Lara Tallman’s Rearden Racing operation is gearing up for an ambitious 2019 season with three cars set to enter the Pirelli GT4 America season opener at Circuit of The Americas in addition to a TC America entry.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Tallman looks ahead to the season to come, weighs in on being one of only a few female team owners in the sport, and more.
How excited are you about your 2019 programs?
“Really excited. I’m always excited to be running a Pirelli GT4 American and TC America program. I’m glad it all came together.
“Vesko Kozarov will be with Jeff Burton in the SprintX West and we’re really excited about that because it gives Jeff some good coaching and a great driver for him to work with. Then Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler are doing the whole year.
“I know Sarah from when we both were racing in another series. We started at a similar time and knew each other back then. I’m really excited that she is coming with us this year to do the full SprintX West season.
“Then we have another new driver that will be joining us for the Sprint events and that will be announced before St. Petersburg. For COTA we have Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum, and of course we have Paul Terry in Touring Car for the season.”
The combination of Sarah and Owen has been dynamic in the past. Do you feel like they are a plug and play package?
“Yes, for sure. It’s funny how we’ve followed some similar paths over the years. They’ve definitely done really well together.
“We tested with Owen this week and we’re really looking forward to it. We think highly of him as a driver and Sarah as well.”
Is there any additional pride for you as a female team owner to have Aurora and Sarah driving for you?
“I would say that it’s a hugely unique position [to be a female team owner]. Of course I take pride in supporting women drivers in any way we can: young women coming up and women who are here and are established.
“2019 is a year where we’ll really see change. There have always been women in the paddock, but only a few. Maybe less than one percent.
“I always think numbers are going to grow, and then they don’t. It seems like there’s constant attrition and it’s a tough business for women. To hopefully see some changes in 2019 is exciting.”
In your time in the sport, do you feel that there has been a change in perception of female drivers in motorsports generally and specifically in SRO America?
“I think so, although I wouldn’t say the numbers are actually greater. But maybe we’ve been sticking with it long enough that it’s starting to become more normal.
“SRO America, in the time we’ve come back which would be about 2015, they’ve been really supportive of women and I’m really appreciative of that.
“They’ve done what they can to make it transition better for us. Maybe it’s getting there, but maybe it’s also too soon to say.”
What goals do you have as a team at Rearden Racing?
“We really want to win races and win championships. It’s something that I feel like we’ve done consistently. We work really hard to show up with cars and a team capable of doing that.
“That’s not an easy task, but it’s something that we work exceptionally hard at. I hope that we can continue that and grow that and work consistently toward more championships and higher levels.”