Teams with Ecklin and reunites with Automatic Racing
Lakeville, Conn. (15 July 2019) The No. 97 Invisible Glass-liveried Aston Martin Vantage GT4 fielded by Automatic Racing will have a new driver line up this weekend at Lime Rock Park as 2018 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) TCR Champion Tom Long has joined the squad to partner with Rob Ecklin, Jr.
Long has a history at the Connecticut track that stretches back to his days as a kid playing on the hill, watching his father Glenn race in SCCA competition. He also has a long-running friendship with Automatic Racing principal Dave Russell that goes back to their year as co-drivers in IMPC competition in 2008.
“I’ve known David (Russell), and Rob (Ecklin Jr.) as well for a long time so I’m thrilled that everything came together for me to join the team this weekend,” said Long, who took his first-ever pro race win at the track in 2004. “Lime Rock Park is near and dear to my heart-I grew up less than an hour away and that was where we would go watch my dad (Glenn) race back in SCCA. So to be getting the chance to drive a car that is as iconic as the Invisible Glass car is at Lime Rock, well—I’m pretty happy about this and grateful for the opportunity.”
The team, which will also field the No. 99 Stoner Car Care Racing entry of Daytona podium finishers Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson, has learned a lot in a short period of time with the all-new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 entry in its first season of competition with the new platform.
“It is cool to have a guy like Tom (Long) be available to slot in like this,” said Russell. “He is a great racer and a strong coach and co-driver, so we’re happy to have him with us at Lime Rock. It is a really compressed weekend, so having someone that we can just plug in and go, that is going to be really critical. We’ve always tried to find ways to collaborate so I’m really happy that everything worked out.”
That team progression with the Aston Martin has continued to show progress, with Ecklin racing out front at Watkins Glen before getting knocked out of the lead.
“The new Aston Martin has been really a joy to drive, and hopefully all the things that the car brings with great aero and downforce plays to our strength at Lime Rock,” said Ecklin. “Having a guy like Tom jump in will help us keep pushing that learning curve and I think we are well-prepared to have a strong run this weekend.”
The Lime Rock Park 120 will open with Practice and Qualifying on Friday, with Saturday’s 11 am ET race start being broadcast at www.imsa.tv.