Lone Star Racing and its new driver pairing of Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach turned in a competitive performance Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the team’s 2019 debut in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship in the No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Competing in the first of five 2019 IMSA GT Daytona (GTD) races with the support of ACS Manufacturing and 74 Ranch Resort, Robinson was making just his second GT3-class race start and first in any series with pro-driver teammate Aschenbach.
Robinson started the race from the outside of row six after clocking in 12th fastest in Saturday’s wet qualifying session and deliberately kept a low profile in taking his first green flag in IMSA GTD competition.
“That was the gnarliest start I have ever seen,” Robinson said. “I knew they got pretty rowdy out there so I just kind of sat back. If you are not up front on a start like that you are pretty vulnerable to have some chaos come your way, so I just sat back and watched some wrecks happen. They did, we got through them all, and it went well from our part. I probably could have been a little more aggressive but staying conservative and learning how it happens was the best move.”
Robinson steadily worked his way up the GTD running order to hand the No. 74 off to Aschenbach in the top-10 just after the race’s 45-minute mark. Aschenbach soon moved up to eighth – and as high as second as the GTD field cycled through pit stops – before settling into sixth place in the race’s final hour.
A stop to change to fresh tires late in the race looked like a strategy call that would pay off but Aschenbach was forced to the pits a few laps later with a loose left-rear wheel. The unscheduled stop dropped the No. 74 to the end of the GTD running order and an eventual 11th-place finish.
“First and foremost, all credit to Lone Star Racing,” Aschenbach said. “They thrashed to get here, and Team Manager AJ Petersen has done a great job to get us to this point. Today just wasn’t our day. Unfortunately, we had a loose wheel after we decided to gamble and put new tires on with 20 minutes left. It was the right call, we could have been able to fight up for a possible podium position, but in the end the loose wheel took us out of contention. That’s just the way it goes.”
The late setback didn’t take away from the team’s overall satisfaction with a competitive first weekend together.
“The best thing we did was the overall performance this weekend,” Robinson said. “The pit stop didn’t work out as well as we wanted it to. That’s racing and sometimes it happens, but the crew did a fantastic job all weekend and Lawson and I brought the car back without a scratch on it.”
Aschenbach left Mid-Ohio impressed with his first-time co-driver.
“It’s the first time we are back as a group,” Aschenbach said. “We are all learning how we are all working together but it’s going great so far. I am also really proud of Gar. This is a big step for him, from GT4 to GT3 and into a series like IMSA GTD with a high competition level. In that first stint he drove right up through the field, made no mistakes, he did a great job and kept it super consistent. That’s all we can really ask for, so I think we are going to see a lot of really big things from him over the next few races as he is learning. I am really happy we are teammates.”
Robinson knows he has the right car, team and co-driver to achieve some IMSA GTD success this year.
“The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is fantastic,” Robinson said. “It did pretty much everything I wanted it to do, I could go anywhere I wanted, but I just need to get some more experience in it. Only time will help that, but this was a great weekend for us. I learned a lot and Lawson and the team did a great job teaching me.”
The Mid-Ohio debut will be followed by races at the Detroit Grand Prix, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), Road America and VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
Next up for Lone Star Racing is the 100-minute sprint race in Detroit, May 31 – June 1.
About Lone Star Racing: Based at Motorsport Ranch within the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area in Cresson, Texas, Lone Star Racing is competing in the ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the third season in 2019. Lone Star Racing and its team members have won races across North America spanning sprint and endurance racing formats. The crew has worked together on many different teams and various types of cars, developing a strong bond and proven capability that gives them a competitive and winning advantage. Lone Star Racing competes with the support of primary partner ACS Manufacturing, Inc. (www.ACSManufacturing.com). Look for Lone Star Racing and team owner/driver Dan Knox on Facebook and follow the team on YouTube at Lone Star Racing, on Twitter and Instagram at @LSRTeam and on the official team web site at www.LoneStarRacingTeam.com.