Driver Profile: Michele Abbate


Question Time!

First off let's tell our readers which series you drive in?

Currently competing in the NASA Time Trials class of TT-E and sitting 2nd in points for the season.  We have one more race for the year and that will determine if we will place with a silver or bronze for the 2011 season.

Michele Abbate Lgends car
Michele driving a legends car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 How did you get your start into cars and racing? 

I have spent all of my life around many types of motorsports, but at first I was strictly a spectator. My brother, Michael Abbate, was a very successful driver in many go-kart organizations and his achievements opened my eyes to the world of racing. It has always been my dream and passion to drive but it was not my reality until I stopped watching him and took action, myself, to get on the track.

After some experience of karting at a hobby level, I began competing in autocross at a regional level with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 2004 at the age of sixteen with my daily driven car. My first national event with the SCCA was in 2007 with a podium finish behind two national champions. In April of 2009 I expanded my racing career with road course racing and time attack events through several organizations including 600 Racing/INEX, Redline Time Attack, NASA, UMS Tuning Time Attack, and others. After about a year and a half of driving in NASA's High Performance Driving Education I earned my NASA Time Trial License in 2011 still using my daily driven car.

This year I am driving the 2011 Crawford Performance Scion Racing tC  and working towards earning my NASA Pro-Competition race license.

Crawford Performance Scion tC
Michele Abbate and Christian Rado Competing in Time Trial Sessions at Buttonwillow Raceway in California.

 What is your racing series of choice to drive in?

I think that NASA offers a great program especially for those who are looking to move up the later.  Ultimately, I would like to make progress to the wheel to wheel divisions such as the Continental Tire Challenge and/or Grand Am.

Who are your current sponsors? 

Crawford Performance, Scion Racing, TRD, NGK,  K&N, Motul, Advan wheels, & Tein for the Scion Racing tC.

Who was your first sponsor and how did they help you? 

My very first sponsor was my dad, with his business.  He would sponsor my autocross entry fees as long as I promised to keep my racing on the track.  As for corporately, Import Image Racing ( was my first financial sponsor outside of my family.  They provided me with financial assistance with autocross, track days, and time attack events; as well as provided me with great support and discounts.

Indooe go karting
 Abbate has also competed in several indoor and outdoor karting events!

What advice would you give to someone or a team wanting to get into Racing? 

There are many things outside of driving that an enthusiast must be aware of. Attending events and networking is very important, but you must also remember that if you are sponsored you are constantly representing your sponsors and your persona at the track or event reflects both your and their image. Along with this, even if you are not sponsored, potential sponsors could be looking at you. So it is important to be yourself and uphold a respectful attitude.

In addition to this, you can actually educate yourself with books about the industry and motorsports. I have read several books to give me more knowledge on and off the track. Any information about the different series of racing (NASA, SCCA, INEX, etc.) will help you decide where it is best for you to start.

What series would you like to progress to?

Here in the states I would like to earn my way into Grand-Am.  Outside of the states, it would be a dream to drive with the V8 Supercars in Australia.

Who do you look to for guidance with your driving; do you have any racing idols?   

My friends. They have always inspired me, in both life and racing. They are the ones who have taught me so many things through the years and have supported me throughout my racing career. To this day I am blessed to have such amazing people in my life. I have to say that without my Arizona family I would never be where I am today.

There is an important quote I would like to make in answering this question that comes from one of my favorite books, “Racing is full of professionals that wish to share and give back to the sport what the sport has given to them”.  What this means is, don’t ever hesitate to ask anyone a question. Some of the biggest names in racing have most of the answers and would be more than willing to share them with you.

Michele Abatte
Michele was only 17 in this photo taken at one of her local regional SCCA Autocross events!

Where and when was your first competition?  

My first national competition was at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California in 2007.

How did you do in that?  I placed third behind two national champions.

What was your first “race” car?

Haha.. Well I guess you could say its my current daily driver, a Mazdaspeed Protégé.  I have owned this car since I was 17, bought it with my own money and it had a blown motor.  I learned almost everything I know driving this car and competing with it. 

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