DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (5 January 2020) – For the Automatic Racing team, the Roar Before the Rolex 24 goal was simple: get comfortable with the year-old No. 99 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. Looking to return to the podium at the track, the team prepared for one of the biggest races of the season: the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge, race one of the 2020 Michelin Pilot Challenge season (Jan. 24).
The Orlando-based team considers Daytona its home track, which adds to both the pressure and the excitement as preparations ramp up for the season opener at the end of the month. Through six test sessions over three days, the team worked through every kind of weather condition possible, from sunny and warm on Friday afternoon to Sunday morning’s frigid temperatures. The Aston Martin, which made its North American race debut at Daytona last year, continued its progress throughout the weekend.
The Automatic Racing team and drivers Kris Wilson and Gary Ferrera focused the first three sessions (in warm conditions) on getting Ferrara acclimated to the high banks of Daytona in a different style Aston Martin than the older version he’d driven to the Daytona podium in the 2019 season-opener.
The final three test sessions were about making setup adjustments and mixing in new and used Michelin tires – including Sunday morning’s session that began with ambient air temperatures of 50 degrees. The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 handled the changing conditions with ease, as Wilson posted the team’s quickest lap in that penultimate session, pacing at 1:54.638-seconds.
“That’s the idea, to build up to speed and figure things out,” said Wilson. “It was important to get Gary to a good place here with the new car, and he did his best time in the last session. We both drove the old car here last year, with some success, and we both drove the new car later in the season, so we just have to combine those experiences. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of remembering where all the switches and buttons are!”
“I did my best time in that last session, so I’m happy about that,” said Ferrera. “I have to say, I feel as though I could go faster. We have the car dialed in and in pretty good shape, so now I need to dial myself in and focus on the task at hand. This car is very different from the old car: it’s a bit more rigid and doesn’t have as much ‘grunt,’ and the top end speed that we had last year, though it has more downforce. It was great to have a good amount of test time this weekend to learn how the car handles this track and to work on different setups – some things worked, some things didn’t, but we’re leaving here in good shape and that’s the whole point.”
Automatic Racing team principal David Russell was pleased with driver and car progress through the weekend, feeling as though the setup that the team has settled upon will roll off the truck well when they return to the iconic 3.56-mile “roval” in two weeks.
“We definitely have a good baseline after this weekend,” said Russell. “We came up with something for Sunday morning’s session that we were good with, and we stuck with that for the final session. The weather was definitely a curve ball this weekend, as was the different rubber put down by the WeatherTech cars throughout the weekend, but the goal was always the same – to shoot for balance.”
The Stoner Car Care team returns to Daytona International Speedway in three weeks for the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge, part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.
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
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.