INTERVIEW: Michael Self on Silver Hare Racing’s focus on driver development – RACER

Michael Self joined Silver Hare Racing this season as its first general manager. Self brings years of knowledge and experience in multiple forms of motorsports, from Skip Barber to ARCA to NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, to SHR. With a new push to become a NASCAR road racing development team, Self has been the driving force to get up-and-coming NASCAR talents like Harrison Burton and Christopher Bell on the team’s roster. Find out what makes TA2 so important to road racer’s skills development, how Self got involved in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 program and what Self has to say about the TA2 class in this edition of Trans Am Corner.

How did you get introduced to Trans Am?

Michael Self: I first got introduced to TA2 back in 2015 through Justin Haley. I remember getting in his car for a few laps at Sebring and thinking, “Man, this is just like driving a NASCAR K&N car. I can’t believe more guys aren’t utilizing this.”

What are some of the package similarities from Trans Am and NASCAR cars?

Self: The two series have a very similar package in terms of the transmission, brakes, tires and components that I felt were really important to utilize properly when trying to be a good road racer. TA2 the closest thing to getting seat time in one of the race cars, and when we outfit it with data and video analyses capabilities to review information off-track, it’s the best coaching tool there is.

How are the skills you’re teaching in the TA2 translating to NASCAR?

Michael: I worked with Justin in both the K&N cars and TA2 cars throughout 2015 and 2016. There was no question that him driving the TA2 car was having a big impact on not only his road racing abilities, but his abilities across the board.

Since then, I’ve vouched for the TA2 cars with everyone I talk to that wants to improve their road racing for NASCAR competition purposes, and I believe the results have continued to speak for themselves.

We’ve seen guys like Justin, Christopher Bell, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Tyler Reddick, and Chase Briscoe all excel in the NASCAR road races, and they all have some TA2 experience. As far as I’m aware, there’s still nothing else out there that translates to a NASCAR Cup or Xfinity car, or ARCA like the TA2 car does.

How has Silver Hare Racing’s program evolved over the last season?

Self: We want to be viewed as a development team for the growth in NASCAR road racing, and I really feel like we have those tools and capabilities to give the guys that come through our program a big advantage.

How do you feel about accepting a management position with SHR?

Self: I’m excited to have the opportunity to work in a management position at Silver Hare. I’ve been fortunate to have success in managing the Sinclair Oil sponsorship in ARCA the last couple of years, and I’m eager to continue applying that experience in the business side of racing, and to learn from Maurice and Laura who have ultra-successful careers in business administration. Silver Hare is developing a TA2 team that will be competitive not only on the track, but off the track with drivers and business partners in a market that will hopefully continue to grow as road racing becomes more prominent in NASCAR and the United States.