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…