January 12th, 2022
Shift Up Now is excited to announce the addition of two new Athletes for the 2022 season: Laura Hayes and Sally McNulty.
Hayes has been around motorsport her entire life and began racing at the age of eight. Like many young drivers, she began in Quarter Midgets, later transitioning to karts. In 2005, she became the first female to win an International Kart Federation shifter kart national championship in California.
Throughout the years, Hayes has won races and championships, and held track records, in a variety of cars ranging from USAC Ford Focus midgets and sprint cars, NASCAR late model stock cars, open wheel cars with the Sports Care Club of America and sports cars.
Presently, Hayes works as an instructor at the BMW Performance Center. In addition, she manages the racing operations at Thunder Bunny Racing (TBR), while also driving and coaching for the team.
After participating in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout last fall, Hayes was the recipient of the Women’s Initiative Scholarship and will make her rookie debut for 2022 in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, in addition to competing in the 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Lastly, Laura and her teammates at TBR will continue their efforts with World Racing League, striving for a championship in the GTO class with their M2CSR.
“This is without a doubt going to be the biggest challenge of my racing career,” said Hayes. “I’ve followed the MX-5 Series for years and like anyone who watches, I’ve always admired the intensity and talent of the field. The best drivers are here and I’m excited to be a part of the action and represent Mazda as one of their scholarship winners.”
As for being a new member of the Shift Up Now team, Hayes added, “I’m thrilled and honored to represent Shift Up Now this season as one of their athletes. I’ve witnessed the success and momentum this group has seen over the years, and the talented list of drivers who continue to join has really impressed me. I can’t wait to see what we can do together to promote, educate, and support female drivers in this sport.”
McNulty is a first-generation racer from Phoenix, Arizona and got her start at small, local tracks with what she humbly refers to as “no financial backing and a big dream.”
She worked her way up to professional Touring Car racing, currently competing across the United States in partnership with Honda Performance Development (Honda of America). McNulty races a factory-built, turnkey Civic SI in the SRO TC America Series (formerly Pirelli World Challenge).
In addition, McNulty is a project car builder, restoring projects in her home garage. Her current projects include a 2000 Honda EK Hatchback and a 2009 Honda Civic SI.
During the 2021 season, McNulty developed her skills with VGRT Racing and earned multiple top-five finishes. For 2022, she has her sights set on being the first female to win an overall championship in TC America.
“I’m making some big waves in the world of motorsport as a fast female,” said McNulty. “The road hasn’t been easy but if there’s a will, there’s definitely a way. I’m ready for touring car battle in 2022 and I have some epic goals in mind. If I can pull this off, it will be huge.”
Fans can follow both new Shift Up Now Athletes’ seasons at ShiftUpNow.com and our social media channels. In addition, follow @LauraHayes22 and @TeamSallyRacing on Instagram.