28 AUGUST 2020 scca.comFEATURE
vestiges of the organization. BobHebert, an SCCA racer goingback to the days of the originalFormula B and now one of theDonovan Jaguar drivers, gifteda HANS. GT-Lite racer WilsonWright provided a transponder.
With off-season workcompleted, the action plan for
2019 took shape. Successfullycompleting NER’s springDriver’s School set the stagefor her race debut at LimeRock Park in June. But first,the Miata needed tires.
Again, The Gracie Projectbecame a community effort.
Alice Belden, whose latehusband Dave was a stalwart ofthe New England Region racingscene back to the 1960s, madea bequest that covered a majorportion of the cost, and thenPastor Tim and Zion Lutheranstepped up to meet the goal.
The Lime Rock raceintroduced Grace to the thrill ofwheel-to-wheel competition, andalso some of the consequencesas she got caught in an incident.
There was no noticeable damageand the officials deemed it aracing incident, clearing the wayfor her to continue her quest.
A demanding schedule built
around her responsibilities at
Donovan limited her summer
track time to some valuable
testing at Monticello Motor
Club thanks to an arrangement
between team principal Donovan
and Jason Rabe, another driver
on the Jaguar squad. Perennial
SCCA contender Ken Payson
then kicked in some additional
track time at Thompson.
The last chance for Graceto complete her licensingwas NER’s season closer atThompson in October 2019.
Anxious to maximize hertrack time, Grace enteredboth Spec Miata and STL.
The ambitious plan was not
without its challenges. The
Miata seemed to have an issue
getting its power to the ground,
which ultimately proved to
be due to a slipping clutch.
Nonetheless, Grace persevered
and made it cleanly – if
not quite as swiftly as she
hoped – through the weekend.
With that, The Gracie
Project was complete. For Dave
Hathaway, it was a tribute to
50 years of SCCA involvement,
harkening back to his first SCCA
(ABOVE) Grace’s journeyhas been an educationalexperience that involvedmany newly-learned skillsand numerous friends.
(RIGHT) Grace Hackenberg’sMiata racecar build involved divinginto any situation. (FAR RIGH T)
Through hard work, Grace’s Miataproject came together, albeitthrough several iterations.