After making a winning start in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Ashley Freiberg heads into this week’s second round of the season at Sebring with the GS points lead, but despite her early success, has yet to confirm a full-season program.
The 22-year-old, in her first endurance race, teamed with Shelby Blackstock for what was initially a second place finish in January’s BMW Performance 200.
However, the Fall-Line Motorsports duo ended up taking the victory following the post-race exclusion of the Turner Motorsports BMW M3 due to a technical infringement.
While it ended up being a history making day, with Freiberg becoming the first female to win a race overall at Daytona International Speedway, the open-wheel turned sports car rising star is now focused on securing funding to make a championship run.
“Fall-Line and I would definitely like to continue our relationship but funding has kind of been a struggle right now,” Freiberg told Sportscar365. “It’s really the only thing that’s holding us back.
“I’m working hard and I have some people helping me find some money. Fall-Line is also trying to find money to stay with them. We all really want to continue the relationship so I hope we can put something together to make it work out.”
Freiberg made the shift to sports car racing last year, competing in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge with Effort Racing. Her program, however, was cut short when the two parted ways mid-season after an accident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Ironically, she was leading the points standings at the time and was fresh off victory at Watkins Glen, becoming the first female overall winner in series’ competition.
While having been through a roller-coaster 2013 season, she switched to CTSC and took a step into the unknown at Daytona, competing in her first race with a co-driver and first with a front-engine car. It resulted in a debut victory, which clearly showed her potential behind the wheel of GT machinery.
“I had always been following my open-wheel career and started to look at the big picture of things,” Freiberg said. “When I heard of the merging between GRAND-AM and ALMS, I just thought that was a really cool concept and this could turn into something awesome. That’s what made me make the jump over.
“As soon as I stepped into the sports car paddock, I had so much more opportunity than I had in open-wheel racing. People were excited that I was there and wanted to come over. It was just a natural thing for me.”
Freiberg has set her eyes on a future in sports car racing and remains confident that a full-season run in CTSC will be possible. Her co-driver Blackstock, however, is only scheduled to run eight of the 12 races this year due to his commitments in Pro Mazda.
“I definitely want to finish out the season strong in the Continental Tire Series,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to race in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, so I think being in the Continental Tire Series is a good platform.
“Being as part of race weekends with the TUDOR Championship is good to make sure your face is out there and people are watching you. I think it’s a good place to prove that I can perform and run up front.”