Last week was a really productive one! First I had the opportunity to head up to Road America for a Lamborghini Trofeo test with Ashton Harrison. Her season starts in a few short weeks at that track, and we focused our two days on dialing in both driver and car. We continued to refine Ashton’s setup feedback skills as we got the car in a great starting point for the race weekend.
We had a couple of beautiful days at Road America, which allowed us to accomplish virtually everything we had set out to do. That rarely happens! It was a really rewarding feeling to leave the test knowing that we accomplished all of our goals and have both the car and driver in a position of being ready to go for the season.
I was excited to spend the rest of the week down in Sebring., Fla., for the IMSA weekend, which included the return to racing for the Michelin Pilot Challenge and LMP3 series. My role there was to assist with the two-car Automatic Racing effort in Michelin Pilot Challenge and to act as a spotter for my good friends in the LMP3 series.
It was a condensed event schedule, one that I think everyone was pleased with. It felt a bit different with all of the new protocols in place, including track access and health guidelines.
Although it was hot, as you might expect for July in Florida, temperatures were reasonable and there was a great turnout of entries in all categories, especially in Michelin Pilot Challenge. When the green flag flew, the Automatic Racing entries started making steady progress toward the front and were just outside the top ten as weather came into the area and we had an extended red flag period because of lightning. This really threw a new dynamic into the race strategy, since our forward progress came to an abrupt halt on pit lane while we waited for the weather to clear up.
Once things finally resumed, the track was in a really tricky state. The storm had brought a lot of rain, and heading out for the restart on dry tires made it extra treacherous. Through a combination of track conditions and no well-timed yellows, we weren’t able to get the result we had hoped for.
The LMP3 race ran in dry conditions, and the team I was supporting marched forward through lots of excitement, with our driver putting his accident-avoidance skills to good use! With less than 30 minutes remaining, the team found themselves vying for a podium result, and it was a sprint to the finish. The top three cars had an intense battle until the checkered flag flew, and the team crossed the line with a very satisfying second-place result!