Over the weekend the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS made it’s way to Road America for rounds 9 & 10 and for Ashton Harrison, Mario Farnbacher and their Racers Edge Motorsports team it was an unforgettable weekend.
Round 9 started on Saturday with a dramatic start for some teams. Steven Aghakhani, who qualified second overall, spun in the third corner on lap one, causing a chain reaction crash that involved three other drivers.
Before the subsequent full course yellow, Ashton, who started twelfth, had climbed five positions and was seventh overall. Erin Vogel, who was behind the wheel of the RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, started just ahead of Ashton in eleventh, and was involved in the incident. The RealTime NSX GT3 Evo22 sustained damage to the left rear bodywork and wheel. It wasn’t all bad though, of the four vehicles involved, RealTime was the only one to continue to race after the team successfully repaired the car in the pits while the safety car was still on the track.
Following the cleanup, Ashton climbed to fifth overall and second in Pro/Am before handing off the car to co-driver Mario Farnbacher. Once behind the wheel, Mario steadily closed the gap between himself and the Pro/Am leader, Bill Auberlen and with only 10 minutes left in the race, passed Bill to claim victory.
“The pass on Bill Auberlen was really difficult. These cars put a lot of downforce on the front, so you can’t really follow close, and it was really hard to start close to him without overheating the front tires,” Mario said after the race. “But I could tell that his tires were degrading quite a bit, so I waited a little bit and tried to keep close, knowing at some point I would have to take a chance to get by.”
Round 10’s race started on Sunday with a slighter smaller field, due to two teams race weekend ending following Saturday’s incident. This led to Mario starting on the Pro/Am pole and second overall while Michael Cooper in the RealTime Racing machine started sixth in Pro/Am and ninth overall.
Mario was able to hold his lead throughout his stint. He then handed it off to Ashton who brought the Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 to victory and third overall. Meanwhile Cooper and Vogel climbed to fifth in Pro/Am and seventh overall.
Following the win on Sunday, Ashton had this to say, “I trust Mario to always give me a good car. I had to basically remind myself that whenever we get out of pit lane, I have one job to do, and I know I can do it. We’ve proven before that we’re a great pairing. As soon as I left pit lane, my job was to keep it in front and keep the gap. I don’t even remember what times we were doing; I just remember focusing forward and it paid off. So I was really glad to hear we had a comfortable gap, and it was just about taking it home.”
As mentioned, this was an unforgettable weekend for the Racers Edge Motorsports team, and not just because they swept, but this sweep put them second in the Pro/Am championship and gave the team it’s 100th win since it’s founding in 1990.
Jon Mirachi, Racers Edge Motorsports Team Owner, was feeling all the emotions after the race, “It’s just unbelievable – I’m without words right now. It’s an incredible experience. I thought I would be relaxed and calm, but to have these two drivers do the job they did and bring it home is unbelievable. And what a crew it takes to accomplish that – they’re the one who made it all happen. I’m just lucky.”
Next up for the Acura NSX GT3 teams is Sebring International Raceway in Florida for rounds 11 & 12 of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS, September 23rd – 25th.