What is it like to go racing? Tiring, expensive—addicting. It takes a special breed of human to want to subject themselves to the crucible of motorsport, but those who compete in endurance racing are something else. Short of actually racing, The Drive Within Presented by Hagerty is the closest you can get to experiencing what it’s like to compete in sports car racing’s most grueling genre.
Following Round 3 Racing (R3R) and their efforts in the World Racing League (WRL) 2021 season, The Drive Within Presented by Hagerty—premiering only on MotorTrend TV, November 12, 2021, at 6 p.m. PST/5 p.m. CST— provides a deeper look into what it takes to survive a full season of sports car endurance racing in a semi-professional series.
We were able to talk to Brad McCall, co-owner of R3R and co-driver of the GTO No. 702 Porsche Cayman, and Mo Dadkhah, co-driver of the GP1 No. 701 Porsche Cayman, as they were preparing for the first ever 24-hour race at Sebring International Raceway and asked them what it’s like to be a semi-professional racer as well as what it takes to survive a season of racing.
What Is Round 3 Racing?
Brad McCall grew up following his father, Buz, around to racetracks all over the country. Buz McCall—along with owning and operating an international railroad equipment distribution company with Brad—has been a professional race car driver and team owner for decades. Buz campaigned successful teams in the NASCAR Busch and Cup Series, raced in the Pirelli World Challenge, even won four consecutive SCCA Trans Am championships as team owner of Chevrolet’s factory racing efforts.
It was natural for Brad (who has won SCCA amateur championships of his own) to follow in his father’s footsteps, but Dad McCall didn’t join R3R until 2016, while R3R was still running in sprint races with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA). It took three years of short-format racing together before the team realized endurance racing was where they’re happiest and in 2019 they competed in their first season with WRL.
“We all sacrifice to do this, whether it’s sacrificing time at home, time in our main business, our work, we don’t make any money doing this, we sacrifice our time but we do it because we all love it.” —Brad McCall
As mentioned, the McCalls have day jobs. So does everyone else at R3R. Buz and Brad own and operate American Equipment Company together, selling American-made railroad and locomotive maintenance equipment, tools, and spare parts to international markets. Mo Dadkhah runs a law firm, Dadkhah Law group, and a real estate brokerage, Main Street Real Estate Group, in Chicago. Sarah Montgomery (co-driver in car No. 702) is an instructor at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta as well as a real estate agent. Not a single team member of R3R solely works for R3R.
Hagerty helps to cover some of R3R’s racing costs by sponsoring the team, but it’s the sacrifice of time and money from every team member that have allowed them to run as successfully as they have. Unlike other teams in WRL, R3R is not constantly searching for new drivers at every race. The four cars they are campaigning in the 2021 season will have the same teams of 3 to 4 drivers the entire season.
In a semi-professional series (and even in professional series), drivers like Mo and Sarah don’t get paid to show up, they have to pay for their seat time. The fact that all of R3R’s drivers are dedicated to making it to every race speaks volumes to the team Brad has assembled. “I don’t think there is another team out there like this,” Brad tells us. “I was always a team sports player, I love being part of a team, where other players are relying on you and you’re relying on them. “
Round 3 Racing’s Fleet of Porsche Race Cars
R3R runs four cars in WRL, two Porsche Caymans and two Porsche Boxsters, one car in each class. As a requirement for his joining the R3R team, Buz McCall told Brad he had to bring over Buz’s Pirelli World Challenge crew chief, Marc Gomora. Marc isn’t just an average crew chief, he also happens to be a Porsche Goldmeister technician, the highest level of certification Porsche awards to technicians.
It was Marc who inspired the team to keep going with Porsches (Buz raced the No. 702 Cayman in Pirelli World Challenge). He’s not only an expert, he just happened to have a Boxster he was building for endurance racing that he sold to R3R, which was also the first car they raced in WRL. The commonality among the platforms and WRL’s modification rules allow R3R to keep costs low by sharing parts and spares across all four cars.
Other than car No. 702, the R3R Porsches are cars that anyone can buy. The 702 Cayman is a bit more special than that. Originally built for the Cayman Interseries by Napleton Westmont Porsche, R3R’s 702 Cayman was the first Porsche Cayman to ever win in a professional race (Long Beach Grand Prix, 2012).
What Is the WRL?
The World Racing League (WRL) is a semi-professional racing series aimed at offering a true, professional racing experience without the cost. The WRL’s rules balance performance in each class by focusing on power-to-weight ratio (PWR) and have created a highly competitive and diverse racing series at an accessible cost compared to other racing series.
The four classes—GTO, GP1, GP2, and GP3—are all based on production cars and separated by PWR ranges. The open rulebook makes modifying a car for competition in WRL very easy. Chassis, suspension, and aero parts affect a car’s PWR score, so racers can’t bolt on lightweight body work or adjustable suspension to gain an edge in slower classes. Safety equipment is the same as is required by most sanctioning bodies like SCCA, NASA, and FIA and racers are open to any modifications they want.
This accessibility and openness to modification makes the different classes in the WRL highly diversified with cars like BMW E36 M3s battling it out against 987 Porsche Caymans and Nissan 350Zs in the GP1 class and MX/5 Miatas mixing it up with Porsche Boxters and more in GP3. The premiere GTO class is equivalent to GT4 in other racing series with cars like V-8- or V-6-swapped Miatas and BMW E46 homologation cars. It’s because of this accessibility that R3R is able to successfully run all Porsches in every class in WRL.
The 22 race calendar visits all of the most iconic road courses America has to offer—Road America, COTA, Virginia International Raceway, Sebring International Raceway—and races run between 7 to 9 hours, with a 14-hour race at Daytona International Raceway, and (new for 2021) a 24-hour race at Sebring.
It was a 24-hour race at VIR that inspired Brad and Buz to go endurance racing full-time, but it’s the 24 Hours of Sebring that will put the team to the test. The Drive Within Presented by Hagerty opens with R3R heading into Road America, but you won’t find out how they fared at Sebring until the season finale of the six-part series. Watch The Drive Within Presented by Hagerty, premiering tonight at 6 p.m. PST/5 p.m. CST on MotorTrend!
—Photos by @lowshuttermedia
Meet the Entire Round 3 Racing Team
GTO Class No. 702 Porsche Cayman
- AJ Rieden, Car Chief
- Sarah Montgomery, Driver
- Brad McCal, Team Co-Owner/Driver
- Buz McCall Team Co-Owner/Driver
GP1 Class No. 701 Porsche Cayman
- Brian DeFrank, Car Chief
- Loni Unser, Driver
- Mike Gilbert, Driver
- Mo Dadkhah, Driver
- Brian Ghidinelli Driver (Sebring only)
GP2 No. 604 Porsche Boxster
- Anton Johnson, Car Chief
- Christian Maloof, Driver
- James Candelaria, Driver
- Hannah Grisham, Driver
- Shea Holbrook, Driver
GP3 No. 605 Porsche Boxster
- Martin Gallegos, Car Chief
- Cole Loftsgard, Driver
- Carter Pease, Driver
- Dennis Neel, Driver
- Jim Ptak, Driver
Mechanics and Crew
- Marc Gomora, Crew Chief, Chief Mechanic
- Steve “Mase” Mason – Engineer
- Aaron Sinard
- Matt Jaroszewski
- Dusty Paulson
- Kevin Tong
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