The gift of Skip Barber Racing School
The gift certificate to the Skip Barber Racing School her dad had given to her older sister, Crystal, sat unused for several years. In 2015, then-19-year-old Taylor Hagler just had to take it and use it. Almost overnight, after three days and dozens of laps at speed around Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in a school car, Hagler’s life direction changed, from the equine – she was by then an experienced show horse rider – to the high-tech mechanical sport of auto racing.
Taylor Hagler earned a second IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR-class title with co-driver Michael Lewis in 2022. Just six seasons later, the Texan has recently clinched a second consecutive IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR-class championship, co-driving with the experienced Michael Lewis in the topflight Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai team.
“My dad had always been super-interested in motorsports,” Hagler recalls. “When I was about five or six, he introduced me to NASCAR and I started watching NASCAR races with him. I wanted to do karting when I was little, but I kind of got away from that and went into showing horses instead. We just didn’t have the finances to do both, so I just put racing off.”
After almost four years of looking at her sister’s unused Barber School gift certificate, Taylor took possession.
“I decided just to give [racing school] a try,” she says, “and ended up really liking it…”
Hagler completed the Barber three-day school in 2015, went back for the two-day advanced course in 2016, then took a year off. From 2017, when she purchased a Mazda Miata, on forward, her career progression was meteoric – from sporadic track days to Spec Miata racing, an eye-catching IMSA debut in 2019, and factory-supported rides from 2020 through the present. Clearly, bigger, faster cars are on her career horizon.
Hagler’s career-launch story may seem unique, but truth is – excepting the part about “pilfering” from a sibling – it has parallels in the SBRS archives. An undocumented-but-significant number of grads over the past five decades got their own racing careers off to the best possible start using a Skip Barber Racing School Gift Certificate.
With a hefty 10 percent discount on those certificates available through Jan. 1, 2023, you know what you need to ask Santa for this holiday season…