the other driver.”
With the DAC opportunity off the table, Holbrook called up Mann who arranged an introduction with team manager Travis Houge.
With just days to get the deal put together, Holbrook and the team ironed out a deal that would have her and Mann in an Am class entry this weekend.
“Travis, the team manager over here, and I had three days to work everything out,” said Holbrook. “Travis asked if I would still come if it was only a 50/50 chance, and I said yes.
“This is like a dream come true to even have the eyes of Wayne Taylor Racing and Prestige and their operation, and to pair with Pippa Mann who is my dear friend, we for years have talked about joining forces and it just came together three days before the event.
“Saturday evening of last week was when the talks started to happen, but nothing really came together until Tuesday morning, and the deal did not actually happen until about 1pm on Thursday.”
After years of racing in PWC in addition to building her Shea Racing organization into a race-winning team in the series, Holbrook said this weekend provides a chance to focus solely on herself and her future behind the wheel.
“I’m doing things now that are best for my career,” she said. “Shea Racing as a team is at a point where it can succeed if I’m there or if I’m not there. I really have a lot of faith in my guys.
“Now that we’ve exceeded almost every expectation that I ever thought we really would have, and now we have even higher goals set, it’s time for me as a driver to do what I need to, and this opportunity is starting to blossom.
“I want to be in this paddock, I want to be in Super Trofeo, I certainly wanted to be affiliated in the IMSA paddock, based on the things that I’ve been working on I hope in some way shape or form that the rest of this season and into the full season next year.
“I would like to dabble more in some endurance racing. I’d like to do have some co-drivers where we’re sharing the car.
“I don’t have a long rap sheet of those types of races and I think that I need to add that to my platform as a driver.”
While Holbrook categorically ruled out expanding Shea Racing into the Super Trofeo ranks, she said the TCR platform could provide the opportunity to cross over into IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition in addition to the existing program in PWC which remains a major focus.
Though she remains optimistic about what the future has in store for her team, Holbrook’s sole focus this weekend is putting together a solid performance in her only guaranteed Super Trofeo appearance of the season.
“For this weekend right now I’m with Prestige Performance, and that could take us further,” she said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get through the weekend and do an exceptional job.
“The Lamborghini Huracan is a lot of car and it’s very different from what I’ve driven before. Getting through this weekend is going to be our goal and then we’ll see what the future is.”