Going into the Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, I didn’t know what to expect. Before the weekend started, I only had experience racing formula cars and prototypes, so this was my first pro race in a sports car.
Once I found out I would be given this opportunity to race in the IMSA Micheline Pilot Challenge, I was absolutely thrilled for the opportunity. With Stoner Car Care and Invisible Glass supporting me for almost five years and Automatic Racing being one of my families at the track, I was super excited to get out on track. The car I was racing, an Aston Martin, was one of the oldest cars in the GS field and has racing history that went back to 2013 so I was hoping close its final days at the pro level with a strong result.
Overall the weekend went absolutely amazing. After taking a few sessions to get used to the big Aston Martin moving around I was ready to give it my all in the race.
We had a fuel cell problem before the race, so unfortunately we started at the tail end of the pack. The race had cars from our GS class and then the slower TCR cars that carry a lot of speed in the corners and make things interesting for the drivers and the fans.
In the race my teammate Ramin (Abdolvahabi) did an amazing job to gain a few spots. We then reached the 40 minute mark in the race right as a caution came out.
That worked out great for us as I was able to get in the car with an hour and 20 left.
With pitting so early we took a gamble knowing our car was good on fuel, we also selected to not take tires to gain as many spots as possible. The Automatic Racing guys did a fantastic job on strategy as it payed off. With about 30 mins left, there was another cycle of pit stops as another caution came out and we were out front for the restart.
I knew this would be a challenge and I needed to save fuel and hope for a caution, along with having the same tires on the car from the day before in qualifying.
The old girl in her final race did amazing. I was able to hold off some of the cars behind me that had fresh tires. It was a great feeling to be out front with Stoner Car Care and everyone that has helped me. But I knew it was going to be tough because we needed the race to have a caution for us to make it on fuel. With about 6 minutes to go, we had to take to the pits for that splash of fuel to make it to the finish.
At the end of the day the results didn’t show just how much we were at a disadvantage with old tires and having to save fuel but I couldn’t be more happy for represent Automatic Racing and Stoner Car Care in full force. I hope another opportunity presents its self. But I couldn’t be more thankful for all the support and a strong showing in my IMPC debut.