Last week was a really exciting one for me, but also really busy. I actually started my week in Colorado working with some MX-5 Cup drivers at High Plains Raceway as they prepared for the upcoming race at Portland. Luke Oxner competes in the ND2 class while Brandon White is campaigning a car in the ND1 category. We had a specific set of goals for each driver to accomplish, and it was one of those absolutely fun, productive days that are just so rewarding.
After the test, I caught a red-eye flight back to the East Coast to prepare for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series race at Virginia International Raceway. I was so fortunate to return with Automatic Racing in the GS class. I knew it was going to be a busy weekend because I also had a couple of other coaching commitments, including Ashton Harrison in the Lamborghini Trofeo Series and spotter in the Prototype Challenge Series.
The first day of practice was a great start to the event. We got our Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 dialed in and finished the first practice with the second-quickest time. It was a lot of fun to apply all of my local knowledge and experience at VIR to the very competitive GS field. The other Automatic Racing car had two Aston Martin factory drivers in it, and it was such a pleasure to be able to orient them to the track and, in turn, to learn from their experience with the car.
We made some fine-tuning adjustments to the car and despite the crazy weather—which cancelled our final practice and qualifying—we were prepared for race day. The race was nothing short of unpredictable due to a cooler front that came in, giving us highs in the 70s and a lot of scattered showers. We had constantly-changing weather conditions and teams had to make big decisions about tires.
Our race didn’t get off to the best start, with the car getting shuffled to the back in the opening lap and a pit-road penalty once the rain came, putting us a lap down by the time I got in the car. Our car was really fast, setting a pace equal to the leaders. Unfortunately, though, we just weren’t on the lead lap with them.
It started raining again on the final restart, but all of the front-runners were on dry tires. Although we were a lap down, we were lined up with the lead cars and able to show how strong our Invisible Glass car was, even in those adverse conditions.
It just wasn’t our day, unfortunately, but despite the disappointing result, we made a lot of excellent progress throughout the weekend that should only make the team stronger moving forward.