Ecklin and Abdolvahabi make their first trip to California in three years as the team contends the first of three straight race weekends
ORLANDO, Fla. (27 April 2022) – The Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team makes the cross-country trip to California this week, ready to contest the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 – race three of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Drivers Rob Ecklin, Jr. and Ramin Abdolvahabi return to WeatherTech Raceway for the first time since the 2019 season and will share the driving duties behind the wheel of the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Between the pandemic and ongoing business concerns, neither driver has been able to make the West Coast swing over the past several years.
Having earned podium finishes in the Bronze Cup (for FIA Bronze rated drivers in the series’ Grand Sport class) in the first two races, both drivers are aiming for the top step this weekend. Ecklin plans to take advantage of the No. 09 Aston Martin’s recent addition to the popular iRacing sim platform to relearn the historic racetrack’s subtle nuances.
“I haven’t been able to make it out there to test,” said Ecklin. “So as much as I’d like to drive the real thing, it’s difficult because of business concerns. But now I’ve got my race car on iRacing so it’s absolutely the next best thing. It’s about getting back into the groove as quickly as possible. It’s critical to get the right entry, brake and release in and out of Turn Five in order to climb that hill, and you have to hit Turn Six just right as well. And to get the Corkscrew visual down. The iRacing sim also helps with brake points and brake markers, just getting down brake release and corner release practice. I’ll have to see if there’s a “sand” setting on iRacing to simulate the conditions in Turns Three and Four as well!”
The typically tricky track conditions at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca are top of mind for Automatic Racing team manager David Russell as well.
“Car setup at Laguna Seca is very unique because of the fine sand that blows onto and across the racetrack,” said Russell. “You have to have a different balance on the car to account for that, and the trick is to accommodate that. And of course, there’s the fog. So it’s key to adapt to all that as quickly as possible.”
The weekend marks the first of three straight race events for the team: Abdolvahabi will also compete with Automatic Racing in the World Racing League enduros next weekend at Road America, then the team (with Ecklin and Abdolvahabi) head to Mid-Ohio for the next Michelin Pilot Challenge event the following weekend.
All told, a mammoth 6,500 miles in three weeks.
“We’ll prep at Road America for Mid-Ohio, so it’s all a matter of how the pieces fall into place,” said Russell. “The key is in getting organized as far ahead of time as possible, out ahead of any possible issues. Travel can be unpredictable, as can racing, obviously, so you have to have a buffer for both equipment and people, especially since COVID can still be an issue.”
Part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul weekend, the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 takes the green flag Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The race will be live streamed in the U.S. on Peacock TV, while international viewers can watch via IMSA.tv. IMSA Radio will also be available at IMSA.com. A race replay will air on USA Network Friday, May 6 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
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. www.stonercarcare.com
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 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. https://automaticracing.com
About End Alzheimer’s Racing
The Stoner Car Care team continues to support End Alzheimer’s Racing, carrying decals on the car to help their efforts to raise funds and awareness.
End Alzheimer’s Racing began in 2019, as father and son duo Bill and Alex Slupski – both experienced kart racers who also work in sports car racing – chose racing as the “vehicle” for their program to promote awareness and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Through End Alzheimer’s Racing, they want to be an integral part of the support network for families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and be part of the cure that ends Alzheimer’s disease. http://act.alz.org/goto/endalzheimersracing