Last week was a really fun and productive one at Sebring International Raceway. I got to join Automatic Racing in their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 cars in preparation for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race during the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend next month.
However, not all aspects of the motorsport life are glamorous! My trip started with a night in the airport because of a delayed, then cancelled flight. Nonetheless, I made it bright and early for the test, and we had a couple of productive days with one of Automatic’s primary drivers, Ramin, who I co-drove with at VIR last year.
Our plan for the test was not only to get Ramin prepared for the upcoming Michelin Pilot Challenge race, but also to fine-tune the car for Sebring’s unique characteristics. This test was especially important because the Sebring race week will not have a test day this year.
The first day, we focused on getting the handling characteristics of the car dialed in, and then we worked to simply make small changes on the second day. That strategy allowed Ramin to get not just a lot of seat time, but quality seat time. (If you missed it, I recently talked about how to get the most out of a test.)
It was a successful first day, but we really had our sights set on the second day. Day one was more broad, while day two was focused on the details. That second day brought very different weather conditions, as it was much cooler and windier. Not Florida-like at all! But we were still able to accomplish our goals. Ramin went on to drop several seconds in his lap time from the previous day, and the car was at its best by the afternoon. I got to drive, as well, which helped us set reference laps under different variables.
I’m excited to be working with Automatic Racing again next month at Sebring, and to be a part of such an iconic weekend of racing!