There are many new faces in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge paddock this season, but there’s one, in particular, that fans should get to know.
At 25 years old, Patrick Gallagher is making his way up the sports car ranks, with his sights now set on IMSA. Given that he’s found success in nearly every other series he’s competed in, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him replicate that in the Continental Tire Challenge.
Gallagher’s participation in IMSA has come by way of the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup, in which he won the 2017 championship and resulting $200,000 scholarship from Mazda to continue his racing endeavors this year.
That opportunity has led him to the driver seat of the No. 8 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 with co-driver Chad McCumbee, who doubled last year as a Mazda MX-5 driver in the Continental Tire Challenge Street Tuner (ST) class and Gallagher’s championship-winning team owner in Global MX-5 Cup.
But despite McCumbee having an IMSA championship of his own – the 2015 Continental Tire Challenge ST class championship – both drivers are making the leap from a Mazda MX-5 to the Grand Sport (GS) class.
The Thornville, Ohio native is taking it all in stride though and enjoying every moment.
“Certainly, from the Battery Tender MX-5 Cup to the GT4 Mustang is a big jump,” said Gallagher. “I didn’t necessarily think when I started trying to find a way to get into IMSA that I would jump straight to GS, but it’s been a lot of fun and a big learning curve. We’re only one race in, and I’m excited to get down to Sebring in a couple weeks.”
Gallagher is hoping to add a few more wins and championships to his already decorated résumé – 2017 Global MX-5 Cup Challenge winner, 2013 Mazda MX-5 Rookie of the Year, 2012 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout Champion, 2010 SCCA National Champion. The list goes on, and even includes a degree in systems engineering from Ohio State University.
However, to add to his list of accolades, Gallagher will have to overcome a tough start to the season with McCumbee. At the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona in January, the duo finished second to last after a mechanical issue ended the team’s day early.
But that doesn’t mean Gallagher doesn’t have his sights set on the bigger picture.
“Obviously when the year started, I was looking to be competitive and challenge for a championship,” said Gallagher. “After Daytona, we’re kind of in a hole. From here on out, it’s just going to be trying to get solid results and prove that myself and Chad… just belong to be there and stay there for a couple years and kind of make it a home until I can figure out a way to navigate my way into (the) WeatherTech (SportsCar Championship) someday.”