Lexington, OHIO. (4 May 2019) – Cold and changing conditions made for a tricky qualifying session for the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday. When the checkered flag flew, the team had placed their No. 97 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 into a solid 15th-place starting position for the two-hour Mid-Ohio 120, part of the 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge series.
Between Thursday’s promoter’s test day and two practice sessions on Friday, drivers Rob Ecklin, Jr. (Lancaster, Penn.) and Brandon Kidd (Syracuse, N.Y.) saw conditions that ran the entire weather spectrum, from warm and sunny to cold and raining.
Saturday’s 15-minute practice session began in relatively dry but cold conditions (with 44F track temperatures) but had progressed to cold and wet for qualifying, which placed increased importance on making the right call on setup and tires.
Automatic Racing made the last-minute decision to change to wet Michelin tires for what would be the Aston Martin Vantage GT4’s first session in wet conditions – a call that was spot-on, as several cars slid off-course during the 15-minute qualifying session.
Ecklin found the balance between speed and caution to place the car in 15th position in the Grand Sport class field.
“We got enough laps in practice to know that the car was nicely balanced,” said Ecklin. “But then it started raining, so we changed to rain tires for qualifying at the last moment. This was my first time here in the rain – Mid-Ohio has a very polished race line, and in the rain, that means you have to stay off of it, as it was like driving on ice.
“The rain line encompasses the rim shots around the corners that don’t get driven that much, so you get grip from the fresher asphalt,” said Ecklin. “The car was still quite balanced, though it’s a matter of working both the race line and the more grippy rim of the corners. For our first time in the rain and in such cold temperatures, it’s a good qualifying position for us.”
“Brandon and I are in the same position, having never raced here in the rain – and Brandon has yet to race on a road course in the rain,” said Ecklin. “So he’s taking all this in, how to drive in the rain, keep the car on the track and keep up the lap times. The race will be a big challenge for all of us.”
The two-hour Mid-Ohio 120 takes the green flag at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, live on IMSA.tv. NBCSN will broadcast a two-hour race recap on Saturday, May 11 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
About Invisible Glass
Automatic Racing sees their way to victory with Invisible Glass, the top-selling automotive glass cleaner in the United States. The Invisible Glass product line includes aerosol and spray bottle cleaner, Invisible Glass with rain repellent for windshields and wiper blades. Find more online at https://www.invisibleglass.com/
About Stoner Car Care
Stoner Car Care produces high-performance car washes, waxes, polishes, and dressings for auto enthusiasts and car care professionals. The Stoner Car Care line-up includes Invisible Glass, America's #1 Automotive Glass Cleaner, along with many other appearance products. Whether driving, washing or waxing, Performance Matters! Stoner car care proudly formulates all of our product since 1942. www.stonercarcare.com
About Automatic Racing
Based in Orlando, Automatic Racing is one of the longest-running teams in the paddock, forming in 2001 and competing in all but one of the 11 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge races at Daytona. The team has been developing, preparing and racing the prestigious Aston Martin Vantage GT4 since 2012. Automatic Racing won the 2017 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge title. https://automaticracing.com